Killed diplomat was 'passionately committed'

Eight soldiers in combat fatigues bore the flag-draped coffin of Canadian diplomat Glyn Berry into London's St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church on Trafalgar Square on Thursday

Glyn Berry's two sons remembered the Canadian diplomat killed in Afghanistan as a man who insisted on living life to the fullest.

Gareth and Rhys Berry spoke at their father's funeral in London on Thursday.

"My father used to say that whatever you do in life, make sure you're happy and make damn sure you've got a good story at the end of it," said Rhys Berry. "My father lived by that in everything he did."

Friends, diplomats and politicians were among those at the funeral at London's St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square. It was held just a few days after three soldiers injured in the bombing attack that killed Berry returned to Canada for further treatment.

Eight soldiers in combat fatigues bore the flag-draped coffin into the church as the pipes played.

Berry, 59, was killed in a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan earlier this month. He is also survived by his wife.

Those who paid tribute to him at the funeral spoke of his commitment to his work, and his belief that it would make a difference. Rhys Berry also spoke about his personal character, about how he was a "wonderful storyteller" with a "a wonderful sense of humour and an infectious laugh."

He said his "appetite for life and love for humanity were infectious."

Gareth Berry added that those qualities had a positive impact on his work. He knew the assignment in Afghanistan was dangerous, but also believed it was the right thing to do.

"When I would mention my father was going to southern Afghanistan, people would at first ask me if he was army," he said. "When I mentioned he was actually a diplomat working as the political face of the reconstruction effort in Kandahar, they'd ask me if he was crazy."

The political director of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar, the diplomat had been in Afghanistan since August.

He was killed when an explosion hurled the vehicle he was in off the road. The attack also seriously wounded three Canadian soldiers.

"He felt deeply the Afghan people deserved a better life," said Peter Harder, deputy minister of the Foreign Affairs Department.

"He was passionately committed to the work he was doing in Kandahar."

Pte. William Salikan, Cpl. Jeffrey Bailey, and Master Cpl. Paul Franklin all returned to Canada this week, where they remain in hospital.

Harder spoke of Berry's commitment and bravery. Weeks before the fatal attack, Berry was in another convoy that was attacked, Harder said, and narrowly escaped injury then.

"Glyn Berry lived his life well," Harder said. "We are tremendously proud of him, and we will miss him very much."

A career diplomat, the United Kingdom-born Berry joined Canada's Foreign Affairs – called External Affairs at the time – in 1977 and held postings in Washington and New York.

Foreign Affairs said Berry was the first Canadian diplomat killed in the line of duty.

Outgoing foreign affairs minister Pierre Pettigrew, who failed to win re-election in Monday's federal election, attended the service.