The bodies of 16 of the 39 Vietnamese who died in a refrigerated lorry trailer in England last month have been repatriated to their homeland.

They were flown into Noi Bai airport in the capital, Hanoi, on Wednesday.

The victims were found on October 23 in the trailer attached to a Scania cab in an industrial park in Grays, Essex.

The victims were later identified as coming from various provinces of Vietnam, with the youngest being two boys aged 15.

Hoang Lanh, father of 18-year-old victim Hoáng Van Tiep, said he had been informed by a local government official that his son's remains would be brought home Wednesday, along with those of six other victims from Dien Chau district in Nghe An province, including Tiep's cousin Nguyen Van Hung.

"It's bittersweet, I can't believe I would have to welcome my son back like this," Lanh said. "I'm devastated but I am happy to have him back with us soon."

Hoáng Thi Nhiem, Tiep's sister, said her family had received her brother's body shortly before noon.

"We are very sad, but we are happy now that he has been brought back to the place where he was born to be with his family and surrounded with love from the family," she said.

"He wouldn't be able to rest in peace if he had still been in England."

Hoang Lanh, left, and Hoang Thi Ai, parents of Hoang Van Tiep Credit: ITV Anglia News

Another victim's family expressed their sadness ahead of receiving the bodies of their loved one.

"I have been sad for a month and I can't eat anything," said Nguyen Thanh Le, father of 33-year-old Nguyen Van Hung.

"My son died far away from his home and I had to wait for a long time, but today his body is coming back and tomorrow is the funeral."

A funeral altar is set up for Nguyen Van Hung, one of the 39 truck victims Credit: AP

The news website VNExpress says the bodies were transferred to ambulances to carry them to their home provinces south of Hanoi.

The 31 men and eight women are believed to have paid human traffickers to be taken to England.

A convoy of ambulances leave the Noi Bai airport Credit: AP

Several suspects have been arrested in the UK and Vietnam.

Maurice ‘Mo’ Robinson, 25, pleaded guilty to plotting to assist illegal immigration at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.