Two comrades killed in a bomb attack in Afghanistan “looked out for each other” and died “together as friends”, a commanding officer told mourners yesterday.
Private Daniel Wilford, 21, and Private Anthony Frampton, 20, of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, died alongside four colleagues on March 6.
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.
Their funerals were held separately this week in West Yorkshire.
Hundreds of people had lined the streets around Huddersfield Parish Church for both men, applauding them as their coffins, draped in the Union Flag, were driven past the church.
Speaking before Pte Wilford’s funeral yesterday, Major Malcolm Birkett paid tribute to their friendship.
Maj Birkett, the commanding officer of the 3 Yorks currently based in the UK, said: “They were very good friends.
“They associated with each other both in work and out of work even though they were in two different companies. They thought well of each other, they looked out for each other. They went to Afghanistan together, the only grace and favour in this is that they die together as friends.
“They are remembered in the community spirit of this that they came home together.
“It’s a sad, sombre occasion for this to happen but the families fully appreciate that as friends, they did everything together.
“They went out there together and they came home together.”
Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, and Private Daniel Wade, 20, all also of 3 Yorks, and Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, were also killed in the attack.
The force of the Taliban blast – the deadliest single attack on British forces in Afghanistan since 2001 – turned the Warrior vehicle upside down and blew off its gun turret.
During the service for Pte Wilford, vicar of Huddersfield the Rev Canon Simon Moor read out a tribute from his friends.
It read: “Wilf could always light up a room with his smile. He had a heart of gold and the generosity of a millionaire. We have lost part of the family that can never be replaced but he will always be remembered. He has not only made us proud but he has made everyone proud. He gave his life for us and we are proud too of even knowing his name.
“He will always be loved, missed, in our hearts and in our thoughts until we next meet.”
Maj Birkett described Pte Wilford as an “outstanding guy”. He said: “Private Wilford was a quiet, unassuming character that was deeply thought of by his company. An outstanding guy to be around, a fantastic shot that really, really epitomised everything that is right about the infantry soldier.
“He was one that certainly grew in confidence in the time that he was with us and more importantly, that confidence exuded on to everybody else.
“Because of his standard of shooting on the Warrior, everyone wanted to be on his team.”
Pte Frampton’s funeral was held at the church on Wednesday.
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 later this month.
Pte Wilford, from Huddersfield, joined the Army at the age of 16 but left after a few weeks.
He rejoined, with 3 Yorks, in April 2010 and was known as a skilled gunner on the Warrior vehicle. He is survived by his mother and stepfather, Diane and Paul Sharples, his brother Alex, and his grandparents.