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Memorial service held for Bury St Edmunds serviceman Luke Southgate 14 years after he was killed in Afghanistan





A memorial service was held to remember a young serviceman from a Suffolk town who was killed during conflict 14 years ago in Afghanistan.

Senior Aircraftman Luke Southgate, from Bury St Edmunds, was killed when his vehicle, which was patrolling the Kandahar Airfield, was struck by an improvised explosive device on February 24, 2010.

He was two weeks away from his 21st birthday and had only been in Afghanistan for five weeks before his death.

A memorial service was held to remember Luke Southgate who was killed during conflict in Afghanistan 14 years ago. Picture: Mecha Morton
A memorial service was held to remember Luke Southgate who was killed during conflict in Afghanistan 14 years ago. Picture: Mecha Morton

Members of the Royal British Legion, veterans from RAF Honington and Luke’s family and friends, gathered at his memorial garden at St Olaves Precinct on the Howard Estate to remember and reflect on all those who have lost their lives during conflict.

Luke's mum Kate Southgate said: “I do feel a little emotional. This morning I feel very proud though and the sun is also shining which is really nice.

“I do feel up and down with it all and I still miss him very much. It definitely doesn’t feel like it was 14 years ago.

Luke was two weeks away from his 21st birthday when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device
Luke was two weeks away from his 21st birthday when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device

“I’m very grateful this lovely service still happens and that the memorial is maintained so well.”

There was a two minute silence and wreaths were laid in front of the plinth as representatives from the RBL, RAF Honington and local dignitaries paid their respects.

Nigel Wolstenholme, chairman of the Bury St Edmunds branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “This is such an important occasion for the whole estate and we always need to remember those who put themselves between us and danger.

Luke’s mum Kate Southgate laying a wreath at his memorial garden at St Olaves Precinct on the Howard Estate in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mecha Morton
Luke’s mum Kate Southgate laying a wreath at his memorial garden at St Olaves Precinct on the Howard Estate in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mecha Morton

“It’s a testament to Luke that the wreaths remain here and the memorial remains untouched.

“I liked the service this morning. It was short, to the point, and it’s only fitting that we mark the occasion.

“It's very very real and it’s vital we remember him.”

Luke’s family and friends, members of the Royal British Legion and veterans from RAF Honington attended the service. Picture: Mecha Morton
Luke’s family and friends, members of the Royal British Legion and veterans from RAF Honington attended the service. Picture: Mecha Morton

Warrant Officer Roger Hopper, of RAF Honington, said: “We all have to keep Luke alive through things like this.

“If we don’t learn the lessons from history and we don’t mark this sort of occasion - I think we would be at fault if we were to ignore them.

“Memorials aren’t a glorification. They mark the passing of people who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in honour of their country.”