The bodies of five British soldiers killed in Afghanistan were saluted by veterans as they arrived in Oxford today.

Lance Sergeant David Greenhalgh, Lance Corporal Darren Hicks, Kingsman Sean Dawson, Rifleman Mark Marshall and Sapper Guy Mellors were honoured as they arrived at the John Radcliffe Hospital, in Headington, where post mortems will be carried out before their funerals.

The five hearses passed along Headley Way at the end of their journey from RAF Lyneham, in Wiltshire, where the men’s bodies had arrived on board a C-17 transport plane.

Their Union flag-draped coffins were met by their families in a brief ceremony before passing through the nearby town of Wootton Bassett en route to Oxford.

L Cpl Hicks, 29, from Mousehole, Cornwall, L Sgt Greenhalgh, 25, from Ilkeston, Derbyshire, Rifleman Marshall, 29, born in Exeter, Devon, were all killed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) detonated by Taliban militants.

Sapper Mellors, 20, from Coventry, died in an explosion while clearing bombs near Sangin.

Kingsman Dawson, born in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, died during a gunfight with insurgents in the Musa Qala area of Helmand province. An inquiry is under way amid fears he was the victim of friendly fire.

A total of 261 British service personnel have now died in Afghanistan since 2001.