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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 June 2007, 18:11 GMT 19:11 UK
Soldier's body flown back to UK
Corporal John Rigby [Pic: MoD]
Corporal John Rigby was due to be promoted to Sergeant
The body of a soldier who died on his 24th birthday after he was injured in a roadside bomb in Iraq, has been flown back to the UK.

Corporal John Rigby, of the 4th Battalion The Rifles, from Rye in East Sussex, died on Friday with his twin brother, also a soldier, by his side.

His body was flown from Iraq on a Hercules aircraft to RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire to be met by his family.

Cpl Rigby was the 153rd UK serviceman to die in Iraq.

His company commander, Major John Wakelin, said Cpl Rigby died after putting himself at risk for his men near Basra Palace in southern Iraq.

He said: "It is typical of him that he died protecting his Riflemen.

"His lads were saved from injury by their vehicle as he selflessly provided top cover from the vehicle hatch."

'Devoted son'

Cpl Rigby's twin brother Will, who holds the same rank in the same battalion, was with him when he died in a field hospital hours after being wounded.

He accompanied his brother's body back to the UK, an MoD spokesman said.

Cpl Rigby heard two weeks before his death that he was to be promoted to the rank of sergeant.

A statement from his family described him as "a cherished and devoted son and brother; a talented hardworking and successful soldier, popular with his peers and across all ranks alike".


SEE ALSO
Tributes to 'dedicated soldier'
25 Jun 07 |  Sussex
UK soldier died on 24th birthday
24 Jun 07 |  Middle East

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