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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 September, 2003, 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
Funeral of Scots TA soldier held
Fusilier Russell Beeston
Fusilier Beeston died from gunshot wounds to the chest
Army colleagues and relatives of a part-time soldier killed in Iraq have gathered to remember him at a funeral service on Tuesday.

The fusilier, Russell Beeston, 26, a member of the 52nd Lowland Regiment, was killed in August after a crowd surrounded his patrol vehicle in southern Iraq and opened fire with guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

About 200 relatives and friends of the Glasgow-born soldier attended a funeral service in Bearsden.

The soldier, who was unemployed and joined the Territorial Army (TA) in 2000, was the 50th British soldier to be killed during the conflict in the Gulf.

A service at Killermont Parish Church was led by the Rev Stephen Blakey, chaplain of the regiment.

Some 50 members of Fusilier Beeston's regiment, as well as colleagues of the first King's Own Scottish Borderers, to which the soldier was attached, attended the ceremony.

Close members of the soldier's family arrived in three cars just before the service began and were greeted by the chaplain and senior army officers.

Although the soldier was born in Glasgow's Govan area, the service was held at Bearsden as it is close to the barracks where Fusilier Beeston was based.

After a 30-minute service, the soldier's body was carried out of the church by a bearer party composed of nine men from his regiment.

Fusilier Beeston's coffin was draped with the Union Jack flag and topped with a flower arrangement as well as the soldier's dress belt and hat.

Our sympathies go out to the Beestons, who have shown themselves to be towers of strength
Lieutenant Colonel
Jim Wilson
About eight police officers, including four mounted on motorbikes, halted traffic on the quiet road to allow the funeral party to pass.

Led by a pallbearer and with a military piper playing a lament, the funeral procession slowly made its way to Maryhill Crematorium.

Paying tribute to Fusilier Beeston, Lieutenant Colonel Jim Wilson, commanding officer of 52nd Lowland Regiment, said he had been a fine soldier.

He said: "It is a very sad day indeed. This is the funeral of a second TA serviceman as a result of operations in Iraq.

"Our sympathies go out to the Beestons, who have shown themselves to be towers of strength.

Fully trained

"They are an immensely strong family and they are pulling together very, very strongly.

"Whilst we have lost a colleague, they have lost one of their family."

The officer, who read a lesson at the service, said he would be visiting the 110 TA service people currently serving in Iraq in the next few days.

He added that there were currently 470 people in his regiment but the 110 soldiers represented about a third of those who were fully trained and ready for operations.


SEE ALSO:
Sadness at soldier's Iraq death
28 Aug 03  |  Scotland



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