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Last Updated: Friday, 5 September, 2003, 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK
Iraq ambush soldier 'died a hero'
Corporal Dewi Pritchard
Corporal Dewi Pritchard was an electronics engineer in south Wales
A part-time soldier who was killed in an ambush in Iraq last month was laid to rest in his home town of Bridgend on Friday.

Hundreds gathered for the funeral of Corporal Dewi Pritchard, a 35-year-old Territorial Army soldier serving with the Royal Military Police.

Corporal Pritchard died along with two other British servicemen when the unmarked civilian vehicle they were in was attacked by gunmen in Basra, southern Iraq.

Fellow soldiers wept as Corporal Pritchard's flag-draped coffin was carried into St Mary's Church in Nolton, Bridgend.

The father-of-two is believed to be the first TA soldier to have died in Iraq since the start of the conflict six months ago.

Family at funeral
Widow Tracey (second from right) with family and friends

Corporal Pritchard's brother-in-law Robert Hathaway said in a moving address: "Dewi's death has come as a massive hammer-blow to the whole family and we will miss him deeply."

He described the soldier as a quiet but kind man, who was a loving and doting father to his two children, Kira, six, and Ethan, one.

He finished with the words: "Dewi Pritchard - born a boy, died a hero."

His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel P C House said Corporal Pritchard "epitomised everything" the Royal Military Police held dear.

'True heroism'

"As soldiers we never forget our comrades who are no longer by our side.

"We can only hope to uphold their example when it is necessary to do so.

"Today his colleagues in Iraq stand firm in their resolve to continue their mission."

Message from daughter Kira
A message on floral tribute from daughter Kira, six,

He paid tribute to the "true heroism, professionalism and dedication" members of the regiment had shown.

Sergeant Steven Brown, a friend and colleague of Corporal Pritchard, praised him for returning to Iraq after a period of leave with his family knowing that the situation was getting worse.

A "lesser man" would have found an excuse not to return, he told the congregation.

Major Matthew Titchener, 32, from Merseyside, and Warrant Officer Colin Wall, 34, from County Durham died alongside Corporal Pritchard.

His widow, Tracey, and his parents Mair and Tony have expressed concerns about the circumstances surrounding his death.

Servicewoman in tears at the funeral of Dewi Pritchard
Servicewomen in tears outside the church

They said there were "many unanswered questions concerning personal protection and security arrangements for British troops in Basra."

A member of the 116 Provost Company of the 19 Mechanised Brigade, Corporal Pritchard is the second military policeman from Wales to be killed in Iraq.

In June, Lance Corporal Thomas Keys, 20, from Llanuwchllyn in Gwynedd, was one of six British military policeman ambushed and gunned down in a police station in the southern town of Al Majar al-Kabir.




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