Widow remembers fallen soldier as 'gallant warrior'

The wife of a Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan described her husband as a "gallant warrior" who had expressed frustration over the lack of support for the mission.

Lt. Justin Boyes, based in Edmonton, was killed by an IED

Canadian soldiers carry the flag-draped coffin of Lt. Justin Boyes aboard a military transport plane at Kandahar Airfield on Thursday. ((Jonathan Montpetit/Associated Press))

The wife of a Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan described her husband as a "gallant warrior" who had expressed frustration over the lack of support for the mission.

Reading from a prepared statement in Edmonton, Alanna Boyes said her late husband, Lt. Justin Boyes, was a "selfless, courageous man who loved his career in the army."

She described him as an unconditionally loving and devoted husband and "most of all, the very best daddy."

"Before he left, I told him he was a gallant warrior of the 21st century because whether it was leading a combat operation, doing house renos or changing a poopy diaper, he knew what to do."

Boyes, 26, was killed by an improvised explosive device early Wednesday morning in Afghanistan's Panjwaii district.

She said that while they both supported the mission, he was frustrated with the lack of support from Canadian citizens "that he lived to protect."

"He said recently we're not losing this war. But if we do, it's because we lost it at home first. Please support our boys, they are making progress."

Boyes is also survived by his son James, 3, his parents Angela and Brian, a brother serving with the 2nd Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in Shilo, Man. A sister is living in the U.K.

Earlier, Canadian and international soldiers gathered at Kandahar Airfield in the late afternoon sun Thursday to bid farewell to Boyes.

More than 2,500 troops lined the tarmac as Boyes's coffin was carried aboard a military transport plane bound for a return flight home to Canadian soil.

Boyes belonged to the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry based in Edmonton and was 10 days into his second deployment to Afghanistan when he was killed.

Two other Canadian soldiers were wounded in the blast and are in good condition, military officials said.

Boyes praised for 'calm, motivated nature'

Lt. Justin Garrett Boyes, 26, was killed by an explosion on Wednesday near Kandahar city in the Panjwayi district. ((Department of Defence))

Maj. Scott Leblanc, commander of the Police Operational Mentor and Liaison Team based at the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar City, said the Saskatchewan-raised Boyes was one of his most trusted and professional officers.

Padre Yvonne Mills praised Boyes during the ramp ceremony for his "keen, calm, and motivated nature" and "a dedicated friend, caring for others, he was athletic and a devoted husband, father, son and brother."

Boyes is the first Canadian soldier to be killed in action in October.

Canada's last casualty was Pte. Jonathan Couturier of the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment, based in Valcartier, Que., who died when his armoured vehicle struck an improvised explosive device on Sept. 17.

Boyes is the 132nd Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan since the mission began in 2002.

With files from The Canadian Press