A floral tribute near the John Radcliffe Hospital will create a permanent memorial to 456 military personnel who died in the Afghanistan conflict.

After they lost their lives they were repatriated and corteges arrived at the hospital for post mortem examinations.

On each occasion veterans gathered in Headley Way to form a guard of honour at the entrance of the hospital to pay tribute when troops were repatriated.

Today a team of volunteers planted 456 daffodil bulbs on land next to St Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, known as ‘The Final Turn’.

The flowers will bloom in spring when a ceremony will be held to unveil a plaque dedicated to the memory of those who died.

Brian Crossin, 81, a veteran of the RAF Police, who lives in Didcot, came up with the idea of the floral tribute.

After planting some King Alfred Trumpet daffodil bulbs Mr Crossin said: “I went to nearly all the repatriations and when the troops came out of Afghanistan thankfully they stopped.

“But the soldiers who were repatriated here should never be forgotten and now every spring there will be a big splash of colour to ensure they will be remembered.”

John Walker, 76, from Botley, served with the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards in the 1960s and 1970s.

He said: “The repatriations started in 2008 and the last ones happened in October last year.

“I’m delighted with the support we have received from volunteers who have helped us to plant the daffodils and from the hospital trust, which has allowed this to take place on its land.”

Chief Insp Celia Agger, of Thames Valley Police, among those planting the bulbs, said: “This will become a focal point for soldiers’ families and the local community.”

Ann Latham, 53, from Carterton, planted bulbs with husband Clive, 54, a former Bombadier in the Royal Artillery.

They are members of the Royal British Legion’s Riders Branch.

Mum-of-two Mrs Latham said: “We went to every single repat - I think this floral tribute will become a focal point and ensure these brave soldiers will never be forgotten.”

Six soldiers from 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment at Vauxhall Barracks in Didcot died in Afghanistan.

Melanie Moughton, a spokeswoman for Felix Fund charity, which supports soldiers from the base, said: “Everyone at Felix Fund and the regiment supports this lasting tribute.”

The hospital trust's facilities officer Angela Lee said: "We were delighted to be able to help the veterans and look forward to a magnificent floral display in the spring."