Prayers for devoted dog at funeral of soldier killed in Afghanistan

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MOURNERS at the funeral of a Scots soldier killed in Afghanistan will say a prayer in memory of the dog that died with him, it emerged today (Thu).

The funeral of Lance Corporal Liam Tasker, will be will be held at Tayport Parish Church, Fife, on Tuesday.

Liam, 26, from Kirkcaldy, Fife, was killed by Taleban gunfire on March 1.

His dog, springer spaniel Theo, died of a seizure just hours later.

Theo, who was 22 months old, has already been cremated and his ashes handed over to Liam’s family in private.

The 1pm service will be conducted by Reverend Brian Oxburgh.

He said: “There are family ties in Tayport and I believe that is why they want the funeral to be held here.

“I have conducted funerals for people who were in the military in the past but never someone who has been killed in action.

“It’s always difficult when a person is younger but we will be taking into account how brave, gallant, loyal and effective he was as a soldier.

“We are going to be speaking with family and the army Chaplin and the army to make sure that things are done correctly.”

Liam’s body was returned to the UK last Thursday.

Hundreds of mourners lined the streets of the now Royal town of Wootton Bassett, including Liam’s mother Jane Duffy, father, Ian Tasker, sisters Laura and Nicola, and girlfriend Leah Walters.

Together the Royal Army Veterinary Corps soldier and his dog found 14 explosive devices during their five months on the front line in Helmand province.

Lieutenant Colonel David Thorpe, 1st Military Working Dog regiment, said: “It is a challenge to put into words what L Cpl Liam Tasker meant to those he worked with.

“To his friends he was a mate who could put a smile on your face; he was a man who you wanted around and who you wanted to spend time with.”

L Cpl Tasker was the 358th member of the British Armed Forces to die since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001.

Theo was the sixth British military dog killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.

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