OXFORDSHIRE yesterday did the country proud.

The Royal British Lwegion paid the compliment yesterday to the county’s display of support for the first serviceman to be repatriated to RAF Brize Norton since 2007.

Nearly 4,000 people turned out along the route from RAF Brize Norton to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, with more than 2,500 in Carterton alone.

A dignified applause broke out as the hearse carrying Sergeant Barry Weston passed by the town’s memorial garden.

The applause spread along Norton Way and into Monahan Way, with thousands of mourners stretching almost a mile-and-a-half.

Officials said they were overwhelmed by the public’s show of support. The base officially took over the duty from RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire last Thursday.

Sgt Barry Weston, of 42 Royal Marine Commandos, was killed by a homemade bomb in Afghanistan on August 30.

The cortege carrying his body left RAF Brize Norton at about 5.40pm yesterday, passing 200 people who had gathered in Brize Norton village.

It then made its way to the memorial garden, where Royal British Legion flag bearers lined the road, and came to a stop in front of Sgt Weston’s family.

Clutching each other and wiping away tears, they laid single red and white roses on the hearse. The cortege then made its way to the A40, where many hundreds more waited to pay their respects.

Royal British Legion member Steve Radband, who looked after the family on the day, said: “Oxfordshire has done the country proud.

“Everyone who turned out should be proud of themselves.”

He described the turnout as “absolutely fantastic” and said far more people had paid their respects than he had expected.

Carterton mayor Norman MacRae said: “The ceremony was moving and respectful.

“The turnout was wonderful and I am just so glad for the family that the community here supported them in their time of need.”

Brize Norton Parish Council chairman Keith Glazier said: “It has been a sad occasion but the number of people showing their support was appreciated by all.”

Among those paying their respects at the memorial garden were families from Oxfordshire.

Leigh Morgan, 34, from Carterton, said: “I am here to show my respects and to show to the family that they are not alone at this time.”

Jamie Scarrott, 13, of Hailey, said: “He has done his duty for Queen and country, so we are here to say thank you.”

His brother, Ryan, 11, said: “I am just here to pay my respects because every one of them deserves our respect.”

Royal Marine Sergeant Barry Weston, 40, of 42 Commando, was killed by a roadside bomb while on a foot patrol in Sukmanda in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province on August 30.

He had just become a father for the third time. His family said they were “devastated” by their loss and paid tribute to a “caring, loving husband and son and a devoted father”.

Sgt Weston, who was born in Reading, leaves behind wife, Joanne, and three daughters, Jasmine, Poppy and Rose.

Known as “Baz”, he joined the Royal Marines in 1991 and served in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Iraq before volunteering to deploy to Afghanistan in May on attachment to 1 Rifles Battle Group.

The marine joined a small base called Check Point Saqra, where British troops partnered with Afghan police have battled insurgent gunmen and faced the threat of improvised explosive devices.

Lieutenant Colonel Ewen Murchison, commanding officer of 42 Commando Royal Marines, said Sgt Weston was “like a father figure” to the men in his charge.

He said: “He was selfless and courageous to the end and when his life was tragically cut short, he was leading his men in an extremely high threat area with his trademark professional dependability.

“On the cusp of promotion, he still had so much to give and we have tragically been deprived of one of our finest Royal Marines senior non-commissioned officers.”