THE body of a soldier from Swindon who was killed in a fire fight in Afghanistan is due to be repatriated to the UK this afternoon.
Cpl Channing Day, 25, from 3 Medical Regiment, and Cpl David O’Connor, 27, from 40 Commando Royal Marines, were killed last Wednesday. They were on their way to conduct training with Afghan Local Police in Helmand Province when they came under small arms fire.
They will be repatriated to RAF Brize Norton where hundreds are expected to line the route to pay their respects.
Cpl Day was born in Swindon and grew up in Newtownards, County Down, Northern Ireland, before joining the Army in 2005. A veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, she was deployed on October 2 as a combat medic and provided medical support to 40 Commando Royal Marines.
She played football for Northern Ireland, was the country’s gymnastics pairs champion, played ice hockey and was a qualified ski instructor.
Her family said: “Channing was bubbly, sporty, beautiful and lived her life for the Army. She died doing what she lived for and in the life she loved.
“She will be remembered by all who knew her as a wonderful girl who never stopped smiling and who had an infectious laugh.”
She leaves parents Leslie and Rosemary, sisters, Lauren and Laken, and brother Aaron.
Lt Col Phillip de Rouffignac, commanding officer of 3 Medical Regiment, said: “Cpl Channing Day was a star for the future. Diligent in every respect of her preparation, she had worked hard all the way through the build-up training and led by example in all that she did.”
Sgt Karl Hinton, of 3 Medical Regiment, said: “Channing was a great medic and deeply cared about the lads’ welfare . She was a perfect example of the Royal Army Medical Corps’ ethos.”
Swindon mayor Mick Bray who served more than 30 years in the Royal Air Force Branch, said: “I would wish to convey the whole sympathy of the people of Swindon to her parents and her loved ones. It’s a great loss, not just to the country but more so to our own town when we have people like this who are prepared to go out and do this duty and get killed.”
Cpl O’Connor, of Havant in Hampshire, joined the Royal Marines in May 2002 and was deployed Afghanistan on September 29. He was awarded a Commander Joint Operations’ Commendation for his steadfast dedication and bravery in 2009.