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Facebook plea brings hundreds to stranger's funeral

Hundreds attend funeral former Royal Marine James McConnell Credit: Press Association Images

Over two hundred strangers attend the funeral of former Royal Marine James McConnell after a vicar put out a plea on Facebook amid fears that he would be buried without mourners. The 70-year-old died at a care home in Southsea, Hampshire, and he did not have any close family.

A vicar put out a Facebook plea asking for mourners to attend Credit: Press Association Images
The Last Post was sounded as part of a military procession Credit: Press Association Images

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Inquest of soldier with 'infectious charisma'

Sergeant Luke Taylor, 33, of the Royal Marines, and Lance Corporal Michael Foley, 25, of the Adjutant General's Corps, were killed at the entrance to the UK headquarters in Helmand Province in March this year.

Sergeant Luke Taylor
Sergeant Luke Taylor Credit: MoD

Shortly after his death a colleague of Sergeant Luke Taylor said:

"Luke was the kind of guy you wanted next to you - regardless of the situation, he was a cool head and a source of endless banter. I never saw him fazed; he just seemed to "crack on" and many a time dragged those around with him!

"He had one of those infectious charismas, always able to talk himself out of a situation. For me, like so many, Luke was simply an inspiration. Completely dedicated and loyal to his family, you could just feel the warmth when he spoke of them."

Oh Yes We Can!

by David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

It was an annual tradition that began in the 1950s: the Royal Marines put on a pantomime at their barracks at Deal in Kent. But when they relocated to Portsmouth sixteen years ago, the Pantos stopped.

Now, former Marines still living in Deal have revived the idea - and "The Wizard Who's Odd" starts tonight. David Johns has been to see rehearsals and spoke to Wally Walters ("Royal Maureen"), Alan Upton ("Dorrity") and Brian Short (writer and director)

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Royal Marines tread the boards

by David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

An annual tradition that began in the 1950s where the Royal Marines put on a pantomime at their barracks in Deal in Kent has been revived.

When the unit relocated to Portsmouth fifteen years ago, the panto ended. But now, ex-Marines still living in Deal have re-launched the panto. David Johns has been speaking to Brian Short and Alan Upton.

Afghan death not 'friendly fire'

An initial review into the death of a Royal Marine in Afghanistan has revealed the killings was not caused by "friendly fire", the Ministry of Defence has said.

27-year-old Corporal David O'Connor, from Havant in Hampshire, was fatally injured while on patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province on Wednesday.

Corporal Channing Day, 25, who served with the 3 Medical Regiment, was also killed.

An Afghan man, who is believed to have been a member of the Afghan Uniformed Police but who was not wearing uniform at the time, also died during the incident, an MOD spokesperson confirmed.

Tributes to fallen Marine

Corporal David O'Connor was fatally injured in Helmand Province Credit: MoD

A Royal Marine who was killed in Afghanistan has been described by his commanding officer as "one of the best."

Corporal David O'Connor, of 40 Commando, after being injured on patrol with C Company in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province on Wednesday.

Cpl O'Connor, who lived in Havant, Hampshire, was deployed to Afghanistan at the end of September.

A statement released by his family said: "David's family and friends are greatly saddened by his loss and hope to be left to grieve privately."

Lieutenant Colonel Matt Jackson, Royal Marines, Commanding Officer, 40 Commando Royal Marines said Cpl O'Connor "was loved and respected by those around him and was relentless in the pursuit of excellence in his duties."

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