Soldiers from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment repatriated to the UK

Sergeant Gareth Thursby and Private Thomas Wroe, both of 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, were shot on Saturday. Credit: MoD/PA Wire

The family and friends of two Yorkshire soldiers killed by a rogue Afghan policeman will gather in Oxfordshire today as the bodies are flown home.

Sergeant Gareth Thursby 29, Private Thomas Wroe, 18, of 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, were shot by a rogue Afghan local policeman on Saturday.

There will be private ceremonies for their families at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, before the cortege leaves on its way to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

Married father-of-two Sgt Thursby, 29, and Pte Wroe, 18, were shot dead in the south of Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province.

The men were killed at a checkpoint when a man dressed as a local Afghan policeman pretended to be injured so they would help him.

Sgt Thursby from Skipton, North Yorkshire, is survived by his wife Louise and two children, Joshua and Ruby.

His wife said: "Gareth was the love of my life. He was an amazing husband and father, happy, full of life and kind-hearted, with a passion for his work and family.

"He was brave, hard working, a loving husband who was a devoted father to his children. Our hero."

Pte Wroe was deployed to Afghanistan on July 1, shortly after his 18th birthday.

He leaves his parents, Michael and Claire, and sister Demi, from Holmfirth, West Yorkshire.

His family said in a statement: "Our son Thomas was a brave young soldier, who is loved by his family, girlfriend and friends.

"We can't believe you have been taken so soon from us. You will always be in our hearts for ever and ever."

The Ministry of Defence said an investigation was under way into the circumstances of the soldiers' deaths.

The shooting happened just a day after L/Cpl Groom was also killed during a bloody few days in the war-torn country.

The 32-year-old, who was born in Suva City, Fiji, was protecting his Afghan and British colleagues as they extracted from a successful operation when he was killed in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.

Lieutenant Colonel James Bowder, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said: "Lance Corporal Groom was an outstanding soldier in every respect.

"Tough, keen, and unflappable, he was utterly committed to his fellows and the cause.

"We are all tremendously proud of what he achieved during his time in the regiment, and particularly out here in Afghanistan where he contributed so much."

The number of members of UK forces to have died since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001 now stands at 430.