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Bishop and Warminster Church support Yorkshire soldiers

by Jonathan Ball last modified 15 Mar, 2012 06:14 PM

The Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, will lead prayers and give a blessing on Friday 16 March at a pre-deployment and remembrance service for 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, as its soldiers prepare to leave for a 7 month operational tour in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

The service will take place at St Denys’ Church Warminster at 11am, and will be presided over by the Rector Harvey Gibbons, and the Battalion Chaplain John Duncan, who will give the address.

What had been planned as a pre-deployment service for the bulk of the Battalion, based at Battlesbury Barracks, will now include an act of remembrance following the deaths in Afghanistan last week of six soldiers from the unit’s Corunna Company.

Sergeant Nigel Coupe (of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment), Corporal Jake Hartley, Private Anthony Frampton, Private Christopher Kershaw, Private Daniel Wade and Private Daniel Wilford all died when their Warrior armoured fighting vehicle struck a suspected improvised explosive device on Tuesday 6 March.

Corunna Company had already deployed to Afghanistan, whilst the remainder of the Battalion is due to depart over the next week for a tour of duty which will end in October.

3 YORKS comprises some 600 soldiers based in Warminster with approximately 150 families. The Battalion recruits from West Yorkshire, where the remaining families live.

Harvey Gibbons, the Rector of St Denys’ Minster held a special evening prayer service last week on the day the deaths were announced, and has planned today’s service with the Battalion’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Zac Stenning.

The service will include the lighting of a lantern by the Mayor of Warminster which will burn as a sign of hope and peace until the Battalion returns home In October.

Mr Gibbons said today, “The soldiers together with their families and loved ones at home can be assured of our prayers and practical support during their deployment.

He continued, “The people of Warminster are proud of their association with the Battalion who will continue to be very much a part of our community despite being so far away geographically. We hope and pray for their safe and speedy return.”

Bishop Holtam added, “Soldiers and their families are an integral part of the life of Wiltshire, and so the deaths of the 6 members of Corunna Company are keenly felt not only in Warminster but throughout the county.

He concluded, “It is our privilege to offer our prayers for 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment as they begin their tour, and pledge our support for them and their families until they return and indeed beyond.”


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