ABOUT 200 people gathered along the county’s repatriation route to pay their respects to a fallen soldier.
They lined the streets around the memorial garden on the edge of Carterton and Headley Way in Oxford.
Army engineer Sapper Adam Moralee was killed in an accident at Camp Bastion on Wednesday last week – three months before the 23-year-old was due to marry fiancée Emma.
His body was returned to Britain from Afghanistan yesterday in Oxfordshire’s first repatriation ceremony since November.
And his fiancée Emma and best man laid flowers on the hearse carrying his coffin.
Carterton mayor Lynn Little, also a Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association (SSAFA) family liaison officer, said: “Each repatriation has a story around it with the families and it is always very upsetting.”
The cortege moved slowly from RAF Brize Norton to the memorial garden in Norton Way where the repatriation bell tolled.
Sapper Adam Moralee
When it arrived shortly before 4pm, the crowd fell silent and Sapper Moralee’s family and friends cried as they left flowers on the hearse carrying his coffin draped in the Union Flag. Mrs Little said the family had been overwhelmed by the support shown by the hundreds who came to pay their respects.
Sapper Moralee, who was from Newcastle, was preparing engineering equipment for redeployment when he was killed last week. The young soldier, from 32 Engineer Regiment, was due to be promoted to lance corporal later this year.
At the Memorial Garden in Carterton
Lance Corporal Chip Harris, who served with him, said: “He will be the best bloke you would ever meet. He always had a smile on his face.”
The cortege later moved along the A40 to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital where a post-mortem examination was due to take place.
Jim Lewendon, chairman of the Royal British Legion in Oxfordshire, was among the ex-servicemen to salute the young engineer’s coffin as it arrived in Headley Way and passed through to the Headington hospital.
Mr Lewendon said he was sad to see the first repatriation of the year, adding: “We were all hoping there would not be any more.”
Mr Lewendon said the county would keep turning out to pay their respects, adding: “The feelings are still the same, especially among the ex-service community.”