Page last updated at 15:35 GMT, Friday, 31 July 2009 16:35 UK

Funeral for 18-year-old rifleman

Rifleman Will Aldridge
Rifleman Will Aldridge joined the Army in December

The funeral of the youngest soldier to be killed in Afghanistan has taken place in Herefordshire.

Rifleman Will Aldridge, 18, from Bredenbury, died in an explosion in Sangin, Helmand Province, as he tried to rescue colleagues on 10 July.

His funeral was held with full military honours at St Peter's Church in Bromyard.

A funeral cortege led by the British Legion passed through Bromyard before the service.

His mother, Lucy Aldridge, said he had always wanted to join the Army.

"He sacrificed his life living that dream and trying to save the lives of his comrades," she said.

His former cadet leader, Capt Bob Harrison, said: "He could always be found in the thick of things - always with that wide grin that everyone who knew him would immediately remember."

Taliban offensive

Rifleman Aldridge was one of six soldiers who died in Afghanistan during an offensive against the Taliban on 10 July.

Four other members of his regiment, the County Down-based 2nd Battalion The Rifles, were killed in explosions in Sangin. Two were also aged 18.

A corporal with the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment died in an explosion near Nad Ali.

Rifleman Aldridge, who went to Minster College, Leominster, joined the Army aged 17 in December 2008 and turned 18 in May.

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