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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 November, 2004, 15:20 GMT
Service honours Scottish soldier
Pte McHale's coffin
Hundreds of people attended the service in Lochgelly
Hundreds of mourners have attended the funeral of the first Black Watch soldier to be killed following the unit's redeployment in central Iraq.

Private Kevin McHale was buried with full military honours in Lochgelly, Fife, after a service at the church where he worshipped as a boy.

The 27-year-old died when the Warrior vehicle he was driving overturned as it moved nearer to Baghdad.

Family and friends attended a Requiem Mass at St Patrick's Church.

About 500 mourners were led by Pte McHale's father Michael, mother Betty and brother Barry.

Parish priest Father Stuart Gray delivered the eulogy and military padre Alex Forsyth recited the regimental prayer, The Black Watch Collect.

Floral tribute
There were a number of floral tributes outside the church
The floral tributes outside the church included one which simply said: "We'll never forget you, Kevin."

Pte McHale was laid to rest in a private burial at Lochgelly Cemetery.

The Black Watch was represented at the service by its most senior officer, Lieutenant General Alistair Irwin.

He said Pte McHale was "a very fine young man".

The senior officer added: "The commanding officer and his officers and friends are devastated at his loss because he was a very good and a very popular soldier.

Private Kevin Thomas McHale
Private McHale died after a bridge his vehicle was crossing collapsed
"He was also a very proud soldier. He always wanted to join the Black Watch, he was doing very well in the regiment and he died doing what he joined up to do."

Sir Alistair said the regiment was facing a "tough job" in its new posting, but voiced confidence that it would complete its mission.

Pte McHale was a bachelor and had been with the battalion for five years serving as a Warrior armoured vehicle driver.

Three other soldiers suffered minor injuries in the accident which occurred when a bridge collapsed under the vehicle Pte McHale was driving in Iraq's North Babil province at the end of last month.

The incident did not involve any hostile action.

Army officials say the convoy did not come under fire

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