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Last Updated: Friday, 25 April, 2003, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
Farewell for Desert Rats 'hero'
Egloshayle Parish Church
Sergeant Roberts' coffin was draped with St Piran's Flag
Hundreds of mourners have attended the funeral of a Cornish soldier killed in Iraq.

Family and friends packed Egloshayle Parish Church near Sergeant Steven Roberts' hometown of Wadebridge in Cornwall.

Inside the church a floral tribute bore the motto of Sergeant Roberts' regiment: Fear Naught.

Outside in the funeral hearse floral tributes from his family said "son", "bruv" and "Buddy" - the nickname given to him by his widow Samantha.

He was utterly convinced about his job in the army and his role in Iraq
Father Kevin Gleeson

The 33-year-old Desert Rats tank commander was shot through the chest during a riot in Al Zubayr, near Basra, just three days after the conflict began.

A Cornish St Piran's flag, Sergeant Roberts' dress belt, black beret and medals were on top of the coffin as it was carried into church.

The cortege was led by Samantha, and his mother Marion Chapman who held hands and each clasped a yellow rose.

They were followed by Sergeant Roberts' brother Boo.

During the service Father Kevin Gleeson, former padre of the Army Foundation College in Harrogate, Yorkshire, spoke of his time working with Sergeant Roberts.

"He was full of fun," he said.

"He had a passion for his family, for Cornwall and his roots which he never, ever forgot.

"It is because of his standards and beliefs that he was utterly convinced about his job in the army and his role in Iraq.

"He is genuinely a hero. A hero to his wife, his mother, his brother, his step-father and to his many, many and much-loved extended family and friends."

The service ended with a lone bugler from the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment sounding Last Post and Reveille.

The family left Egloshayle for a private cremation at Bodmin Crematorium.

Proud Cornishman

According to Sergeant Roberts' wishes, his ashes are to be scattered at Port Quin Bay, north Cornwall, described as "his favourite spot in the world."

Sergeant Roberts of the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment was raised and went to school in Wadebridge.

He and his wife were living in Shipley, West Yorkshire, before he was deployed to the Gulf.

A proud Cornishman, he kept a St Piran's flag in his rucksack while serving in the Gulf.

The funeral service follows a full military funeral held at St Wilfred's Church, Harrogate, Yorkshire, on Wednesday.

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