A soldier shot while attached to Ripon’s 21 Engineers in Afghanistan was said to be an “amazing soldier and a great friend” during a military funeral yesterday.
Leeds-born Sapper Richard Walker, described as a devoted father, was serving with 28 Engineer Regiment attached to the 21 Engineers on his first deployment to the country.
The 23-year-old, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, was working on a construction task when an Afghan soldier turned his weapon on him and other soldiers earlier this month.
The service, which lasted just under an hour, was attended by his grieving family and friends as well as many ex-service men and women.
Paying tribute to Sapper Walker, Lieutenant Colonel Chas Story, Commanding Officer, 28 Engineer Regiment, said: “He was an amazing soldier, someone who worked hard and was a great friend and put his friends above everyone else.
“He did everything for everyone else and he loved his job and we just can’t believe that he’s gone.
“He was so happy and so good on operations and he was making a real difference.”
The funeral took place in Our Blessed Lady Immaculate Church in Washington Village before Spr Walker was laid to rest at Catterick Garrison.
His family, who were wearing red ribbons made by his mother, said he held two things close to his heart - his daughter Lilly-Faith and his colleagues in the army.
Lt Col Story also said their colleagues in the Afghan National Army were just as upset about their loss.
“It’s always hard, but we know it can sometimes happen and we know we have a job that we have to get on and do, “ he said.
“We know we’re so close to finishing the job, we just need to keep going and make sure his sacrifice was not in vain.
“The Afghan soldiers are absolutely as gutted as we are. They are gutted when one of our men dies.”