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Tributes to Scottish soldier killed in Afghanistan as his body returned to UK

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A Scottish soldier shot dead by a rogue member of the Afghan army during a football match on Remembrance Day was described as a “soldiers’ soldier” as he was repatriated to the UK.

The 41-year-old has been hailed as a “great man” by his wife, Sonia. He also leaves his 15-year-old son, Callum. Nation was shocked as news of the killing first came after the Queen led the nation in honouring the fallen, as the country fell silent to remember its war dead.

Capt Barrie’s wife said in statement: “Captain Walter Barrie was a great man, a doting and amazing father and a fantastic husband. He was much loved and will be missed by many.”

Captain Barrie’s body was flown into RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, where the Union Flag-draped coffin was carried from the plane with full military honours.

A private service was held on the base for his family who were too upset to attend a ceremony held shortly afterwards at the memorial garden on the outskirts of Carterton.

Members of the public and the Royal British Legion joined Capt Barrie’s colleagues from the Royal Regiment of Scotland who stood in silence while a bell began to toll as the cortege approached them on its way to Oxford.

As the cortege pulled away there was a round of applause from members of the public who came to pay their respects to Captain Barrie.

Major Jimmy Law, of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, said he had known Capt Barrie for over 20 years.

He said: “Walter Barrie was professional, diligent and more importantly, he was just a brilliant bloke, with a great family.

“He loved his Glasgow Rangers Football Club, and he was really like a soldiers’ soldier.

“All the blokes respected him and he really added a great deal of value every day, he was just 100% professional.”

Major Law added that while only a small contingent could make the repatriation today he expects hundreds of people to turn up to pay their respects when Capt Barrie is laid to rest in Scotland.

Mentor

Capt Barrie, of The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, had been mentoring and advising a brigade of the ANA so they could take over security in an area of southern Afghanistan in future.

The “green-on-blue” death brings the number of British servicemen killed by Afghan soldiers or police to 14 this year, compared to one in 2011, three in 2010, and five in 2009.

At least 54 international troops have died as a result of such attacks, where Afghans turn their weapons on their coalition colleagues.

Capt Barrie had served for 25 years, including tours of Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan in 2008.

He was deployed to Afghanistan on August 31 and was described by the Ministry of Defence as an “approachable and compassionate officer” who cared deeply for the wellbeing of those around him.

His death takes the total number of UK service members to have lost their lives since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001 to 438.

 
 
 

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