A SERGEANT repatriated through Wootton Bassett became the 132nd officer to receive solemn tributes from the town.

Lance Sergeant Tobie Fasfous, who was a specialist mortarman responsible for directing and controlling the mortar fire used to support friendly troops in Afghanistan, is also the first of the Welsh Guards to die in combat during the recent conflict.

The 29-year-old was taking part in a reassurance foot patrol alongside the Afghan national army in the vicinity of forward operating base Keenan, north east of Gereshk in Helmand province, when he was killed as a result of an explosion on April 28.

Hundreds of people turned out to line the streets of the 70th repatriation in Wootton Bassett yesterday as the hearse was driven through the town to the tolling of a church bell.

More than 120 people formed a delegation travelling to Wiltshire from many of the different Welsh ex-serviceman associations.

Standard-bearer Ray Gorringe, 70, the chair of the Ogmore branch, wanted to be in Wootton Bassett as Mr Fasfous of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards was from the Bridgend area – a patch covered by the branch he represents.

“It’s a fitting tribute and we are out in our numbers today,” he said.

“It’s an honour to be the standard-bearer. I’m trying to fight back the tears.”

Steve Fisher of the Welsh Guards’ Swansea association, said: “He was the first Welsh Guard to die in Afghanistan and we hope he’ll be the last.”

Wootton Bassett Mayor Mike Leighfield, said: “We will continue to turn out in our numbers as long as the boys keep coming back to us.

“We had experienced about a six-week gap since the last repatriation and had hoped it would be the last one but sadly it wasn’t.”

Royal British Legion secretary Anne Bevis calls 90 people to alert them of every repatriation, which has happened since April 2007.

“Each repatriation is as important as the last and each is just as poignant,” she said.