Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Barnsley soldier Matthew Thornton repatriated to UK

Pte Matthew Adam Thornton Image copyright Other
Image caption Pte Thornton was a passionate snowboarder

A Territorial Army soldier who was killed by a bomb in Afghanistan has been repatriated to the UK.

Pte Matthew Thornton, 28, from 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, died on 9 November in Helmand Province.

The factory worker from Barnsley was serving with 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment as part of a Combined Force in Lashkar Gah.

His body was flown to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire where about 200 people gathered nearby to pay their respects.

A private ceremony for his family was held at the airbase.

Later, the cortege left via the Britannia Gate on its way to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

'Huge hole'

It was escorted at walking pace past the memorial garden in Carterton, where the union jack was hung at half-mast.

Image copyright PA
Image caption About 200 people turned out to pay their respects

At the time of his death, Pte Thornton's family said it would leave "a huge hole in all our lives".

His father Michael, mother Susan, sister Sarah and brother Nathan said in a statement: "Matthew was a dedicated soldier and passionate about the job. He loved what he was doing.

"He loved life and lived it to the full: in his work, in his role with the Territorial Army and in his leisure time.

"Matthew will be greatly missed by his family, his TA colleagues and his friends."

A passionate snowboarder, Pte Thornton was born in Barnsley and attended Darton High School before going on to work on the shop floor for Yorkshire firm Premdor, a manufacturer of door and window frames.

He joined the TA in 2004, left briefly in 2007, and then re-enlisted two years later to volunteer for deployment to Afghanistan.

He was the 385th British military casualty killed in Afghanistan since 2001.

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