THE body of one of the most highly-­decorated soldiers to die in Afghanistan was yesterday brought home.

Hundreds lined the streets to pay tribute to Acting Sergeant Michael Lockett MC, of 2nd Battalion The ­Mercian Regiment.

The 29-year-old hero was killed by a roadside bomb last week just before he was due to return home from his third tour of Afghanistan.

In 2007, the father of three won the Military Cross for “selfless ­commitment and unshakeable bravery” in trying to rescue ­comrades from a Taliban ambush.

Yesterday, a cortege showered in red and yellow roses, carried his body through the Wiltshire town of Wootton Bassett as hundreds stood in silence. The mourners included his former girlfriend Jo How.

Close friend Malcolm Bryttain, 42, said Sgt Lockett had been his best man one year ago this Saturday.

He said: “He was a man’s man. Very, very modest about his ­achievements. He wouldn’t put it in people’s faces.

“When he went out he just wanted to be normal in his jeans and jumper. He didn’t even want people to know he’d got the MC. He only talked about it in private.”

On Afghanistan, Mr Bryttain said: “Everyone would like answers. Will there be anything to show for it in five or 10 years, or will these men just be forgotten ­numbers?”

Sgt Lockett, from Monifieth in Angus, had three children from a former marriage – Connor, eight, Chloe, seven, and Courtney, five. His former mother-in-law Jane Perrin, 50, said: “The two girls don’t quite understand what’s going on. We’ve told Connor to be strong for his dad. He was very brave. I’m proud of him and hope his ­children will be too.”

His ex-father-in-law, Ray Perrin, 55, said: “The tragedy is that he was due to come home a week before but he stayed on to show people the ropes. He never doubted what he was doing – he was a soldier.”

In East Kilbride, 350 mourners attended the funeral of Special Forces soldier paratrooper Corporal John Harrison, 29, killed in a raid to rescue kidnapped British ­journalist Stephen Farrell from the ­Taliban.

And Liverpool’s Catholic Cathedral was packed for the funeral of a “lion” killed in Afghanistan.

Kingsman Jason Dunn-Bridgeman, 20, of the 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment – who had volunteered to deploy early – was shot dead two weeks ago on a foot patrol. His mother, Tracey, who was presented with the Elizabeth Cross on Monday, heard his commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Robbie Boyd, praise his courage.

He said: “Dunny was a real character. He was intelligent, spirited and he loved adventure training.

“He was really courageous on and off the adventure training field and in battle he was fearsome.

“He fought several times with Blenheim Company, who are still deployed in Afghanistan. He ­committed himself fantastically in battle and looked after his mates.

“Without a shadow of a doubt the regiment and his family have lost a lion.”

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