Page last updated at 13:48 GMT, Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Soldiers' bodies are flown to UK

Hundreds braved the cold to pay tribute to the fallen servicemen

The bodies of two British soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been flown back to the UK.

The coffins carrying Rifleman Aidan Howell, of Desborough, Northamptonshire and Sapper David Watson, of Gateshead, arrived at RAF Lyneham, in Wiltshire.

The cortege is due to pass through the nearby town of Wootton Bassett.

Sapper Watson, 23, of Essex-based 33 Engineer Regiment, and Rifleman Howell, 19, of 3rd Battalion the Rifles, were killed in Afghanistan in December.

Aidan Howell and David Watson
The soldiers' bodies were flown into RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire

A private ceremony for their families is taking place at the base before the cortege passes through Wootton Bassett, where hundreds of mainly local people line the streets to pay their respects.

The repatriation comes as Islam4UK said it would apply to Wiltshire Police to march through the town in a bid to highlight Muslim victims of the war in Afghanistan.

Earlier Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he viewed the prospect of such a march through the town as "offensive".

But Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers and former Chief Constable of Northern Ireland, said he did not agree that the march should be banned.

"People have a right to march. People might not like it, but that's it," said Sir Hugh.

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