Soldier repatriated to UK

The body of a British soldier shot dead by a member of the Afghan National Army has been repatriated to the UK today.

Sapper Richard Walker - a member of 28 Engineer Regiment attached to 21 Engineer Regiment - was killed in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province on January 7.

The Union flag draped coffin was flown into RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

A private ceremony for his family was held on the air base before the cortege left on its way to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

The cortege was escorted at walking pace past the memorial garden in Carterton, where the union flag was hung at half-mast and members of the public are expected to gather.

Leeds-born Sapper Walker, 23, has left behind a young daughter, Lilly-Faith, who he had only known for 18 months before he was deployed for his first tour of Afghanistan in September.

His family paid tribute to their son and brother in a statement, which read: "Richard held two things close to his heart - his daughter and his colleagues in the Army.

"A proud, patriotic man, he died doing a job he loved, supporting his friends.''

Sapper Walker was killed and six others injured when the Afghan soldier opened fire on international and ANA troops.

They were all taken to the Bastion Role 3 medical facility, where Sapper Walker was pronounced dead.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the "insider attack'', which occurred at Patrol Base Hazrat.

Lieutenant Colonel Chas Story, Commanding Officer, 28 Engineer Regiment, said: "Sapper Walker was the epitome of a true Sapper, one who would roll up his sleeves and get on with the task in hand no matter what, but importantly he would do it with great humour.

"He made sure that he made the most of every opportunity, both in the Army and at home; it is without doubt that he had a lot to offer and a bright future.''

The number of members of UK forces to have died since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001 now stands at 440.