The body of a Weeton Barracks-based British soldier who died in Iraq has been repatriated to the UK.
L/Cpl Scott Hetherington, 22, of 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, died following a “tragic incident” at Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, on January 2.
Scott who had been in Iraq since last month to help train Iraqi and Kurdish security forces battling ISIS, is reported to have been killed in an ‘accidental shooting’.
The Ministry of Defence said the soldier’s death was ‘not the result of enemy activity’ and said an investigation is underway, though the circumstances surrounding his death have not been confirmed.
Friends of L/Cpl Hetherington, who was from the Middleton area of Manchester, paid emotional tributes on social media sites, while thousands of pounds has been raised in his memory at the time of going to print.
The Union flag-draped coffin was flown into RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire yesterday.
L/Cpl Hetherington, nicknamed Snowball, was a member of Blenheim Company and a vehicle commander in the Force Protection Platoon.
He has been described as a “superb soldier” and “first-class leader”.
The British Army is in Iraq as part of Britain’s effort to combat Islamic State (IS) terrorists.
Hundreds of people are expected to join in a motorbike ride in honour of the fallen soldier.
He was a ‘Middleton lad who served his country with honour’, a Facebook page set up to organise the biking event, which will start at noon on Saturday, January 21, said.
Participants will ride from Rochdale Town Hall to Middleton Arena, where a book of condolence will be available to sign, the page added.
Thousands of pounds have also been raised by well-wishers.