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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 April 2007, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
Hundreds attend soldier's funeral
Rifleman Aaron Lincoln [Source: MoD]
Rifleman Lincoln was proud of his family's military history
Hundreds of mourners have packed a small stone church and its grounds to pay tribute to a teenage soldier.

The congregation was told how Rifleman Aaron Lincoln, 18, of Durham, gave his life for his colleagues during a close quarters gun battle in Basra, Iraq.

Rifleman Lincoln of the Sherburn Road Estate had been serving with the 2nd Battalion, the Rifles.

About 700 mourners attended the service at Durham's St Giles Church. He died on 2 April on a routine security patrol.

Mourners were told how the young soldier, who had only been in Iraq since January, was out with his platoon when they came under fire.

Rifleman Lincoln's coffin
He was a wonderful young Rifleman, caring and committed
Army tribute

They were in the Al Ashar district of central Basra, near Basra Palace, and another of the patrol was also wounded.

Rifleman Lincoln tried to get into the building from where the shots were thought to have been fired but he was hit with small arms fire from another direction.

Both wounded men were taken to Basra Palace and then to the field hospital at Basra Air Station for further treatment but Rifleman Lincoln later died of his injuries.

Mourners stood in silence as his coffin, draped in the Union Flag, was carried up a winding gravel path at the church.

A tannoy system was set up to relay the service to the hundreds of mourners who could not get inside the small stone church, which holds 350.

'Fiercely proud'

The church bells rang at noon as the police-escorted cortege arrived at the church entrance and the service got under way with the hymn, How Great Thou Art.

It was jointly conducted by Canon Richard Davison and Catterick Garrison Chaplain Ray McKnight.

The congregation heard how the soldier "ultimately sacrificed his life for his friends".

An Army tribute included the words: "He was a wonderful young Rifleman, caring and committed, who loved soldiering and he was very good at it."

His parents Peter and Karen led the coffin into the church supporting each other.

Rifleman Lincoln, who had two sisters and one brother, had followed a long family tradition by joining the Army just a year ago.

His grandfather served with the local Durham Light Infantry and he was said by colleagues to be fiercely proud of his family's military heritage.

Following the 40-minute service the family left for a private ceremony at nearby Belmont Cemetery.

Private Lincoln was the 105th soldier to die in the conflict. The total now stands at 110.


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