THE faithful pet dog of a fallen soldier who colleagues said was destined for greatness stood by his owner for the last time yesterday.
Lance Corporal James Brynin, an Intelligence Corps soldier attached to 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare), was killed by enemy fire in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on October 15.
His family, friends and around 200 residents were at the memorial garden, on the edge of Carterton, to pay tribute to the 22-year-old as he was repatriated. With them was L Cpl Brynin’s beloved 12-year-old labrador, Luke.
L Cpl Daniel Amies, 21, from 14th Signal Regiment, trained with L Cpl Brynin at RAF Chicksands, in Bedfordshire, and was one of the pallbearers who carried his coffin from the plane after it landed at RAF Brize Norton.
He said: “I used to sit next to him in training and he kept me awake whenever I fell asleep during the lessons, which was a lot. About half way through I think he gave up.
“I do not know how to describe being here. But to have been able to carry the coffin meant a lot.”
L Cpl Amies also played football with L Cpl Brynin, who was a fan of Brighton Football Club, and they represented the defence school in the inter-intelligence corps football competition.
L Cpl Paul Griffin, 27, from 14th Signal Regiment, who also trained with L Cpl Brynin, said: “He was full of life and he was always getting stuck into things.
“It is devastating, to say the least, to be here. A lot of lads have turned out from training. I think he would have been pleased about that.”
Colonel Jon Murray, Corps Colonel of the Intelligence Corps, said: “He was a tremendous athlete and a tremendous Intelligence Corps soldier.
“He was full of life, full of ambition and full of promise.
“He was destined for really great things and would have gone far in the Intelligence Corps, that is for sure.”
L Cpl Brynin, who was known as Jay to his friends, was born in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, and joined the Army in February 2011.
He served in Afghanistan in 2012 and was deployed back to the country in August. He had already been selected for promotion to Corporal.
In a statement, his family – father Efrem, mother Sharon, sister Yasmin, and girlfriend Olivia Jackson – said: “Heart of a lion, we will always stand strong for you. We will never forget. Rest in peace.”
It had been almost six months since the last repatriation, of Corporal William Savage, Fusilier Samuel Flint and Private Robert Hetherington, on May 9.