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Last Updated: Friday, 6 May, 2005, 19:15 GMT 20:15 UK
UK soldier's body returned home
Anthony Wakefield
Guardsman Wakefield died on patrol in southern Iraq
The body of British soldier Anthony Wakefield, killed in Iraq this week, has been returned to Britain.

Guardsman Wakefield's body was flown to RAF Brize Norton, where a military repatriation ceremony was held.

He died on Monday after being injured by a roadside bomb as he was on patrol near Al-Amarah, south Iraq, on Sunday.

His estranged wife, Ann Toward, said she blamed Prime Minister Tony Blair for the death of her husband - the 87th UK soldier to die in the Iraq conflict.

Family members and senior officers from the Coldstream Guards attended the ceremony.

Six-month tour

Guardsman Wakefield, a 24-year-old father of three from Newcastle, was travelling in the second of two armoured cars on patrol when the bomb detonated.

He received first aid at the scene but died on Monday after being flown to a military base just outside the town.

He had been serving with the 12th Mechanised Brigade on a six-month tour in Iraq.

His commanding officer, Lt Col Andrew Williams, paid tribute to him as "a supremely fit and popular soldier who died doing his duty and amongst his friends".

He added: "To all those who were lucky enough to know him, it was clear that he loved his duty and had a very bright future ahead of him."

On Monday Ann Toward said Guardsman Anthony Wakefield would not have died if Mr Blair had not sent troops to war.

She told ITV her husband had been "a very brave man" who was "outgoing" and "funny" and a great father.

Ms Toward - who last spoke to her husband at Easter - said she would like to tell Mr Blair: "You should not have sent the troops over, you should not have done that."

If it was not for Mr Blair's actions, she said, her children "would still have their father today, and I really do blame him for that".

Another soldier was also injured in the incident but "not seriously", the Ministry of Defence said.



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