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Comrades mourn ‘first-class soldier’
COLLEAGUES from two Army regiments bore the coffin of murdered soldier Michael Foley at his funeral yesterday.
Representing 4 Logistic Support Regiment, based at Dalton Barracks in Abingdon, and the Adjutant General’s Corps, six soldiers carried the 25-year-old father-of-three to his final resting place at Didcot Cemetery and then stood aside as his grief-stricken widow Sophie and mother Debbie said their last goodbyes.
About 150 people attended Lance Corporal Foley’s funeral, watching as 12 soldiers fired three volleys in salute and the Last Post was sounded.
L Cpl Foley and Sgt Luke Taylor were shot dead by a rogue Afghan soldier outside the main entrance to the British base at Lashkar Gar, in Helmand province, just over three weeks ago.
He served with 3 and 4 Logistic Support Regiments in Abingdon between 2004 and 2008 before joining the Adjutant General’s Corps.
His widow Sophie, who is from Didcot, was handed his hat and medals, a wreath and the Union Flag that had covered his coffin by friend L Cpl Mark Buckley.
Relatives and friends then laid flowers before his widow threw the first handful of soil over his coffin.
Floral tributes left in the cemetery spelled the words ‘Daddy’, ‘Husband’, and ‘Son’.
The couple’s three sons – Calum, three, Warren, two, and Jake, nine months – were not at the funeral.
A service was held at Didcot’s English Martyrs Roman Catholic Church before the ceremony at the Kynaston Road graveyard.
Songs played at the church included Dance with my Father Again by Luther Vandross, a tribute from his sons.
L Cpl Foley, who originally came from Burnley, had been serving in Afghanistan since September.
His wife and children were living in married quarters in Germany.
Brigadier Paul Burns, director of staff and personnel support of the Adjutant General’s Corps, paid tribute to L Cpl Foley after the funeral. He said: “He had a great character and a really positive approach to what he did.
“He was very much an asset in this branch. He is a great loss.
“In the British Army, in addition to doing your job to the best of your ability in difficult circumstances, you need someone with a bit of banter and a great sense of humour.
“And he was exactly that. The character he had would bring a laugh to people’s faces at difficult times. He was what you want in a person. He was the complete package.”
He added: “We have paid our farewells to a first-class soldier who gave his life protecting others.”
A reception was held at the Royal British Legion Club in Harwell after the burial.