AS THE sun began to set over Headley Way, crowds fell silent to mark the passing of four soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

About 250 people lined roads close to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital as a cortege containing the bodies of Lance Corporal Peter Eustace, of 2 Rifles, Lieutenant David Boyce and Lance Corporal Richard Scanlon, both of 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards, and Private Thomas Lake of 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.

Nineteen standard bearers from the Royal British Legion stood in the middle of the road and dipped their flags as the hearses passed, on their way to the hospital for post-mortem examinations.

The crowd included veterans, community leaders and members of the public there to pay their respects.

Among those in attendance were Carolyn Wright, 70, and her daughter Sarah Deeley, 44, from Bicester.

Mrs Wright’s son, Lt Col Bill Wright, is leading 2 Rifles in Afghanistan – the regiment which L Cpl Eustace belonged to.

Mrs Wright said: “I think it’s wonderful how many people turn out all along the way and that everyone feels so strongly about it.”

Ms Deeley said: “We want to support my brother.

“I know he’s grateful for the fact he knows there’s somebody paying respect and showing support to all the families and soldiers.”

Linda Booker, 54, from Blackbird Leys, was at her third repatriation.

She said: “It’s just awful, it’s so sad that four people lost their lives for their country in just a few days.”

Veteran Roy Johnson, 84, from Cowley, is grieving himself after recently losing his wife, but felt it was important to pay his respects.

He said: “This does upset me but it’s for a good cause. The mood is very solemn.”

Mick Townsend, 56, from Carterton, is the principal county recruiting officer for the Royal British Legion.

He said: “I think it’s a terrible shame. I’ve been in active service and I’ve come back, a lot of the other veterans here are the same.

“We feel sorry for those who have lost their lives and for their families.”

Headington Royal British Legion standard bearer Bernard Robinson, 63, said it was important to show respects regardless of your opinion on the politics involved.

He said: “We may not agree why they’re out there but we have to support them.

“I come here to pay my respects and to remember.”

Mr Robinson was in the Territorial Army for 26 years.