OXFORD has thanked scores of people who turn out to salute fallen service personnel killed in Afghanistan when their bodies are repatriated to the UK.

Tonight more than 200 people were recognised at a special ceremony held at Oxford Town Hall.

The reception was held as a thank you for people who line the streets leading to the John Radcliffe Hospital, in Headington, when corteges carrying the servicemen’s bodies arrive in Oxford.

Members of the Royal British Legion who lower their standards in salute as the corteges go past, police officers who escort the corteges and members of the public who turn out to pay their respects were all invited to the event, which was organised by Lord Lord Mayor Mary Clarkson.

She said: “I have attended several repatriations myself. I thought it would be nice to show our appreciation as a city for everything that the RBL and police do to make sure the repatriations run smoothly.”

Kidlington pensioner Roger Coppock, a member of the Coldstream Guards’ Association, has turned out in Headley Way more than 60 times for repatriation events.

He said: “As an ex-serviceman, I appreciate what our soldiers have done.

“When the troops complete their tours, they come home and have a parade, but these guys don’t have that. I like to think our turnouts are their welcome home.”

  • Four soldiers killed in Afghanistan will be repatriated to Oxford on Thursday.

The cortege is expected to arrive in Hedley Way, Headington, at about 3pm.

The servicemen are Sgt Paul Fox, 34, of 28 Engineer Regiment; Rifleman Martin Kinggett, 19, and Rifleman Carlo Apolis, 28, both of 4th Battalion, the Rifles; and SAC Luke Southgate, 20, of the RAF Regiment.