A young soldier described as ‘beautiful, bright and fun-loving’ will be honoured at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire today.
British Army medic Brodie Gillon, who was killed in a missile attack in Iraq last week, will be repatriated to the West Oxfordshire base today.
Lance Corporal Gillon was just 26 when she died, and had been serving as a reservist with the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry.
She was killed alongside two US servicemen when a missiles were fired at Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, last Wednesday.
Another 12 military personnel were injured.
A Brize spokesperson confirmed that she will be repatriated there today, but did not say at what time.
RAF Brize Norton, near Carterton, is home to a repatriation memorial garden where people can pay their respects.
There is also a bell at the Oxfordshire Memorial Garden, on the borders of Carterton and Brize Norton, which rings out for repatriations.
L/Cpl Gillon joined the regiment in September 2015 as a Combat Medical Technician, before qualifying as a Class 1 Combat Medical Technician in 2018.
She was killed while volunteering as part of the Irish Guards Battle Group during their deployment to Iraq, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.
In a tribute, her family said: “Our hearts are irreparably broken at the loss of our beautiful, bright and fun-loving Brodie. She brought immeasurable love, fun and energy to our lives and was so generous in every way.
“She was determined and tenacious, wonderfully funny, courageous and caring.
“Brodie was a force of nature, a strong independent young woman. She was fierce, with a strong mind and a sensitive soul.
“Her healing and strength will guide us as we carry on without her, for her.”
Her commanding officer said she was a ‘hugely popular character’ and that he was ‘proud and humbled’ to have served alongside her
Lieutenant Colonel William Leek, Commanding Officer Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry, said: “She was a larger than life soldier who was determined to deploy on operations, help others, develop herself and gain practical experience.
“It was abundantly clear that she was destined for great things in her civilian and military careers. Her loss is keenly felt.
“My deepest condolences go to her family and loved ones.”
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said the attack was a ‘cowardly’ act, adding: “We will defend against these deplorable acts and hold those responsible to account.”
Deputy Commander Field Army, Major General Celia Harvey, said L/Cpl Gillon was fulfilling a ‘long-term ambition’ to serve on an operational tour in Iraq.
She said: “She was a soldier who showed fantastic commitment and determination, combined with a fun-loving personality.
“She made the ultimate sacrifice and will always be remembered.”
Defence secretary Ben Wallace said L/Cpl Gillon was a ‘shining example of what our Armed Forces and Reserves stand for’.
The Iraqi military has opened an investigation into the attack and US-led coalition forces have attacked insurgent targets in retaliation.