Aaron's family prepare for his funeral

PRIVATE Aaron McClure's family was today preparing for his funeral following the return of his body from Afghanistan.The popular Ipswich teenager's devastated relatives looked on yesterday as his body was returned to British soil in a military ceremony at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire.

PRIVATE Aaron McClure's family was today preparing for his funeral following the return of his body from Afghanistan.

The popular Ipswich teenager's devastated relatives looked on yesterday as his body was returned to British soil in a military ceremony at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire.

The 19-year-old soldier died last Thursday, along with two others from the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, in a friendly fire accident when a US aircraft from RAF Lakenheath dropped a bomb on them.

The bodies of Ptes McClure, Robert Foster, 19, from Harlow, and John Thrumble, 21, from Chelmsford, were flown home yesterday afternoon.

With only a restricted number of family members allowed to watch on as the coffin arrived, it was decided that Pte McClure's mother Lorraine, his father Karl, his three brothers Lewis, Daniel and Ryan and Aaron's best friend, Gavin Baldwin, attended.

After the Hercules aircraft touched down on the runway later than planned, the coffins, each draped in a Union Jack flag, were carried to three waiting hearses.

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They were then due to be driven through Lyneham village and on to Swindon to the Wiltshire coroners, where a post-mortem will take place.

Pte McClure had been patrolling an area north-west of Kajaki, in Helmand province, when a US F15 aircraft dropped a bomb, which exploded, killing the three soldiers and wounding two others.

Speaking on the eve of the event, Pte McClure's uncle, Allan McClure, 38, of Roundwood Road, said: “It is very tense. Lorraine wanted us all to be around her at home the night before. It is going to be difficult.

“Everyone else will be coming round to my house to watch it on the television because we want to see it all together.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: “The bodies are carried off the plane in coffins by members of the regiment and they are then put into the hearses.

“They are then taken to the coroners in Wiltshire before being released to the families.”

A full military funeral is expected to be held for Private McClure, although a date has not yet been set.

An online book of condolences has been set up in memory of Private Aaron McClure at www.eveningstar.co.uk. Alternatively, you can send an e-mail to starnews@eveningstar.co.uk, or call The Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324788 or write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Aaron's best friend Gavin Baldwin wrote:

I met Aaron in the early years at Westbourne High School through a friend and ever since that day we have been best friends.

He was always telling me he wanted to join the army and what he wanted to become in the future.

He even at one stage tried to get me to join the TA centre but I never did.

Lewis, Aaron's brother, and me would always go down to meet him after TA and we would walk to the chip shop just to get free scraps.

Every minute of the day he would either be talking about the army or training up for the army.

I used to train with him but could never keep up with him.

When he was training at Catterick he would come home on almost every weekend to see his family where I spent most of my time round and we would all just speak for hours about what he had been up to.

Every time we went into town we would always go to the army shop to buy something, he would never leave without anything.

Now Aaron has gone I'm sure he is looking down on all his family making sure they are all looking after themselves and giving them signs to let them know he is still with them.

It was just the other day he gave Ryan his youngest brother and me a sign. We were sitting in Aaron's dad's car listening to music when a song was half way through and just skipped to Aaron's favourite song. I looked behind me at the back seats because it felt as if he was sitting there with us.

RIP Aaron James McClure

Won't ever forget you

Love Gav.

Aaron's brother, Lewis McClure, wrote this tribute:

Aaron was my closest brother and friend. We did a lot of things together. He was always so caring and he always put his family and friends before himself.

I respect him as a soldier, and for everything that he did, so does everybody else.

He had a great heart, very strong, and a cheeky smile, always stayed fit, never got into any trouble. And he was always polite.

On July 18, 2007, he travelled to Pirbright with me so that I could take an army selection course. And when I passed, he was so proud of me and I was so grateful for him to be there with me.

Then a few days later, he was back off to Afghanistan. He was so dedicated to the army. I will never be a soldier like he was but I will try my hardest to make him proud of me.

I can't believe that he has gone.

Now all that I have is memories and he will stay in my heart for life. Always be missing you Aaron.

I'm so proud of you.

Rest in peace, your brother Lewis.

Aaron's step-grandmother Linda McClure wrote:


You were our darling boy, who was taken away from us. The pain we felt on your passing away was like our heart was ripped out of our bodies.

Aaron we are so proud of you, you achieved your dream, but sadly for a short while, when it was taken away from you.

Grampa wrote you a poem to let you know how he felt about you, it's beautiful.

Aaron when I look up at the stars at night and I see the brightest one I know that's you up there and I know you will look after us all because you are the star that's shining so brightly in the sky above that reminds me of Aaron the grandson we love.

God bless you.

Love Gran McClure.

Tributes to Private Aaron McClure continue to flood in to The Evening Star's online book of condolences at www.eveningstar.co.uk.

Aaron was such a great friend loved by everyone. I am so pleased that we got to spend the five years at school together. He was so kind-hearted - I will miss him so much.

He did not deserve to leave us like this but he left us with so many happy memories. My thoughts are with his family and all our friends now and forever. Love you always Aaron. Rest in peace sweetheart xxx

Kelly Long, Ipswich

R.I.P Aaron James McClure. We miss you sooo much and love you too. Gone but never forgotten. Rest in peace now mate, the angels have you.

Sian Rudge, Ipswich

R.I.P. Aaron, you will never be forgotten and will be forever in our hearts. I miss you and it is going to be strange not seeing your happy face anymore.

My heart goes out to your family, Lorraine and the boys. I feel honoured to have met you and your memory will be kept alive by your family and friends. love always xxxxx

Kerri Fiddaman, Ipswich

R.I.P. Aaron. It's hard to know what to say in a situation like this, only that life has taken a very hard working young lad away from his family and friends and those who know of Aaron.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the family. It's very hard to know how to cope with a passing. It has just happened to me but we learn to deal and remember, but will never forget what we had or shared.

Lee, Ipswich

R.I.P Aaron. I seem to have lost contact with nearly everybody since school but I always remember the people that I was close too. One of them was you. We had a laugh in our lessons! Recently I was looking through my leaver's book reading all the comments you had put "Goooood Luck in the future mate & keep on smiling".

R.I.P mate and I'll keep on smiling for you! xXx

All my thoughts are with your family and friends xXx

Amy, Ipswich

To Lorraine and family, my thoughts are with you. Aaron was a very brave young man, well loved and clearly touched lots of lives. Be very proud and remember him with love. He is someone to be looked up to and always remembered with a smile. Stay strong xxx

Joanne Moss (Scopes), Stowmarket

I give a little thought, I cry a silent tear, for a life has been taken, a mother's worst fear!

My heart goes out to the family of Aaron James McClure. Rest in peace Private.

You haven't got to fight anymore. If I could have one wish, it would be to ask God why?

And so your loved ones could see you again, to give you a hug and say goodbye!

Everything happens for a reason, but God's made a mistake,

He shouldn't have taken you, So please just rise and wake!!

I'm not going to pretend to know, what you must be going through,

This is simply just a poem, because I'm thinking of you!

RIP Aaron, such a great loss of someone so special... sorry to Lorraine, Karl and the boys, I really can not begin to imagine what you all must be going through!!

My thoughts are with you at such a devastating time!! Just keep strong for each other, Aaron is with you in a way that you can treasure…in your memories, mind and your hearts! with deepest sympathy, xXx

Sian Porter, Ipswich