Commander’s praise for Taliban bomb victim

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A soldier who died in a bomb attack in Afghanistan was described as “courageous, loyal and hard-working” by one of his commanding officers at his funeral.

Private Anthony Frampton, 20, of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, died alongside five colleagues on March 6.

Also killed in the attack were Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Privates Christopher Kershaw, 19, Daniel Wade, 20, and Daniel Wilford, 21, all also of 3 Yorks, and Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

The soldiers, who had been in Afghanistan for only a few weeks, were killed when their Warrior armoured vehicle was blown up by a massive improvised explosive device about 25 miles north of the capital of Helmand province, Lashkar Gah.

Hundreds of people lined the streets around Huddersfield Parish Church for Pte Frampton’s funeral today.

Major Malcolm Birkett, commanding officer of the 3 Yorks soldiers currently based in the UK, paid tribute to Pte Frampton.

He said: “Anton was a positive character whose smile could light up the room. “He was an individual that was tremendously talented at what he did, especially in the armoured infantry world.

“He’ll be sorely missed by his friends and family in particular and he is an individual that epitomises everything that is right about the modern infantryman – courageous, loyal, hard-working – an infantryman to the end.”

Asked how the deaths had affected the battalion, Maj Birkett said: “It had made the battalion more resolute.

“It has hit the battalion quite hard but they have dusted themselves down, picked themselves up and concentrated on the task at hand.

“They have got time to reflect when they come back, they will reflect and remember the fallen.”

The crowds around the church applauded Pte Frampton as his coffin was driven past them.

He was carried into church in a coffin draped in the Union flag.

In church, Pte Frampton’s mother, Margaret Charlesworth, 47, read out her son’s final letter to her, only to be opened in the event of his death.

A section read: “I just want to thank you for everything you have ever done for me, you are the best mum in the world.”

It went on: “Even though I am not around, I will always be around keeping you safe and one day we will be back together.

“I love you, Mum, stay strong, Love Anton.”

Mrs Charlesworth said after reading the letter: “Anton, your duty on this Earth is now done. Stand easy, my beautiful boy.”

Applause could be heard again as Pte Frampton’s body was driven away from the church to a private cremation.

The soldier left behind his mother, father Gary, stepfather Martin Charlesworth, sisters Gemma and Nicola and great-uncle Pat.

Pte Frampton was an apprentice welder before deciding to join the Army in 2009. In January 2010 he completed a tour of duty in the Falklands.

The force of the Taliban blast that killed Pte Frampton - the deadliest single attack on British forces in Afghanistan since 2001 - turned the Warrior upside-down and blew off its gun turret.

The funerals of Cpl Hartley and Sgt Coupe were held last month and the funerals of the other soldiers killed in the explosion will follow this month.