(Mods please delete if duplicate posting) From BBC - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7452563.stm Town tribute to dead paratroops More than 100 UK personnel have died in Afghanistan since 2001 A garrison town has paid tribute to five paratroops killed earlier in the week in Afghanistan. Locals gathered outside the town hall in Colchester to hold a two-minute silence to honour the soldiers. A union jack in the Essex town was at half-mast to remember the members of 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment. The victims left their Colchester base earlier in the year to travel to Afghanistan. The deaths took UK fatalities in Afghanistan to 102. On Sunday, three of the paratroops were killed by a suicide bomber. The other two were killed in action on Thursday. Crowd applause Shoppers, office workers and children stood silently in Colchester town centre to pay their respects. Service personnel were applauded by onlookers as they marched down the High Street to take part in the ceremony. And crowds burst into spontaneous applause again when the silence ended. Colonel Tony Phillips, deputy commander of the Colchester garrison, and Major Aidan Coogan, the Parachute Regiment's adjutant, attended the event. Earlier, offering his condolences, Maj Coogan, said: "At this time, our fullest thoughts and prayers are with the families and the colleagues of those killed." We in Colchester have tremendous pride in our soldiers Bob Russell MP He said his paratroops were "a professional, highly-motivated, well-trained battalion, who continue to show dedication and commitment". Maj Coogan added that it was with "immense pride" that he was able to "pay tribute to all members of the regiment whose courage, selflessness and steadfastness is a credit to the Army and this country". The five deaths in a single week is believed to be the regiment's biggest loss of life since the Falklands War in the 1980s. Colchester's MP described the latest losses as "absolutely devastating". Liberal Democrat Bob Russell said: "This is absolutely desperate news. "We in Colchester have tremendous pride in our soldiers, we regard them as our own soldiers despite them coming from different areas of the country." He offered his condolences to the loved ones of those killed.