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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 July, 2003, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
Ambush soldier laid to rest
Corporal Simon Miller, 21, from Tyne and Wear, was among the men who died
Corporal Miller was a former pupil of Usworth school
The funeral of a Wearside soldier killed in an ambush in Iraq has taken place in Washington.

Corporal Simon Miller, 21, was one of six soldiers serving with 156 Provost Company, Royal Military Police, who were killed in southern Iraq in June.

On Thursday afternoon 600 people packed Holy Trinity Church, where he was baptised, for the funeral service.

Six army colleagues bore his coffin, which was piped in and out of the church by Sergeant Arthur Middleton.

There was a message on a wreath from 21-year-old Simon's fiancee, Emma, and his coffin was draped in the union flag and carried his red cap.

'High regard'

Corporal Miller's brother Lance Corporal Jon Miller, also a military policeman, read a tribute as did his commander, Captain James Hibbert.

Captain Hibbert told the congregation: "In giving this tribute I can only scratch at the surface of what was a brilliant guy.

"He lived in world in which spades were called spades, he faced police work head-on and was a real asset to the unit."

Corporal Miller's commanding officer, Major Bryn Parry Jones said of him: "There are no words that can adequately describe the high regard he was held in.

"He was a bright, conscientious and thoroughly professional MP.

"His death is a bitter blow to all of his company and the wider Royal Military Police."

Floral tribute
Corporal Miller's parents left a moving tribute
Friends from Simon's platoon dedicated a wreath with the message: By Example You Led, With Regret We Will Follow.

The moving service, the first for the six dead, at Washington Parish Church, was relayed by speaker system to a hushed church grounds lined with the red caps of colleagues and former MPs.

Military Padre, the Reverend Charles Hope, conducted the service.

Floral tributes filled the hearse carrying Simon's coffin, which had arrived at the church led by two military police outriders.

One tribute, from fiancee Emma, a collection of daises sprayed red topped with white roses bore a heartfelt farewell.

Private service

It read: "To my darling Simon. I will miss you so much, in so many ways especially your gorgeous smile.

"You will always be in my heart baby forever, always your girl."

The card bore a hand-drawn heart and a string of kisses.

After the service the coffin was taken to nearby South Tyneside for a private family cremation service.

Corporal Miller died while defending a civilian police station from a mob in Al Majar al-Kabir, near Basra last month.

The other five military policemen who died were Sergeant Simon Hamilton-Jewell, 41, from Surrey; Corporal Russell Aston, 30, from Derbyshire; Corporal Paul Long, 24, from South Tyneside; Lance Corporal Thomas Keys, 20, from Llanuwchyllyn, near Bala, Wales and Lance Corporal Benjamin Hyde, from Northallerton.

The deaths of the six soldiers marked the heaviest losses suffered in a single day by US-led coalition forces since the war in Iraq began.




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