10:00am Thursday 29th March 2012
People are being urged to turn out in force today as a former Oxfordshire soldier is repatriated to the county along with two others.
Lance Corporal Michael Foley, 25, will be the first soldier to have been based in Oxfordshire to be repatriated to RAF Brize Norton since the base took back the duty in September.
L Cpl Foley served with 3 and 4 Logistics Support Regiments in Dalton Barracks after joining the Army in 2003.
He was shot and killed alongside Sergeant Luke Taylor, 33, of the Royal Marines, on Monday by a rogue Afghan soldier as they guarded a base in Helmand.
The pair will be repatriated alongside Captain Rupert Bowers, from 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment, who was killed by a bomb while on patrol last Wednesday.
Leader of Abingdon Town Council Sandy Lovatt, a former major in the Royal Corps of Signals, said residents may well have seen L Cpl Foley on parades through the town.
And he urged people to turn out and show their respects.
He said: “The soldiers of Dalton Barracks past and present have the affection of Abingdon. This soldier will be missed by the friends he made in Abingdon.”
After serving with the Abingdon units L Cpl Foley trained to become a specialist in military administration.
He was posted to 9 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps and was based in Germany from 2010. He flew to Afghanistan in September.
Jim Lewendon, chairman of Oxfordshire Royal British Legion (RBL), said he expected more people to turn out for today’s repatriation.
And Tom Tucker, chairman of the Abingdon branch of the RBL, added: “If any of the Oxfordshire people knew this chap then certainly they will be there.”
Nearly 120 soldiers from L Cpl Foley’s former unit – 4 LSR – at Dalton Barracks flew to Helmand for a six-month tour last week.
He leaves his wife Sophie and children Calum, Warren and Jake. He also leaves parents Craig and Debbie, sister Lisa and brother Jordan.
In a statement his family said: “Michael passed away while on operational duty in Afghanistan where he was very proud to be serving his country in support of our combined forces in this theatre of operations.”
The cortege is expected to leave RAF Brize Norton at 4.30pm and arrive at the John Radcliffe Hospital an hour later.
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