Manchester

Hundreds mourn Hyde soldier killed in Afghanistan

Funeral of Cpl Harvey Holmes
Image caption The funeral service was held at St Mary's Church in Hyde

Hundreds of people turned out to mourn a soldier from Greater Manchester who was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan.

Corporal Harvey Holmes, 22, of 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment, died on 2 May in Sangin, Helmand province.

He was providing protection for his patrol when he suffered fatal injuries.

People lined the streets of Cpl Holmes' home town of Hyde, as his coffin was driven through the streets, before a service at St Mary's Church.

Shops, factories and pubs emptied and traffic came to a standstill. Mourners clapped and threw red roses on top of the hearse bearing Cpl Holmes' coffin, which was draped in the Union flag.

'Generous and true'

His mother, Beverley, stepfather David, sister Elizabeth and fiancee Claire walked behind the hearse. The coffin was carried into the church by six pallbearers from his regiment.

A guard of honour of old soldiers wearing their campaign medals lined the drive to the church.

About 500 mourners were inside with hundreds more outside listening to the service played through speakers.

The Rev Richard Lamey, who led the service, said: "Some of you are here because Harvey was at the very centre of your lives, constant and generous and true. Life will never be the same now."

Mourners heard about Cpl Holmes' passion for the outdoors, and that he wanted to be a soldier from the age of six.

Joining up at 16, he was promoted twice in quick succession, serving on operations in Northern Ireland and Iraq before deploying to Afghanistan in April.

It was at Astley High School, aged 15, that he met his childhood sweetheart Claire Nugent, who gave a tearful eulogy.

She said: "Harvey and I always said we would be together forever, or forever and a day."

Major Robin Barnbrook, of 1 Mercian (Cheshire) Regiment, said Cpl Holmes was "Army to the core". He said he was "the epitome of a soldier and a sniper".

The Last Post and The Reveille were sounded and a volley of shots fired over Cpl Holmes' coffin before it was laid into the ground in the church yard.

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