Colchester: Funerals held for two paratroopers

HUNDREDS gathered to pay tribute to two Colchester-based paratroopers who were killed in Afghanistan.

The funerals of 23-year-old Lance Corporal Kyle Marshall and Private Lewis Hendry were held today.

Private Lewis Hendry, of Third Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, was shot dead while on patrol in Helmand Province on February 9, three days before his 21st birthday.

His funeral was held at St Nicholas Church in his home town of Dereham, in Norfolk.

L/Cpl Marshall, of Second Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, was killed by a roadside bomb on February 14, about five months before he was due to be married.

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More than 200 people watched as his funeral procession passed through Colchester High Street to St Peter’s Church in North Hill.

L/Cpl Marshall was originally from Newcastle but had been living in Colchester where he met his fianc�e Hayley.

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A statement from his family said: “Kyle was a very special young man who had his whole life ahead of him and so much to look forward to.

“It is perhaps this part of his premature death that we find so difficult to accept. Many of his superiors and colleagues have spoken of Kyle as a force to be reckoned with and a great leader of men who had a tremendous future ahead of him.

“To us, his family, he was an outgoing kid who grew into an outgoing, confident and cheerful young man who made us laugh at every opportunity.

“We were thrilled when he met and fell in love with such a lovely girl as Hayley and we were really looking forward to their wedding in July. They loved each other to bits and we have no doubt that they would have made a wonderful, successful life together.

“We were obviously devastated to hear the news of Kyle’s death and it has been a massive shock to all his family to try to adjust to this horrendous news. If Kyle had been able to make a choice regarding the way he died then I’m sure he would have chosen this.

“He died doing a job he loved. As a family, we can’t stress this enough. Kyle lived and breathed the Parachute Regiment! He never, ever wanted to do anything else! He died surrounded by his friends and comrades and it brings us great comfort to know that his Para family were with him in his final moments.

“As a family, we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their kind thoughts, prayers and offers of support at this very difficult time and would like you all to know that these kind thoughts mean a lot to us all.”

His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Harrison, described him as a “charismatic, upbeat Geordie” who was “ice-cool under fire and a natural leader”.

“In the very moments before he passed away, he led his team in the discovery of a huge bomb-making factory,” he said.

“Thirty-five devices and a plethora of explosive components were subsequently found in the building. This discovery will undoubtedly save numerous colleagues and locals falling prey to the most insidious of insurgent threats.”

L/Cpl Marshall leaves behind his father Garry and his mother Olywn.

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