Leeds & West Yorkshire

Archbishop Dr John Sentamu to meet 3 Yorks troop families

Clockwise from top left: Pte Wade, Pte Wilford, Pte Frampton, Pte Kershaw, Cpl Hartley and Sgt Coupe
Image caption The six were killed when an improvised explosive device detonated in Afghanistan

The Archbishop of York has said he wants to meet the families of the Yorkshire soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday.

Dr John Sentamu told BBC Look North he wanted to support the families "of the brave, the best troops".

Ceremonies of remembrance are due to be held across the county to mark the lives of six soldiers, five from 3 Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment.

They died when a bomb exploded under their vehicle in Helmand province.

Dr Sentamu said: "My first priority is to meet the families and find out that now this has happened are there things we as the people of Yorkshire, not the government, we the people of Yorkshire can do to support you?

"They [troops] are very well-trained and are willing to do the final sacrifice.

"And those five have just done it and all of us have to say you are brave, you are tough, you are the best."

Halifax Minster service

In Halifax a service of remembrance is to be held at the spiritual home of 3 Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, at the Minster to mark their deaths.

Five members of 3 Yorks and one from The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, were killed when their Warrior armoured vehicle was blown up.

The service will be held at at 16:00 GMT on Sunday and will replace the planned Evensong.

Image caption Dr Sentamu said he wants to meet the soldiers' families

A Minster spokeswoman said the service would be led by Canon Hilary Baker.

Cpl Jake Hartley, 20, Pte Anthony Frampton, 20, and Pte Christopher Kershaw, 19, died in the blast.

Pte Daniel Wade, 20, Pte Daniel Wilford, 21, and Sgt Nigel Coupe, 33, were also killed in the blast in Helmand Province.

The colours of The Yorkshire Regiment hang in Halifax Minster, where a book of condolence was opened on Thursday.

The order of service is still being finalised, but the Mayor of Calderdale, Councillor Nader Fekri, and BBC Look North presenter Christa Ackroyd are expected to give readings.

In Bradford a minute-long silence will be held for Pte Kershaw at St Paul's in Buttershaw on Sunday and the troops will be remembered in services across the Bradford district.

Rugby League fan Pte Kershaw, from Bradford, had already told his company commander about his leadership ambitions.

Soldier's ambition

Major Edward Colver said: "He showed immediate promise and regularly briefed me on his ambition to be a Section Commander and desire to complete a Junior Non-Commissioned Officers Cadre as soon as possible.

"I got the feeling he would have stopped at nothing to get where he wanted to be.

"Never shy of doing the hard yards and always willing to take on extra responsibility, he quickly became a valuable member of the team."

Cpl Hartley, from Huddersfield, would have been 21 on Saturday.

Maj Colver said: "Corporal Hartley was quite simply one of the best non-commissioned officers I have ever had the privilege of working with."

On Saturday Holmfirth Parish Church was open until 16:00 GMT for private reflection and prayers.

A minute's silence was held before Huddersfield Town and Bradford City's home matches on Saturday.

On Sunday, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats will observe a minute's silence before their game against Huddersfield Giants.

Huddersfield Parish Church opened until 19:00 GMT on Saturday so people can sign a book of condolence. Prayers were held at the morning services at 08:00 GMT and 10:00 GMT.

Another eight churches across the Holme Valley will also be open for prayers on Sunday.

The Defence Secretary met troops on Friday from the same regiment as five of the six men who died in the attack in Afghanistan.

Philip Hammond offered his condolences to soldiers from 3 Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment as they prepared for deployment at Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.

He told BBC News: "Well obviously today is an opportunity for me to express directly to the men of 3 Yorks my condolences at the terrible events of earlier this week.

"I was also to able to hear from them how they feel about the mission ahead of them, and crucially, how the families are holding up back home."

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