Page last updated at 15:21 GMT, Thursday, 17 April 2008 16:21 UK

Fly-past marks marine's funeral

Lieutenant John Thornton. Picture courtesy of the Ministry of Defence
Lt John Thornton's family said he died doing a job he loved

The funeral has taken place of a Royal Marine from Dorset killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan last month.

Lieutenant John Thornton, 22, from Ferndown, died in Helmand Province alongside Marine David Marsh, 23, from Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

The men of Somerset's 40 Commando were on patrol when their vehicle was hit.

More than 1,500 mourners attended Lt Thornton's funeral at St Mary's Church, in Ferndown. Tributes included a single Red Arrow fly-past.

His parents, Linda and Pete, along with brothers Ian and Graham, attended the military service.

They said that their son "died a hero following his dream and doing the job he loved".

The fly-past was organised by a local businessman and featured a plane which used to be part of the Red Arrow display team.

Lieutenant John Thornton and Marine David Marsh. Picture courtesy of the Ministry of Defence
Lt John Thornton and Marine David Marsh died in a roadside explosion

Lt Thornton, known as JT, flew with the Red Arrows when he was 18 after being named top air cadet.

He joined the armed forces in August 2004 and had previously served in Iraq.

His brother Ian said: "He always said he would rather die early, having lived that dream, than grow old having worked in a bank all his life. Better a year as a lion than a decade as a donkey."

The funeral for Marine Marsh was held on Tuesday in Bolsterstone, near Sheffield.

Hundreds of mourners attended the full military funeral and burial, which brought the South Yorkshire village to a standstill.

The marines were killed on 30 March just before they were due home from a six-month tour.

An inquest into the deaths has been opened and adjourned.

Military honours for dead marine
15 Apr 08 |  England
Funeral for Afghanistan casualty
15 Apr 08 |  England
Marines are back from Afghanistan
08 Apr 08 |  Somerset

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