Update: Body of Sgt Lee Davidson of the Norfolk-based Light Dragoons has been flown back to Britain
17:01 13 September 2012
The body of a soldier from the Light Dragoons at Swanton Morley who was killed on duty in Afghanistan has been repatriated today.
Sgt Lee Davidson, 32, died on Sunday after his Ridgeback vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb while patrolling with the Afghan Uniformed Police in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.
The father-of-two, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, was flown back into RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
A private ceremony for the family was held on the air base before the cortege left via the Britannia Gate on its way to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
The cortege was escorted at walking pace past the memorial garden in Carterton, where the Union flag was hung at half-mast and members of the public gathered.
Sgt Davidson, who leaves wife Samantha, pregnant with his daughter, and sons Jayden and Jamie, is the 427th member of UK forces to have died since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister led tributes to Sgt Davidson.
In the House of Commons yesterday, David Cameron said Sgt Davidson and and Guardsman Karl Whittle of 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards who died of wounds sustained in August, were “courageous and much respected men”.
He said: “They gave their lives in the service of our country. We remember their friends and their loved ones, and we are forever indebted to them.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband, who is MP for Sgt Davidson’s home town of Doncaster, said: “I join the Prime Minister in paying tribute to Guardsman Karl Whittle of 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards and Sergeant Lee Davidson of the Light Dragoons. Both showed the utmost courage and bravery and our thoughts are with all their family and friends.”
Villagers and military families have continued to lay flowers in memory of Sgt Davidson, a 32-year-old father of two whose wife Samantha is pregnant with their first daughter.
One message at the entrance to the Robertson Barracks read: “Dearest brave soldier, you leave behind a beautiful family who will cherish your memory always. Rest in peace with the knowledge you have made those around you eternally proud of the man serving his country. Our thoughts are with you forever.”
Another simply said: “He only takes the best Lee!! And you were one of the best. Thoughts to your family. You won’t be forgotten.”
Paying tribute to her husband on Monday, Samantha described him as her “best friend, lover and the best husband and father I could have ever have wished for”.