Hundreds attend funeral of Barnsley marine who went to war against ISIS

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AN EX-Royal Marine from Barnsley who became the first Briton to be killed while fighting against ISIS was laid to rest today.

Hundreds of mourners turned out to pay their final respects to 25-year-old Konstandinos Erik Scurfield.

Mr Scurfield was shot dead on March 2 while fighting alongside Kurdish forces in the frontline village of Tel Khuzela in Syria.

His coffin was draped in the Union Jack and a flag of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, among other flags, along with flowers and a picture of Mr Scurfield.

At least two mourner attending the service in Nottingham, were wearing military dress, one was flying a People’s Protection Unit flag.

Several other mourners at the ceremony carried flags or placards with the slain fighters image on them.

The funeral of Konstandinos Erik Scurfield at St Paul's with St Stephen's Church, Nottingham. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

The funeral of Konstandinos Erik Scurfield at St Paul's with St Stephen's Church, Nottingham. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Mr Scurfield had ambitions to become an actor before joining the Royal Marines, aged 21.

However, he fled to Syria to fight alongside the Kurdish forces after becoming ‘horrified by the atrocities being carried out by ISIS’.

Earlier this month, Mr Scurfield’s mother Vasliki told a reception in Parliament how proud she was of her son and said: “Let’s stop standing by and let’s instead think creatively about grinding down and putting out the biggest threat to the world since the Nazis.

“Kosta was not a mercenary, he wasn’t an out of work soldier looking for an adventure or something to do to pass the time.

Kosta was not a mercenary, he wasn’t an out of work soldier looking for an adventure or something to do to pass the time

Kosta’s mother Vasliki

“And although this is not the way that many of us would have had him choose, it is the way he considered best for him and I’m proud of him for finding the courage to do this.”

She added: “Kosta may not have been supporting British political interests with his actions but he was certainly supporting British values.”

Mrs Scurfield urged governments and media across the world to “shine a spotlight” on IS and to name and shame all organisations and states supporting them in any way.

She said: “He (her son) was a small drop in an ocean but he has caused big ripples.”

The funeral of Konstandinos Erik Scurfield at St Paul's with St Stephen's Church, Nottingham. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

The funeral of Konstandinos Erik Scurfield at St Paul's with St Stephen's Church, Nottingham. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Mr Scurfield’s father Chris told the BBC the ceremony at the weekend was “overwhelming” and “very special and very comforting” to his family.

His coffin was draped with the Kurdish and Union flags and hundreds of people, including Kurdish fighters in the region, watched as the body was loaded on to an ambulance to be taken to Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Mr Scurfield, who was an expert in battlefield medicine, is believed to have travelled to Syria three or four months ago hoping to provide medical and humanitarian support.

He was said to have been “horrified by the atrocities being carried out by IS”.

In a statement following his death, Mr Scurfield’s family said: “His flame might have burned briefly but it burned brightly with love, courage, conviction and honour and we are very proud of him.”

While high numbers of foreigners are known to have joined IS, around 100 Westerners - including several Britons - are thought to have travelled to fight alongside the Kurds.

The funeral of Konstandinos Erik Scurfield at St Paul's with St Stephen's Church, Nottingham. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

The funeral of Konstandinos Erik Scurfield at St Paul's with St Stephen's Church, Nottingham. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Last month, a 19-year-old serving British soldier was returned to his unit after joining the Kurdish peshmerga.

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Kurdish fighters and foreign volunteers fighting together against the against the Islamic State group, including American citizen Jordan Matson, second right, Australian citizen volunteer Ase Johnson, right, and British citizen Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, foreground, pose for a group photo in Sinjar, Iraq.

Kurdish fighters and foreign volunteers fighting together against the against the Islamic State group, including American citizen Jordan Matson, second right, Australian citizen volunteer Ase Johnson, right, and British citizen Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, foreground, pose for a group photo in Sinjar, Iraq.