Silence marks return of gunner's body

HUNDREDS gathered to pay silent tribute to a Suffolk-born gunner whose body was yesterday repatriated.

Laurence Cawley

HUNDREDS gathered to pay silent tribute to a Suffolk-born gunner whose body was yesterday repatriated.

RAF Honington-based Senior Aircraftman Luke Southgate, 20, of Bury St Edmunds, was returned to the UK yesterday via RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire.

He was one of four servicemen to be repatriated.


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SAC Southgate, who served with 2 Squadron RAF Regiment, was just days from celebrating his 21st birthday when he died from the blast of a roadside bomb which exploded beneath his Land Rover. He was on patrol protecting Kandahar Airfield from rocket attacks when the blast happened.

The gunner, of St Olaves Road, had only been in Afghanistan for a month.

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A private ceremony was held at RAF Lyneham's chapel before the cortege passed through nearby Wootton Bassett.

Hundreds lined the streets of Wootton Bassett to honour the fallen service personnel. Before the cortege passed through the town, a Welsh male voice choir sang in tribute to the servicemen at the war memorial.

Nick Rogers, conductor of the Gwalia singers, said: “We thought we would pay our respects to the troops. We are doing this for the glory of the boys.”

Choir member John Morgan added: “It's absolutely fabulous. The people of Wootton Bassett speak for the country.”

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