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Last Updated: Monday, 29 January 2007, 16:03 GMT
Nimrod crash victims remembered
Most of the men were based at RAF Kinloss in Scotland

A memorial service has been held at a Moray air base for the 14 military personnel killed when an RAF Nimrod aircraft crashed in Afghanistan.

Families and friends of the 12 air force crew, a Royal Marine and a soldier who died in the tragedy last September gathered at RAF Kinloss.

Station Commander Jerry Kessell said there could be few on the base who did not know the "band of brothers".

The Duke of Edinburgh joined about 2,000 people at the service.

The memorial was held in a hangar at the station, with a large Union flag draped from the ceiling, and there were also candles and flowers.

NIMROD CRASH VICTIMS
Coffins
Flt Lt Allan Squires, 39, from Clatterbridge, Merseyside
Flt Lt Steven Johnson, 38, from Collingham, Nottinghamshire
Flt Lt Gareth Nicholas, 40, from Redruth, Cornwall
Flt Lt Steven Swarbrick, 28, from Liverpool
Flt Lt Leigh Mitchelmore, 28, from Bournemouth, Dorset
Flt Sgt Adrian Davies, 49, from Amersham, Buckinghamshire
Flt Sgt Gary Wayne Andrews, 48, from Tankerton, Kent
Flt Sgt Gerard Bell, 48, from Newport, Shropshire
Flt Sgt Stephen Beattie, 42, from Dundee
Sgt Gary Paul Quilliam, 42, from Manchester
Sgt Ben Knight, 25, from Bridgewater
Sgt John Langton, 29, from Liverpool
Marine Joseph Windall, 22 from Hazlemere
L/Cpl Oliver Dicketts, from Wadhurst

During the 45-minute service of thanksgiving, several hymns were sung.

Group Captain Kessell said: "Today we are united in paying tribute to these 14 men who lost their lives on the Nimrod aircraft."

The service was conducted by the Reverend Andrew Hewett, senior chaplain for RAF Kinloss and Lossiemouth.

He was assisted by Padre Alasdair Nicholl from the Church of Scotland and Roman Catholic chaplain, Father Ivan Boyle.

Many of the funerals for the RAF crew were held in communities near Kinloss.

Rayna Quilliam's husband Gary was one of the men killed in the tragedy and she is still coming to terms with the loss.

She said: "The knock at the door was one of the most unbelievable situations. I still don't think I can believe it."

The crash has led to concerns over the safety of the Nimrod fleet.

Its cause is currently being investigated by a Board of Inquiry.

Nimrod service
The service was attended by about 2,000 people

Claire Mitchelmore's husband Leigh also died and five months on she is still looking for answers.

She said: "I want to know exactly why these guys had to die. Leigh went into Nimrods because he said it was one of the safest jobs he could have.

"It was meant to be a family man's job. He should be coming home. They should all be coming home and they are not."

The bodies of the servicemen were repatriated to the station on the Moray coast, rather than Brize Norton as is the normal practice, following calls from the families.

The last time mourners gathered at RAF Kinloss was on 12 September when the men were returned home in a moving repatriation ceremony.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The memorial service for the crew of the Nimrod



SEE ALSO
Servicemen a 'band of brothers'
29 Jan 07 |  North East/N Isles
Time of remembrance in Two Hangar
29 Jan 07 |  North East/N Isles
Daughter's Nimrod victim tribute
24 Nov 06 |  North East/N Isles

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