Hundreds to gather for troop repatriation

Hundreds to gather for troop repatriation

Guardsman Apete Tuisovurua

Warrant Officer Class 2 Leonard Thomas

Guardsman Craig Roderick

First published in News Banbury Cake: Photograph of the Author by

THREE servicemen who were killed by a man dressed as an Afghan police officer are due to be repatriated to RAF Brize Norton today.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Leonard Thomas, Guardsman Craig Roderick and Guardsman Apete Tuisovurua were shot and killed on Sunday.

They had just finished a meeting with a detachment of the Afghan National Civil Order Police when the attack happened.

Scores of friends and family of the servicemen are expected to attend the memorial garden on the edge of Cartertonand hear the new memorial bell toll for today’s repatriation.

WO2 Thomas, 44, of the Royal Corps of Signals, was a career soldier, after first enlisting in 1986, and was on his last tour of duty.

He had completed tours of Kuwait, Iraq and Northern Ireland in the past and, as a reservist, deployed to Afghanistan on February 17, 2012.

WO2 Thomas, who was born in Cardiff and known as Pez, leaves his long-term partner Rachel, mother Sylvia and brother Tristan.

The family said: “Pez was a military man through and through. He thrived in extreme environments, both in the military and in his spare time.

“He was a keen climber and mountaineer and will be sorely missed by everyone who had the privilege to have met him.”

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Lieutenant Colonel Nigel Allison, Royal Logistic Corps, said: “WOC2 Thomas will be remembered as a highly professional, passionate and forthright soldier.”

Gdm Roderick, 22, of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, trained as a bricklayer before switching career because he wanted to keep fit and see Afghanistan.

He trained at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick in 2009 before joining the Welsh Guards. He was deployed to Afghanistan on March 26, 2012, as a member of a Police Advisory Team.

He leaves his parents Mike and Sadie, two sisters Katie and Lucinda Emily, step-brother Jay, Grandmother Margaret, and girlfriend Zoe.

His family said: “Words cannot describe how the loss of our precious Craig has affected us all. The vast void left by this tragedy will never be filled.

“Everyone who knew him will miss his big smile and his sense of humour.”

Gdm Tuisovurua, 28, of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, was born in Fiji but had become an “honourary Welshman” and was known as Tui to friends.

He started his training at Infantry Training Centre Catterick in 2010 and joined the Welsh Guards in 2011. He was deployed to Afghanistan on April 13, 2012, as a member of a Police Advisory Team.

His company commander, Major Julian Salusbury, said: “Gdm Tuisovurua had only been with 1st Battalion Welsh Guards for a little over a year but had proved himself to be dedicated, loyal and thoroughly decent.

“In his own words, he joined the Army to be ‘disciplined and truthful to himself’; he was all of this and more.”

The plane carrying their bodies will land at RAF Brize Norton at 1.30pm and the cortege will pass the memorial garden and new memorial bell on the edge of Carterton at about 4.30pm.

The cortege will arrive at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford at about 5.30pm.

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