Bodies of soldiers killed in Afghanistan flown home

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Media captionThe cortege passed through Carterton in Oxfordshire

The bodies of three soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been returned to the UK.

Sgt Gareth Thursby and Pte Thomas Wroe, both of 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, were shot by a rogue Afghan policeman on Saturday.

L/Cpl Duane Groom, of the Aldershot-based Queen's Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, died on Friday when his vehicle struck an improvised bomb.

The servicemen were flown into RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire on Thursday.

Private ceremonies for their families were held on the air base before the cortege left for the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

'Our hero'

Married father-of-two Sgt Thursby, 29, and Pte Wroe, 18, were shot dead in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.

The men were killed at a checkpoint when a man dressed as a local Afghan policeman pretended to be injured so they would help him.

Sgt Thursby was from Skipton, North Yorkshire. Pte Wroe had family from West Yorkshire.

Sgt Thursby's wife Louise described her husband as "our hero".

Image caption L/Cpl Duane Groom, Pte Thomas Wroe and Sgt Gareth Thursby were killed in Afghanistan

"He was an amazing husband and father, happy, full of life and kind-hearted with a passion for his work and family," she said.

Pte Wroe was deployed to Afghanistan in July, shortly after his 18th birthday.

He leaves his parents, Michael and Claire, and sister Demi, from Holmfirth, West Yorkshire.

Pte Wroe's parents described their son as a "fun-loving guy who would do anything for anyone".

Mr Wroe said his son had been "itching" to go to Afghanistan.

"He couldn't go out there until he was aged 18. He was itching to go, to join his mates."

'Tremendously proud'

L/Cpl Groom, 32, who was born in Suva City, Fiji, was protecting his Afghan and British colleagues in the Nahr-e Saraj district when he was killed.

Lt Col James Bowder, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said L/Cpl Groom was "an outstanding soldier in every respect".

"Tough, keen, and unflappable, he was utterly committed to his fellows and the cause," he said.

"We are all tremendously proud of what he achieved during his time in the regiment, and particularly out here in Afghanistan where he contributed so much."

The soldiers' deaths take the total of British military personnel killed in Afghanistan to 430 since operations began 2001.

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