Funeral for Wakefield soldier killed in rescue bid

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The funeral has taken place of a 23-year-old soldier from West Yorkshire who was killed as he tried to rescue a comrade in Afghanistan.

Cpl Matthew Stenton, from Wakefield, was killed alongside a colleague after a fellow serviceman was shot in the Lashkar Gah district on 21 July.

The North Yorkshire-based soldier, who served in the Royal Dragoon Guards, was described as an "inspiration".

His funeral took place at Garrison Memorial Church in Catterick.

A flag outside the church was flown at half-mast.

After the service a committal took place at nearby Hipswell Military Cemetery.

More than 300 mourners packed the church to pay tribute to the "brilliant lad".

He was born and raised in Wakefield and attended Wakefield Cathedral High School.

Sporting prowess

He joined the Army after leaving school and had completed two operational tours of Iraq.

Mourners heard about his sporting prowess, especially swimming, and his love of radio-controlled model helicopters and cars.

Image caption,
Cpl Matthew Stenton joined the Army after leaving school

They were also told about his sense of humour and that he "loved a laugh".

"If he was here today, he would still find something funny to say," Padre John McGregor told the mourners.

"Matthew was proud to be a soldier and he believed he was in Iraq and then Afghanistan to try to make this world a better place for you, and for me and for the entire human race."

Cpl Stenton's colleague, L/Cpl Stephen Monkhouse, 28, of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards, was killed in the same incident as he joined Cpl Stenton in the rescue bid.

During the fight, Cpl Stenton manoeuvred a Viking armoured vehicle to help remove the wounded soldier, while L/Cpl Monkhouse, the gunner of a Coyote vehicle, provided support. But the two were killed in ensuing gunfire.

Speaking at the time of his death, his family said: "Matthew died how he lived his life, surrounded by his friends.

"We are so proud of Matthew and it comes as no surprise to us to hear that he died whilst trying to help one of his fellow comrades."

Maj Denis James, Officer Commanding D (The Green Horse) Squadron, The Viking Group, said Cpl Stenton was an "uncomplicated man and the kindest of friends; he was also a hard, tenacious soldier who always fought for what he believed in".

He leaves behind his father and stepmother, Michael and Gillian, and his sister, Charlotte.

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