9:11am Tuesday 26th June 2012
By Alison Sanders
A FINAL goodbye was said to a Cwmbran soldier yesterday who lost his life doing the job he loved.
The funeral of Corporal Michael John Thacker, 27, was held at Coventry Cathedral; he was killed on June 1 while manning an observation post in Afghanistan.
He was serving with 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh as part of the Fire Support Group in Helmand Province.
He was the 416th member of Britain’s armed forces to be killed in Afghanistan since 2001.
Cpl Thacker lived with his wife, Catherine, and two-yearold daughter, Millie, in Keresley, Coventry.
He also leaves behind his mother, Alison, and brothers, Marc, Matthew and Ashley.
Friends and colleagues from the Royal Welsh were at the cathedral to pay their respects, including some who had only arrived back from Afghanistan yesterday morning and others who were on hospital leave.
The funeral cortège was led by a pipe-and-drum rendition of Onward Christian Soldiers.
Onlookers stood up out of respect and builders working nearby turned off their generators as Cpl Thacker’s flagdraped coffin was carried into the cathedral by members of his battalion to the Welsh hymn Rhosymedre.
The service was led by the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Rev Dr Christopher Cocksworth, and the service included the hymn Amazing Grace and a Bible reading of Inseparable Love.
The coffin then left the cathedral to Nimrod, from Enigma Variations, by Sir Edward Elgar, and was followed by a private cremation in Nuneaton.
Cpl Thacker was born in Swindon and went to Fairwater High School in Cwmbran after his family moved to Wales.
He joined the army in 2004, served tours in Iraq and Northern Ireland and met his wifee when she was a medic in the army.
Mum Alison described her son as “bubbly and happy”, while brother Matthew, who is also a corporal in the same battalion, said: “He died doing the job that we Thacker brothers love. He is a true hero.”
Before the service Major David Crimmins paid tribute to Cpl Thacker.
He said: “He was a true character, liked by both officers and soldiers.
“He was somebody who could fill a dark room with laughter.
“He was also a good soldier, he had a good future ahead of him.”
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