Home flight for brave six

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THE bodies of six soldiers killed in Afghanistan will be flown home this week.

Sgt Nigel Coupe, 33, a father-of-two, from St Annes, was on patrol in Helmand Province when his armoured vehicle was hit by a Taliban bomb.

He was killed alongside five comrades in the 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, last Tuesday.

It is believed their bodies will be flown home on Thursday.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “It is likely a formal identification will happen before they return.

“However it may be the cortege goes to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where the bodies would be seen by the coroner.”

Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, met troops from the 3rd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment as they prepared for deployment in Wiltshire.

He said: “This is an opportunity for me to express directly to the men my condolences at the terrible events, but also to hear from them how they feel about the mission ahead of them, and crucially, how the families are holding up back home.”

Mr Hammond said he was still very clear what British soldiers are doing in Afghanistan is a ‘mission with a purpose’.

He said: “The purpose is to protect the security of the United Kingdom and our citizens here at home.

“It’s a mission with a clear end date.”

Sgt Coupe leaves a wife, Natalie, 28, and two daughters, Ella, five, and Jasmine, two.

Paying tribute, Mrs Coupe described her husband as her ‘soulmate’.

n A teenager will appear in court after comments were posted on Facebook about the deaths of six soldiers in Afghanistan. Azhar Ahmed, 19, has been charged with racially aggravated public order offences and will appear at Dewsbury magistrates court next week.

Ahmed, of Fir Avenue, Ravensthorpe, has been bailed to an address outside of West Yorkshire.