Hundreds at funeral for soldier

L/Cpl Liam Tasker and his dog Theo who both died in Afghanistan
L/Cpl Liam Tasker and his dog Theo who both died in Afghanistan
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HUNDREDS of people packed a church for the funeral of a dog handler killed in Afghanistan.

Tayport Parish Church in Fife was filled on Tuesday for the funeral of L/Cpl Liam Tasker, 26, who was shot on March 1 while on patrol with his springer spaniel Theo, who died the same day of a seizure.

People also lined the streets outside to pay tribute to the soldier, who had a full military funeral.

L/Cpl Tasker trained with the 104 Military Working Dog Squadron, part of the 1st Military Dog Regiment based at St George’s Barracks in North Luffenham. There were 25 members of the regiment at the funeral.

Lt Col David Thorpe, commanding officer of the regiment, paid tribute during the funeral calling L/Cpl Tasker a “brave, loyal and strong” soldier.

He described L/Cpl Tasker as a “natural dog man” who displayed an “uncanny empathy” with the animals during his training.

He said: “It was obvious to all who encountered him that he would be a rising star in the veterinary corps.”

Lt Col Thorpe also spoke of the dog handler’s love for his family and friends.

During the funeral, L/Cpl Tasker’s tearful brother Ian also recalled fond memories of the soldier.

He said: “Liam was the best brother, son, grandson and indeed friend you could ask for.”

There was also reading from two of L/Cpl Tasker’s uncles.

His mother Jane Duffy, father Ian Tasker, sisters Laura and Nicola and girlfriend Leah Walters were among the mourners.

Following the service, there was a private burial.

L/Cpl was deployed to Afghanistan last September and began working alongside the 1st Battalion Irish Guards last month.

The ashes of Theo, which were flown back with L/Cpl Tasker’s body, have been presented to his family.