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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 14:57 GMT
Funerals for Nimrod crash crewmen
RAF pall bearers carry Flt Lt Al Squires' coffin out of Nairn Old Parish Church
Flt Lt Squires' coffin is carried from Nairn Parish Church
Funerals have been held in the Highlands for two crew who died when a RAF Nimrod crashed in Afghanistan.

Mourners gathered in Nairn to remember Cheshire-born father-of-two Flight Lieutenant Al Squires, 39.

A service has also taken place at Inverness Crematorium for 25-year-old Somerset-born Sergeant Ben Knight.

The Nimrod MR2 aircraft crashed in September after a suspected technical fault killing 14 men, 12 of whom were based at RAF Kinloss in Moray.

Flt Lt Squires' funeral took place on Friday morning, followed shortly after by the service for Sgt Knight.

Mist and heavy rain added to the sombre mood of the ceremonies.

The Reverend Ian Hamilton led the service for Flt Lt Squires in Nairn's Old Parish Church. He described it as a tremendously sad, but proud day.

Al always found something positive from a crisis. Let's do likewise - restore bonds with old friends, think of Al and smile.
Sqd Ldr Simon Seymour-Dale

Flt Lt Squires lived in the Highland seaside town on the Moray Firth with his wife Adele and their children Abby and Graeme, who sat together in a front pew for the service.

Wing Commander Martin Cannard read a poem by World War II Royal Canadian Air Force pilot John Magee.

Squadron Leader Pete Brown then read Death is Nothing at All, which includes the line: "I have only slipped into the next room".

There was also a moving tribute by Squadron Leader Simon Seymour-Dale, nicknamed SD, who was best man at the Flt Lt Squires' wedding.

He described his friend as a "good, decent and honourable man" who had been a perfectionist as well as a worrier.

Flt Lt Al Squires
Flt Lt Al Squires was a father-of-two

There was laughter when SD recalled how the worst language he had ever heard him utter was "blinking flip" and how while trying to teach his children to fish his daughter landed a catch, while all her father managed to do was hook seaweed.

The squadron leader added: "Al always found something positive from a crisis. Let's do likewise - restore bonds with old friends, think of Al and smile."

A Nimrod and two Tucano trainer aircraft made a fly-past as his coffin was carried from the church.

In Inverness, Sgt Knight's fiancée Tania, his parents Graham and Trish and brothers Andy and Matt watched as the coffin covered in a Union flag, was carried into the crematorium.

In a statement, Graham Knight said the family was still struggling to come to terms with the loss of his son.

He said: "As a family we have been devastated by his sudden and violent death, but we try to get some comfort from knowing that he did not die alone, nor was his suffering prolonged.

"He was busy working with his fellow crew members at the time the accident occurred.

"He, like many other young men and women, were serving not just his country but the international community as well, in the cause of freedom and democracy."

Sgt Ben Knight and his fiancée
Sgt Knight was planning on marrying his fiancée Tania

Mr Knight added that his son had a "thirst for knowledge and excitement" and had wanted to join the RAF since he was 11-years-old.

He said his son, who was due to return from the Gulf on Remembrance Day, had been planning to marry Tania in the next few months.

"They have already bought their wedding rings, but instead of planning their wedding we have spent the last few months organising his funeral," said Mr Knight.

Funeral for British Nimrod victim
16 Nov 06 |  Merseyside
Tribute at serviceman's funeral
15 Nov 06 |  Dorset
Funeral service for Nimrod victim
11 Nov 06 |  North East/N Isles
Funeral for Cornish Nimrod victim
10 Nov 06 |  Cornwall
Funerals for air crash personnel
07 Nov 06 |  North East/N Isles

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