A TERRITORIAL Army soldier who was killed in a bomb blast in Afghanistan was described as “the epitome of the modern volunteer soldier” at his South Yorkshire funeral today.
Mourners packed All Saints Church in Darton, near Barnsley, to pay their respects to Private Matthew Thornton, from 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, who died 48 hours before Remembrance Day.
FOR FULL REPORT AND PHOTOS SEE THE STAR TOMORROW.
Pte Thornton, who had re-enlisted in the TA to serve in Afghanistan, was killed in a bomb blast on November 9.
Hundreds of people ringed the churchyard, standing in silence as the coffin was carried through a guard of honour.
His father and mother, Michael and Susan, comforted each other as they followed the coffin, which was draped with a Union Flag and had his Army cap and belt on top.
Dozens of family members followed the them into the small village church.
Inside, Lieutenant Colonel Ian Crowley, commanding officer, 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, said: “For me he was the epitome of the modern volunteer soldier - professional, fit, enthusiastic and ready to party after working hard.”
A keen snowboarder, Pte Thornton joined the Territorial Army in 2004. He left in 2007 but re-enlisted in 2009, volunteering his services for deployment to Afghanistan.
Away from the Amy, he worked for Yorkshire-based company Premdor, manufacturing door and window frames.
Pte Thornton was patrolling with a small group of soldiers when they were caught in an attack involving small arms fire and grenades. As Pte Thornton responded he was caught in a bomb blast and died.