Swindon AdvertiserTears and kisses at Swindon-born soldier’s sad return to Brize Norton (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Tears and kisses at Swindon-born soldier’s sad return to Brize Norton

Swindon Advertiser: The repatriation ceremony of Cpl Channing Day The repatriation ceremony of Cpl Channing Day

THE tearful family of the third British servicewoman to be killed in Afghanistan stood alongside the loved ones of a Royal Marine as their bodies were repatriated to the UK today.

Corporal Channing Day, who was born in Swindon, and who served with the 3 Medical Regiment, died alongside Corporal David O’Connor, of 40 Commando, after being injured on patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province last Wednesday.

Kevin Baines, who served with Cpl Day in Iraq and Germany, supported her friends as they wept at the roadside while watching the cortege of hearses approach them.

He said afterwards that Cpl Day was a “really good girl” who could always put a smile on your face.

The bodies of Cpl Day and Cpl O’Connor were earlier flown into RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, where the Union flag-draped coffins were carried from the plane with full military honours.

Following private services, the two families arrived at the memorial garden in Carterton where they stood in silence, along with more than 200 friends and well-wishers.

The hearses paused briefly next to a Union flag hung at half mast to allow family members and friends to step forward and place flowers on top of the cars.

Members of Cpl Day’s family placed their hands against the glass and wept, with disbelief written on their faces. One kissed the glass of the window.

Mr Baines, a former private in the Army, said of Cpl Day: “I’ll just remember her smile and that, and the way she would always put a smile on your face even when things were bad.

“She wasn’t afraid to muck in, she’d play football, she was hard working, diligent, just all round, she was a really good girl.”

Cpl Day, 25, and Cpl O’Connor, 27, were overseeing the training of Afghan local police when their patrol came under fire near the village of Char Kutsa. They were fatally injured during the firefight.

Although born in Swindon, Cpl Day grew up in Newtownards, Co Down, before joining the Army in 2005.

She is survived by her parents Leslie and Rosemary Day, her sisters Lauren and Laken, and brother Aaron.

In a statement her family said: “Channing was bubbly, sporty, beautiful and lived her life for the Army. She has died doing what she lived for and in the life that she loved.”

The number of members of UK forces to have died since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001 now stands at 435.

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