Family and friends of Lance Corporal James Ashworth killed in action in Afghanistan were at RAF Brize Norton to see his body flown back today.
The C17 plane carrying the Corby soldier’s body landed at 1.30pm.
Family and friends of the serviceman who grew up in Corby were there to see the plane land before the cortege was due to be taken past the Memorial Garden at about 4pm and then on to the John Radcliffe Hospital at 5pm.
Members of Corby Royal British Legion went to Oxfordshire to pay their respects to the soldier killed in a grenade blast last week.
Gareth Price, secretary of the Corby RBL branch, said: “I am here representing the Legion and the people of Corby.
“The manner of James’ death shows the character of the man and that he was a true hero.”
Mike Evans, chairman of Corby RBL, said: “I am here to pay my personal respects to James and his family.
“I served with James’ father Duane in the Grenadier Guards.
“I have been in touch with the family in the past couple of days and they are bearing up quite well.”
He added: “James was a hero in the true sense of the word.”
Stewart Campbell of the Corby and Kettering Trades Council also went to the RAF base for the poignant occasion.
Mr Campbell, who is an ex-serviceman who served with the Royal Signals, said: “I have known James’ father Duane since we were children.
“I am here today to pay my respects.
“In my eyes, James towered over everyone.
“I am making a call for every workplace in Corby to allow their workers to observe a minute’s silence on the day of James’ funeral.”