Two soldiers killed in Afghanistan - including the most senior British officer to be killed since the Falklands War - will return to British soil today.

Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, from Kirtlington - the commanding officer of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, was killed in a blast which hit his Viking armoured vehicle near Lashkar Gah in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, on Wednesday.

Trooper Joshua Hammond, 18, of 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, also died in the explosion.

Both men will return to RAF Lyneham, in Wiltshire, late this morning.

As has become tradition, coffins carrying their bodies will pass through the nearby town of Wootton Bassett, pausing at the war memorial, before heading on to Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital for post-mortem examination.

Hundreds of British Legion veterans, shopkeepers and residents are expected to once again line the streets to pay their respects as the fallen men's cortege passes through.

Tributes to Lt Col Thorneloe and Trooper Hammond flooded in from the highest levels following his death last week.

The Prince of Wales spoke of the "heartbreaking" death, while Gordon Brown said he knew and "admired" him.