Killed Sunderland soldier to be flown home

Richard Walker
Richard Walker
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FALLEN soldier Richard Walker will be repatriated at a ceremony at RAF Brize Norton later this week.

The 23-year-old was working at Patrol Base Hazrat in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province, Afghanistan, when a rogue soldier shot and killed him.

Sapper Walker, of Blackfell, Washington, was working on a construction task with other military engineers from his troop, as part of preparations to hand the camp over to Afghan security forces, when the soldier turned his weapon on Afghan National Army and International Security Assistance Force soldiers at the base.

Today, his grieving mum, Kathryn Walker, 46, said members of the family would be going down to the Oxfordshire airbase for Thursday’s ceremony.

She added: “We have not been given a date for the funeral but arrangements are being made.”

Six other British soldiers were injured in Monday’s attack and were treated at the hospital in Camp Bastion, the main allied base.

The Echo understands the funeral service will be held in Washington in the coming weeks.

Spr Walker grew up in the area and was a pupil at Washington School before signing up for the Army in 2008.

The devoted SAFC fan, who would have turned 24 next month, began a six-month tour of Afghanistan in August – his first time in the war-hit country.

He had been due to return home next month and was looking forward to spending time with Lilly-Faith, who turns two in April.

The soldier had spent time with his family in Sunderland just before Christmas while on a break from his tour.

Up until September 2011 many repatriation services took place at RAF Lyneham, with processions passing through the streets of Wootton Bassett.

Corteges leaving Brize Norton pass through the newly-named Britannia Gate at the base but avoid the town centre of Carterton.

The bodies of 345 services personnel, including several from Wearside, passed through Wootton Bassett up until 2011.

Twitter: @craigjourno