Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Monday, 16 November 2009

Killed soldier's body repatriated


The bodies of Riflemen Samuel Bassett and Philip Allen return home <p

The body of a soldier who died in Afghanistan on Remembrance Sunday after being injured in a bomb blast has been returned to Britain.

Plymouth-born Rifleman Samuel Bassett, 20, from 4th Battalion the Rifles, was badly hurt in Helmand province on 1 November and died seven days later.

The rifleman, of Torpoint, Cornwall, was repatriated to RAF Lyneham, Wilts.

His coffin passed through the nearby town of Wootton Bassett, pausing at the war memorial for a two-minute silence.

Book of condolence

Close relatives of Rifleman Bassett, including his parents Simon and Coline, were at the RAF base for a private memorial ceremony.

Rifleman Philip Allen, 20, from Dorset, who died on 7 November, was repatriated on the same flight.

Rifleman Samuel Bassett
Samuel Bassett had completed his training in May

Their coffins left the Wiltshire base and passed through the nearby town of Wootton Bassett, pausing at the war memorial for a two-minute silence.

The men's bodies were then being taken on to Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital for post-mortem examinations.

About 500 people lined the streets of Wootton Bassett to pay their respects as the soldiers' cortege passed through, including shopkeepers, residents and members of the Royal British Legion's Torpoint branch.

Town resident Martin Lansdowne said that "young and old alike" joined in: "There are always 300 or 400 people who gather for the corteges, whether it's one repatriation, or three or four or more."

Coline Bassett
Coline Bassett attended the Wootton Bassett cortege

Steve Lewis, chairman of the Torpoint branch of the legion, said it was "massively important" that members of Rifleman Bassett's local branch were there.

He said: "It's a long way from home. Sam has paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and it was imperative that we came up here to offer the support the legion is known for."

Rifleman Bassett, of 1 Platoon, 4th Battalion The Rifles, was serving as part of the 3 Rifles Battle Group. He completed his training in May and was deployed to Afghanistan last month.

He leaves his mother Coline, father Simon, who lives in Canada, and his 18-year-old brother Jack.

Special tributes were paid to the rifleman during Torpoint's Remembrance Sunday service at the town's war memorial.

A book of condolence was opened at the town's community college, where he studied.

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