Three soldiers' bodies return to UK
The bodies of three servicemen killed in separate incidents in Afghanistan will return to Britain on Thursday.
Gunner Zak Cusack, of 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, and Corporal Stephen Curley and Marine Scott Taylor, both of 40 Commando, Royal Marines, will be flown back to RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire.
A private service will be held at the base's chapel before the cortege passes through nearby Wootton Bassett. Hundreds are expected to line the town's High Street in tribute, as has become custom.
Gunner Cusack, 20, from Stoke-on-Trent, was on a routine patrol when he was killed by small arms fire from insurgent forces in an area around Enezai Village. An only child, he leaves behind his mother Tracey, father Sean and step-dad Dave.
Lieutenant Colonel Chris Squier, Commanding Officer, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, said after his death on May 26: "Gunner Zak Cusack was a big man with the personality to go with it. Young, fit and with a healthy love of life, he was always close to, or at the heart of, the action. A Stoke City fan in the North East Gunners will always have his work cut out, but his combination of cheeky charm and buoyant character always won out."
Corporal Curley, 26, born in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, was killed on May 26 in an explosion while on a foot patrol through the southern Green Zone to reassure local nationals.
Cpl Curley lived in Exeter with wife Kirianne and their five-month-old son William.
Mrs Curley said: "It is impossible for me to express what my husband meant to me; daddy to our 18-week-old son, William, and my partner in crime, Stevie was my purpose, what makes me tick. A man of few but powerful words when it mattered, he lived by the motto 'If you're not living life on the edge, you're taking up too much room'. This will be forever imprinted on our hearts. Stevie was a perfectionist - he prided himself on being the best and the best he was. His professionalism was highly regarded by all who knew him but it was his quirky, un-PC one-liners that really caused a stir. Steve loved to make people laugh and laugh with them."
Marine Taylor, born in Buxton, Derbyshire, was killed on May 30 by an explosion while he was part of a foot patrol, again helping to reassure the local population and to increase security in the area around Sangin.
Lt Col Paul James, commanding officer of 40 Commando Group, Combined Force Sangin, said of the 21-year-old: "Marine Scott Taylor was everything I needed in a Bootneck: proud but not arrogant, loyal but still independent, courageous but not foolhardy, he was an outstanding marine. Brave, strong, bright and physically very fit, he was an utterly selfless man, who was often unassuming, preferring instead to let his actions speak for him - and they spoke with power and tumult."