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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 July 2006, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
Killed NI soldier 'was due home'
The coffin was carried by members of the 1st Battalion, RIR
The coffin was carried by members of the 1st Battalion, RIR
A Northern Ireland soldier killed by the Taleban in Afghanistan had been due to return home a week before his death.

Captain David Patten, 38, who was from Aghadowey, near Coleraine, died last week in the southern Helmand province, as he served with the special forces.

He was buried with full military honours in Portstewart on Thursday.

Mr Patten's neighbour and friend Ivor Hogg said he was a "true professional" who had volunteered to stay on an extra week to help his unit.

"Through a heavy schedule of work, being the true professional he was, he decided to stay on a further week and sadly he met serious consequences," Mr Hogg said.

"But being the true professional he was, he was not the type of person who would have run away from anything.

"His wife has taken it very bravely. Being in this position, she always thought at the back of her mind that something like this might happen. Sadly it did happen."

Prisoners escaped

Mr Patten and a Royal Marine soldier died in fighting which ensued after a rocket-propelled grenade destroyed a vehicle at the start of last week.

At the time of his death, he was attached to the Parachute Regiment, but was serving with the special forces.

A ministry spokesman said they had four Taleban prisoners with them - but two died in the battle and two escaped.

Mr Patten began his military career in the Royal Irish Rangers in Germany.

At his funeral service, his coffin was carried by members of the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment.

He was buried next to his father, who was a major in the former Ulster Defence Regiment.

Mr Patten was a father of three children, aged 14 months, 12 and 14 years old.

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