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Bodies of soldiers to return home

The bodies of six soldiers killed in Afghanistan are expected to be returned to the UK this week.

Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, and Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Private Anthony Frampton, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, Private Daniel Wade, 20, and Private Daniel Wilford, 21 - all of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment - are likely to be flown back to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire on Thursday.

A private service will then be held at the base's chapel before the cortege passes through nearby Carterton en route to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. As has become tradition, local people and Royal British Legion members are expected to join the soldiers' families and friends at the Memorial Garden in Carterton to pay tribute.

The six men died when a Taliban roadside bomb destroyed their Warrior armoured vehicle in Helmand province on March 6. It became the deadliest single enemy attack on UK forces in Afghanistan since 2001.

The soldiers, who had only been in Afghanistan for a few weeks, were hit by the blast about 25 miles north of the capital of Helmand, Lashkar Gah.

The force of the explosion turned the Warrior upside down and blew off its gun turret. Ammunition on board the vehicle ignited, causing a fierce fire that burned for many hours and severely hampered rescuers.

Following the soldiers' deaths, tributes have been paid by family, friends and colleagues, as well as members of the public.

On Saturday, thousands of football fans at the Huddersfield Town v Rochdale league match fell silent before kick-off to remember the men. On Sunday, hundreds of people joined a service in Halifax, West Yorkshire, to say prayers and light candles in remembrance.

The tragedy was the biggest single loss of life for British forces in Afghanistan since an RAF Nimrod crash killed 14 people in September 2006.

The latest deaths took the number of UK troops who have died since the Afghan campaign began in 2001 to 404.

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