FRIENDS, ex-servicemen and residents stood in silence today to honour a Didcot-based bomb disposal expert killed in Afghanistan.

Capt Daniel Read, of 11 Explosive Ordnance Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps, based at Vauxhall Barracks, was killed in a bomb blast last Monday.

The 31-year-old died just weeks after he returned to the front line after recovering from injuries suffered in a blast which killed a military policeman.

About 150 people, including Royal British Legion standard bearers, paid tribute by lining Headley Way, in Headington, as Capt Read’s body was taken to Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital for its post-mortem.

The cortege also included the bodies of Cpl Lee Brownson, 30, and Rifleman Luke Farmer, 19, of 3rd Battalion, the Rifles, both killed in a blast in Helmand province last Friday.

Friends of Capt Read, Mandy Jarvis, 34, Megan Warne, 19, and Shaun Fellowes, 37, travelled to the ceremony from Cornwall.

Mrs Jarvis said: “It’s a fantastic tribute to our hero.

“We thought it was just at Wootton Bassett where this happened. Thanks to everyone who has come out to show their respects.

“Dan was a lovely guy. He was such fun and was a real gentleman.

“Me and Megan played football with his wife Lorraine and we all became friends. We’ve been devastated and can’t comprehend how the family must feel.

“I’ve spoken to Lorraine and she's extremely upset.”

Capt Read defused 32 roadside bombs during his tours of duty in Afghanistan.

He was injured by a blast in October but was back with his soldiers by December.

The cortege passed by silent and respectful mourners at about 3.30pm and Royal British Legion standard bearers lowered their flags as the three cars passed by with a police escort.

Linda Strange, 67, from Headington, has missed only one repatriation ceremony at the hospital.

She said: “I missed last week, because I’d had a fall on the ice and I was upset about that. I want to pay my respects to these young boys.

"I feel we should have more people from the city turn out here, because the majority of us are the same ones here every time. I get very emotional when I see the cars.”

Veterans from the Royal Marines, the Parachute Regiment, Canal Zone Veterans from the Suez conflict, the RAF Police, the Military Police, the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and the Royal Dragoon Guards were among those represented at the repatriation.

Pensioner John Walker, of the Royal Dragoon Guards Association, said: “We call this the final turn and it means a lot to people to be here.

“I’m pleasantly surprised how many people come out.”

Headington councillor Mohammed Altaf-Khan said: “I come to show solidarity with the families who have lost their loved ones.”

  • The death of Capt Read is the latest tragedy to hit the Didcot-based 11 Explosive Ordnance Regiment.

Staff Sgt Olaf Schmid died trying to disarm an explosive device on the final day of a five-month tour of Afghanistan in November last year.

Capt Dan Shepherd died following an explosion on July 20 last year, as he tried to clear a route in the Nad-e-Ali District.

Warrant Officer Gary O’Donnell, 40, died from blast wounds in September 2008, when a device he was trying to defuse exploded at Musa Qala, in Helmand province.