Page last updated at 14:32 GMT, Tuesday, 15 July 2003 15:32 UK

Military funeral for ambush soldier

Tributes to shot military policeman Ben Hyde
450 mourners attended the service at All Saints Church

A soldier shot dead in Iraq has been buried in his home town with full military honours.

Lance Corporal Ben Hyde, 23, from Northallerton, was one of six military policemen, gunned down in the southern town of Al Majar al-Kabir last month.

His parents Sandra and John were joined in All Saints Church by 450 mourners on Tuesday afternoon.

Hundreds more lined the route of the funeral procession before listening to the service outside of the church.

He was a guy bursting with character
Captain Jim Hibbert

Speaking at the service Mr Hyde's cousin Jenny Singh said: "Ben and I grew up together.

"He wasn't just my cousin he was really my big brother and I worshipped him.

"He was fun, cheeky, incredibly charming and brave."

Captain Jim Hibbert, Mr Hyde's platoon commander, also spoke to the congregation of a man "it was impossible not to like".

He said: "He was a guy bursting with character. Someone who didn't just exist but who was bursting with life."

Ben Hyde
Lance corporal Hyde was shot with five colleagues

The five other military policemen who died were Sergeant Simon Hamilton-Jewell, 41, of Chessington, Surrey; Corporal Russell Aston, 30, from Swadlincote, Derbyshire; Corporal Paul Long, 24, from South Shields, South Tyneside; Corporal Simon Miller, 21, from Washington, Tyne and Wear and Lance Corporal Thomas Keys, 20, from Llanuwchyllyn, near Bala, Wales.

They were members of the 156 Provost Company, part of the 16th Air Assault Brigade, based in Colchester.

The bodies of the soldiers were found at a police station where they had been training local officers.

The Iraqis had been protesting about weapons searches before embarking on a two-hour gun battle.

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