6 soldiers' bodies repatriated from Afghanistan

Canadian Forces Base Trenton in eastern Ontario honoured the country's latest military casualties at a repatriation ceremony Sunday for six soldiers who were killed days earlier in Afghanistan.

Canadian Forces Base Trenton in eastern Ontariohonouredthe country'slatest military casualties at a repatriation ceremony Sundayfor six soldiers who were killed days earlier in Afghanistan.

A Canadian Forces aircraft arrived at CFB Trenton carrying the six soldiers shortly after 5 p.m. ET on Sunday. ((CBC))

The bodies of Capt. Jefferson Francis, 36,Capt. Matthew Dawe, 27,Master Cpl. Colin Bason, 28, Cpl. Cole Bartsch, 23,Cpl. Jordan Anderson, 25, and Pte. Lane Watkins, 20,arrived at the base shortly after 5 p.m. ET. The soldiers' familiesand dignitaries, includingDefence Minister Gordon O'Connor, attended the repatriation.

To show their support,a group of people gathered by a highway hours before the convoy carrying the coffins was to pass by.

The soldiers were travelling in anRG-31 Nyala armoured vehicle on Wednesday when it struck a bomb in the Panjwaii district, about 20 kilometres southwest of the city of Kandahar. Military officials have said they believe the men and an Afghan interpreter all diedinstantly.

The flag-draped coffins carrying the bodies of thesoldiers were loaded onto a military aircraft at the Kandahar Air Field on Friday night as hundreds of coalition troops looked on.

Four of the soldiers were members ofthe Edmonton-based 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry:

  • Anderson, who was born inthe Nunavut city of Iqaluit and lived for years in the Northwest Territories, in Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik.
  • Dawe, fromKingston, Ont.
  • Bartsch, from Whitecourt, Alta.
  • Watkins, from Clearwater, Man.

Bason, of Abbotsford, B.C., was a reservist with the Royal Westminster Regiment, while Francis was a member of the 1st Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, based in Shilo, Man.

On the morning after the ramp ceremony in Kandahar,four other Canadian soldiers were injured when a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into a military convoy travelling eight kilometres west of Kandahar city.

None of the soldiers were seriously injured, military officials said.

Canada has about 2,500 troops deployed on its mission to Afghanistan, which began in early 2002.They're part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.