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Last Updated: Friday, 27 August, 2004, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
Inquest into Iraq soldier death
Lance Corporal Paul Thomas
Lance Corporal Thomas' funeral is likely to take place next week
A Welsh soldier died in Iraq after his patrol came under attack from local militia, an inquest has heard.

Lance Corporal Thomas, 29, from Buttington, near Welshpool, was killed when his unit was attacked by gunmen in Basra on the evening of 17 August.

Sergeant Susan Davies told the court L/Cpl Thomas sustained a gunshot wound in the attack.

"He was certified dead on arrival at the field hospital at Shaibah logistics base," said Sgt Davies.

Major Paul Howarth, an army doctor at the base, examined the body, and found that L/Clpl Thomas had died after receiving a bullet wound to the neck.

L/Cpl Thomas' military funeral will take place next Thursday at St Mary's Church in Welshpool, before he is interred at Castle Caereinion cemetery.

The body was flown back to RAF Brize Norton this week, before being taken to the Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford for a post mortem examination to be carried out.

Powys Coroner Geraint Williams, who adjourned the inquest to a later date, passed on his sincere condolences to the family.

Iraq map
The patrol came under attack in Basra

When L/Cpl Thomas' coffin arrived at RAF Brize Norton on Wednesday, it was draped in a union flag and was accompanied by a military band.

L/Cpl Thomas, a member of the 2nd Battalion The Light Infantry, who was attached to the 1st Battalion The Cheshire Regiment, had been in Basra since June.

He was described as "a proud Welshman" by his platoon commander.

Lieutenant Will Follet, said: "He was an immensely popular member of the platoon, widely regarded as its backbone."

A small British patrol had been attacked by a large number of militia with firearms and rocket-propelled grenades on 17 August.

British troops have been battling Shia militias thought to be loyal to radical Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr.




SEE ALSO:
Welsh soldier killed in Iraq
18 Aug 04  |  Wales


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