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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 September 2006, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
In full: Soldier's farewell letter
Soldier Lee Thornton wrote a letter to his fiancée Helen O'Pray in the event he should die while in Iraq.

On 5 September Gunner Thornton was shot on patrol in Basra and died two days later with his family at his bedside.

Ahead of his funeral on Monday, Miss O'Pray has released the letter.

Here it is in full.

Hi babe,

I don't know why I am writing this because I really hope that this letter never gets to you, because if it does that means I am dead. It also means I never had time to show you just how much I really did love you.

You have shown me what love is and what it feels like to be loved.

Every time you kissed me and our lips touched so softly I could feel it. I got the same magical feeling as our first kiss. I could feel it when our hearts get so close they are beating as one.

You are the beat of my heart, the soul in my body; you are me because without you I am nothing. I love you Helen, you are my girlfriend, my fiancée and my best friend.

There is no sea or ocean that could stop my love for you

You are the person I know I could turn to when I needed help, you are the person I looked at when I needed to smile and you are the person I went to when I needed a hug.

When I am away it is like I have left my soul by your side. You have shown me so much while you have been in my life that if I lost you I could not live.

You have shown me how to live and you have shown me how to be truly happy. I want you to know that every time I smile that you have put it there. You make me smile when others can't, you make me feel warm when I am cold.

You have shown me so much love and so much more. I want you to know how much you mean to me. You are my whole world and I love you with all my heart, you are my happiness.

There is no sea or ocean that could stop my love for you. It is the biggest thing I have ever had.

When I say I love you I am trying to say... that you make me feel warm and great about myself, you make me smile and laugh every day; you make time to talk to me and listen to what I have to say.

I know God put me and you on this earth to find each other, fall in love and show the rest of the world what true love really is.

Whenever you feel lonely just close your eyes and I'll be there right by your side

I know this is going to sound sad but every night I spent away I had a photo of you on my headboard.

Each night I would go to bed, kiss my fingers then touch your face. I put the photo over my bed so you could look over me as I slept.

Well now it is my turn to look over you as you sleep and keep you safe in your dreams.

I will always be looking over you to make sure you're safe. Helen, I want to say something and I mean this more than I ever did before. You were the love of my life, the girl of my dreams.

Just because I have passed away does not mean I am not with you. I'll always be there looking over you keeping you safe.

So whenever you feel lonely just close your eyes and I'll be there right by your side. I really did love you with all I had, you were everything to me.

Never forget that, and never forget I will always be looking over you. I love you, you are my soul mate.

Love always and for ever,


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