Widow's tribute to tragic soldier

A “fearless” Beccles soldier who died in Afghanistan will be flown back to England this week with full military honours.Lance Corporal George Davey, 23, died in a tragic accident at his barracks in Sangin in Helmand province on Sunday.

A “fearless” Beccles soldier who died in Afghanistan will be flown back to England this week with full military honours.

Lance Corporal George Davey, 23, died in a tragic accident at his barracks in Sangin in Helmand province on Sunday. Military police have been brought in by the Royal Anglian Regiment to investigate his death. The investigation is expected to take some time, but it is believed that the accident happened as he was cleaning his gun. There was no-one else present.

Yesterday his family paid tribute to a young man with “solid faith and strong principles and a loving and caring personality”.

His widow Joanna said: “My darling George, you are and always will be in my thoughts. You were the best husband anyone could want and the most brilliant daddy. You will be missed so much. I will love you always.”

His foster parents Rose and Roger Tuthill, from Beccles, brought him up from the age of 13 to 18 after a family breakdown, and have remained close ever since. They said his death had left “a big hole in our lives”.

Mr Tuthill, 67, said: “We have had the privilege, pleasure and honour of knowing George and being involved in his life since his early teens. It has been a great joy for us to see him develop into a fine young man.”

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Mrs Tuthill, 59, said: “We had our ups and downs but he came through to be a really lovely lad. We just love him to bits.”

L/Cpl Davey was born in Yarmouth but moved to Beccles aged 12, and attended Beccles Middle School and Sir John Leman High School. He met Joanna, his first girlfriend, at 18 while they were both working at McDonald's on the A146 at Gillingham, and they later had two daughters, Morgan, one, and Millie, two. He worked for Taylor Electrical in Beccles, where his colleagues yesterday remembered him as “very mature, hard working, kind and conscientious” and “a loyal and loving husband, a great family man and a good friend”. He left Taylor's to join the army in January 2004, and was building a promising career. His army superiors described him as “a pillar of strength” and “fearless in his support to colleagues” when under intense enemy fire.

His great-uncle Pete Copple, from Ipswich, said: “He was kind-hearted, nothing was too much trouble. He never did things by halves, he was a shining example to the military.”

His body will arrive at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire on Friday, draped in a union flag. It will be met by his family and a party from the Royal Anglian Regiment, including the regiment's colonel, Lt Gen John McColl. It will be borne off the aircraft by colleagues in uniform and will remain at Wiltshire for a couple of days before coming to Beccles. He will be given a military funeral at St Mary's Church in Aldeby, near Beccles, where he was married. Soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment will carry his coffin, which will be draped in a flag, but there will be no firing party.

The inquest is likely to be carried out by the Wiltshire coroner. Previously British war dead have been returned to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and inquests have been heard by the Oxfordshire coroner. But there is now a backlog of cases in Oxfordshire, and L/Cpl Davey is being brought back to Lyneham so his inquest is not delayed.

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