Five Wiltshire-based soldiers killed in Afghanistan were all aged under 21, it was revealed today. The soldiers were named as Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Private Anthony Frampton, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 20, Private Daniel Wade, 20, and Private Daniel Wilford, 21, by the Ministry of Defence.
The soldiers from 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, based in Warminster, were killed alongside Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, when the armoured vehicle they were travelling in was caught in an explosion.
Books of condolence have been opened in St Lawrence Church in the town and floral tributes continue to grow outside Battlesbury Barracks, where the men were based.
Locals described the news of the untimely deaths as ‘heartbreaking’. Among those laying tributes outside the barracks was Amy Hawley and her three-year-old daughter, Lucie. Her brother-in-law is due to go to Afghanistan in three weeks.
– Amy Hawley
My father works in the camp and he said how shocked everyone was, how sad it was and how it's hit all the lads due to go out. It's just shaken everyone up. The reality of it just hits everyone. It's just so, so harsh that six young lads, everything in front of them - just gone in one day. It's just absolutely awful.
The headteacher at Royds Hall High School, Melanie Williams, paid tribute to Pte Frampton, who she described as memorable young man with a strong character and a real sense of humour.
– Headteacher at Royds Hall High School, Melanie Williams
Friendly and polite, he was also caring andcompassionate towards other students. Anthony will always be remembered by the school community with pride and we extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.
He left the school in 2007, before joiningthe Army.
Despite the deaths, the head of the Armed Forces, General Sir David Richards, insisted Britain's military strategy in Afghanistan will not change. He vowed the country would "hold its nerve" and continue combat operations in the region until the end of 2014.
The latest deaths bring the total number of UK service personnel killed in Afghanistansince 2001 to 404.
War Widow Kirianne Curley has described her 'horror' of the deaths. Her husband Corporal Stephen Curley from 40 Commando Royal Marines was killed in Afghanistan in May 2010.
Our reporter Rob Murphy is in Warminster today and will deliver all the latest updates on The Westcountry Tonight at 6pm. You can follow him on Twitter @RobMurphyitv