Funeral held for Bristol soldier Karl Whittle
FAMILY, friends and comrades gathered at a Bristol church to honour a young soldier from the city who died after being shot by insurgents in Afghanistan.
Grenadier Guardsman Karl Whittle, 22, from St Werburgh's, died in hospital in the UK on September 7. He left behind fiancee Zoe Salim, 19, a nine-month-old daughter Grace, his mother Julie Cogzell and sister Leanne Whittle.
Guardsman Whittle was given a funeral with full military honours yesterday, at Holy Trinity Church in Stapleton. It was the second funeral to be held in the city for a soldier who died from wounds sustained in Afghanistan.
Fellow Grenadier Guardsmen dressed in full regimental red and gold uniform carried the Union Flag-draped coffin containing their fallen comrade into the church.
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It was topped with Guardsman Whittle's forage cap and his white leather buff belt.
Members of his family followed behind accompanied by Bristol's lord mayor Peter Main and Lord Lieutenant Mary Prior, as three standards were raised.
The band of the Welsh Guards then played as around 300 mourners filed into the church.
The Rev Stephen Pullin and Military Padre Judith Harries led the hour-long service, which included the hymns I Will Sing the Wondrous Story, The Lord's My Shepherd and Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.
A Bible reading from Ecclesiastes 3 verses 1-8 was read by Lieutenant colonel James Bowder, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.
A minute's silence was held, and a bugler played The Last Post. The national anthem was also sung.
Speaking before the service, Captain Steve Munro said: "Karl Whittle was severely injured in an attack in Helmand Province. Despite a valiant fight, he succumbed to his injuries on September 7.
"He leaves behind his fiancee Zoe and daughter Grace, as well as his mother Julie Cogzell and her partner Zack."
Mr Main told the Post: "Karl was a son of Bristol who gave up his life for his country.
"It's only fitting that the Lord Lieutenant and myself should be here to represent the people of Bristol in saying how proud we are of him."
Keith Jones, vice president of the Bristol branch of the Grenadier Guards Association, was one of those to raise a standard at the funeral.
"It's extremely sad that another young life has been lost, especially because the regiment is now coming home from its third tour of Afghanistan," he said.
Raised in Bristol, Guardsman Whittle was a member of The Queen's Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards and was described as "one of the best" by his comrades.
He joined the Army in 2009 and had been deployed in Afghanistan since April.
He died at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, from gunshot wounds sustained during an attack by insurgents on the checkpoint he was manning in the Nahr-e Saraj District of Helmand Province on August 14.
The funeral was followed by a private family service at South Bristol Crematorium, then a wake in Bedminster.
Guardsman Whittle died the day after the funeral of Lieutenant Andrew Chesterman, from Stoke Bishop, which was held at Bristol Cathedral.
The 26-year-old officer was the first Bristol soldier to be killed while serving in Afghanistan. He was shot by insurgents on August 9, after a vehicle struck a roadside bomb.