Page last updated at 13:58 GMT, Thursday, 30 July 2009 14:58 UK

Blast soldiers' bodies flown home


The bodies of three British soldiers were flown to RAF Lyneham

A plane carrying the bodies of three British soldiers killed in blasts in Afghanistan has arrived back in the UK.

Warrant Officer (Class 2) Sean Upton, Pte Phillip Lawrence and Bombardier Craig Hopson died in separate explosions in Helmand province.

Their families were due to pay their respects in a private ceremony at RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire, before the funeral cortege drives through Wootton Bassett.

A crowd of hundreds is expected to line the streets of the market town.

It is the second repatriation of British soldiers this week, and comes amid news of rising casualties as the coalition completed the first phase of its anti-Taliban offensive, Operation Panther's Claw, in Helmand.

WO Upton, 35, from Nottinghamshire, serving with the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery, and Pte Lawrence, 22, from Birkenhead, Merseyside, serving with the the Light Dragoons, died in separate explosions on 27 July.

Bombardier Hopson, from Yorkshire, serving with 40th Regiment Royal Artillery, died on 25 July when the Jackal armoured vehicle in which he was travelling was hit by an explosion.

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