Page last updated at 08:02 GMT, Thursday, 27 August 2009 09:02 UK

Soldiers' bodies flown back to UK


People lined the streets in Wootton Bassett to pay their respects as the funeral cortege passed through

The bodies of two soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been repatriated to RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire.

Pte Johnathon Young, 18, from Hull, and Sjt Paul McAleese, 29, of Hereford, were killed in two separate explosions in Helmand Province on 20 August.

Their coffins will pass through the town of Wootton Bassett where local people are expected to line the streets to pay tribute.

The number of deaths of British soldiers in Afghanistan is now 206.

Sjt McAleese, of the 2nd Battalion The Rifles, was the son of of John McAleese, who was in the SAS and at the centre of the raid which ended the siege at the Iranian embassy in London in 1980.

Sjt McAleese died shortly after Pte Young, of the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, based in Warminster in Wiltshire.

Pte Young was killed in an initial explosion and Sgt McAleese was then killed in a second blast when he went to help.

Serjeant Paul McAleese and Pte Johnathon Young
Sjt Paul McAleese and Pte Johnathon Young were killed in explosions

Sjt McAleese's widow, Jo, paid tribute to her husband, saying: "Mac, my husband, my best friend, my hero.

"You were an amazing daddy to Charley and the best husband I could have ever asked for. We will love you and miss you for ever."

Pte Young was deployed to Afghanistan earlier this month as part of reinforcements sent to the country to boost numbers after a wave of casualties.

He is understood to be the first of the extra service personnel to be killed.

Lt Col Tom Vallings, Commanding Officer 3 Yorks, said: "He had already set his mark as a robust and determined soldier who always put his friends first.

"He had a strength of character that forced him to be at the very centre of events and it was no surprise that he volunteered to deploy at Afghanistan at short notice."

The funeral cortege will end at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford for post-mortem examinations.

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