Hundreds of people will gather throughout Oxfordshire today to pay their respects to a fallen soldier when he is repatriated.
Lance Corporal Scott Hetherington, of 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, died on Monday, January 2 following an incident at Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, in Iraq and an investigation is now under way into the circumstances.
The 22-year-old from Manchester was a member of Blenheim Company and a Vehicle Commander in the Force Protection Platoon.
He leaves a girlfriend and baby daughter.
John Walker, 76, from Botley, who served with the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards in the 1960s and 1970s, has organised veterans gathering in Headley Way, near the entrance to the hospital, since 2008.
In October, 456 daffodil bulbs were planted on land next to St Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, known as The Final Turn, for personnel who died in the Afghanistan conflict, and another bulb is expected be planted for Lance Corporal Hetherington.
Mr Walker said: “We are expecting hundreds of people to gather in Headley Way for the repatriation.
“There will be about 15 standard bearers on the side of the route and it will be a fitting tribute to this young soldier who died.
“People will also gather at the Memorial Garden in Brize Norton and along the roadside and on flyovers on the repatriation route.”
Jim Lewendon, president of the Oxford City branch of the Royal British Legion, said he and fellow members would pay their respects.
He added: "It’s tragic that such a young soldier has died in Iraq and I do hope members of the public will join us."
Oxfordshire County Council said the cortege was expected to pass the Memorial Garden between 3.30pm and 4pm, reaching the John Radcliffe Hospital between 4.30pm and 5pm, although the times could change on the day.
Lieutenant Colonel Rob Singleton, Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, said: "Lance Corporal Scott Hetherington was a superb soldier and a first-class leader.
"Utterly professional and talented, he was full of character, fun and his enthusiasm was infectious.
"The Battalion has lost a huge talent and a real character. He will be missed dearly and we will never forget him.
"Our hearts go out to his parents, his siblings, his girlfriend and his young daughter.
" They are in all of our thoughts."