Sorrow for those gone, solidarity for those who still must serve: 600 turn out to pay their respects at Halifax Minster for six soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Rev Hilary Barber lights six candles for the fallen heroes
Rev Hilary Barber lights six candles for the fallen heroes

Calderdale yesterday paid its own special tribute to the six soldiers killed in Afghanistan last week.

Six hundred people gathered at Halifax Minster for the service with six candles lit for the six dead soldiers.

They were Cpl Jake Hartley, 20; Pte Anthony Frampton, 20; Pte Christopher Kershaw, 19; Pte Daniel Wade, 20; Pte Daniel Wilford, 21, and Sgt Nigel Coupe, 33.

All except Sgt Coupe belonged to the 3rd Batallion, The Yorkshire regiment, formerly the Duke of Wellington’s.

The batallion’s colours are housed in the Minster’s chapel and were presented and displayed at the front of the 900-year-old building during the service.

Canon Hilary Barber said: “We come here now to express our sorrow, to offer our solidarity with those soldiers who died, with those who are currently serving in Afghanistan and those we know are preparing to leave these shores to serve there in April.”

Pte Wilford, Pte Frampton and Cpl Hartley came from Huddersfield and Pte Kershaw came from Bradford

Pte Wade was from Warrington, Cheshire, and Sgt Coupe was from St Annes, Lancashire.

Calderdale faith ambassador Raja Taufiq Khan, read Islamic prayers, as part of prayers from all religions of the Calderdale Interfaith Council.

He said: “As a member of the Muslim community, I offer my sincere condolences, my heartfelt grief and sorrow for the death of six soldiers who gave their lives for peace in the world.”

They were also readings from Mayor of Calderdale Nader Fekri, who read Matthew 5: 3 - 12, and Look North presenter Christa Ackroyd, who read Micha 4: 1 - 4.

Mr Barber read out First World War poet Wilfred Owen’s Anthem For Doomed Youth.

The poem examines the loss of young lives on the battlefield and includes the lines:

Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes,

Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes,

The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;

Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,

And each slow dusk, a drawing down of blinds.

At the close of the service, Mr Barber told the congregation: “Wherever these soldiers are now, it is with God. And they are at peace in everlasting love.”