Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Friday, 21 August 2009 15:35 UK

Soldiers' bodies returned to UK

(Clockwise from top left) Sgt Simon Valentine, L/Cpl James Fullarton, Fusilier Louis Carter and Fusilier Simon Annis
The soldiers' coffins were driven through Wootton Bassett

The bodies of four soldiers who died in Afghanistan at the weekend have been flown back to the UK.

Fusilier Simon Annis, 22, from Salford, and Fusilier Louis Carter, 18, of Nuneaton, died trying to rescue L/Cpl James Fullarton.

However the 24-year-old from Coventry died on Sunday. Sgt Simon Valentine, 29, from Bedworth, died the day before in a separate incident.

The four were flown back to RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire before a ceremony.

The coffins were carried from the C17 plane ahead of the private service at the base's chapel.

Their coffins were later driven through nearby Wootton Bassett.

Marriage plans

Sgt Valentine, of 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, died in an explosion while on foot patrol in Sangin.

He joined the army in 1997, was deployed to Kosovo in 1999 and took part in anti-terrorist operations in Belfast, as well as completing numerous tours overseas, including two in Iraq.

He leaves his wife Gemma, who he had known since school and married in 2002, and two daughters, Chantelle and Niamh.

He was the 201st soldier to be killed in the conflict.

The other soldiers, also of 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, died following an explosion during a patrol at Sangin.

L/Cpl Fullarton had become engaged to his girlfriend Leanne while he was home on leave from Afghanistan in June. They had planned to marry next year.

He joined the Army in 2003 and had served in Northern Ireland, Jordan and Iraq.

His aunt Susan Marriott, 54, said his fiancee was "heartbroken".

Simon was the perfect husband, son and brother
Caroline Annis

Fusilier Louis Carter joined the Army in 2007 and, after completing his training, was sent straight out to Afghanistan.

He was a keen footballer, rugby player and cricketer and was a Coventry City supporter.

His father Andrew Newell, 45, from Nuneaton, said Fusilier Carter's girlfriend, 18-year-old Paige Newell, was "devastated".

He said his son had tried to shield her from most of what was going on in the conflict.

Fusilier Annis married in February this year, just weeks before he was deployed to Afghanistan.

His wife Caroline said: "Simon was the perfect husband, son and brother. He will be sorely missed by all of us."

Speaking about the procession through Wootton Bassett, Allison Bucknell, the town's mayoress, said residents still wanted to show their respect.

She said: "I don't do numbers. It's just a statistic, the 200th or the 1st - it doesn't matter to us.

"We come here because they give their lives."


Hundreds line the street in Wootton Bassett to pay their respects to the four soldiers

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