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Last Updated: Monday, 16 February, 2004, 17:14 GMT
Final farewell to Scots soldier
The number of British military fatalities in Iraq stands at 58
Family and friends have paid their final respects to a Scots soldier killed in Iraq.

Robert Thomson, of Bathgate, West Lothian, was killed in Basra on 31 January after what army officials described as "a tragic accident".

The 22-year-old, the seventh Scot to die in Iraq, was laid to rest following a funeral service at Whitburn South Parish Church in West Lothian.

About 200 mourners attended the funeral service, conducted by an army padre.

Sapper Thomson's body was carried into the small church in a coffin draped in the Union flag.

Pipe Major Gordon Campbell played Flowers of the Forest as the coffin, carried by members of Sapper Thomson's 35 Engineer Regiment, was taken inside.

'Local hero'

The congregation sang Lord of the Dance and The Lord's My Shepherd during the 45-minute service, after which Sapper Thomson was buried at nearby Blaeberry cemetery.

Among the floral tributes was one from Sapper Thomson's parents Robert and Margaret, which said: "To our own wee local hero."

In a statement at the time of his death Mr and Mrs Thomson said they took comfort from the fact he died serving his country.

They said: "At this time words cannot express the depth of our grief but mixed with a profound sadness there is pride in the knowledge that he died while serving his country - not only during the current tour but last year when he went to Iraq with his regiment during the war fighting phase.

"He will be remembered by all that knew him forever."

Sapper Thomson's death brought the number of British military fatalities in the current conflict in Iraq to 58.


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