Portadown mourns soldier killed in Afghan attack


THE CENTRE of a Co Armagh town came to a standstill yesterday for the burial of a local soldier who was killed in Afghanistan.

Portadown was thronged with mourners as the coffin of Lieut Neal Turkington (26) was brought to St Mark’s Church in the town for a funeral service.

He died on July 13th when an attack was launched, believed to be by a member of the Afghan national army. Machinegun fire and rifle-launched grenades were fired into the operations room and accommodation tents where members of Lieut Turkington’s A Company were either on duty or sleeping.

Two other soldiers died in the attack. They were Maj James Joshua Bowman from Salisbury in England and Cpl Arjun Purja Pun.

Bishop David Chillingworth, a former rector at Seagoe Parish Church, said the grief felt by the dead man’s family and community was only surpassed by their pride in him. Members of the Gurkhas, with whom Lieut Turkington served, accompanied the coffin.

“Neal died doing the job that was his passion,” Bishop Chillingworth said, adding, however, that: “We and our political leaders should reflect very carefully on all of this – on the cost and the sacrifice of young men and women who serve on our behalf – as we strive to build peace in Afghanistan and across the world.”