THE Reverend of an Odiham church has paid tribute to five servicemen, including four based at RAF Odiham, after they were killed in a helicopter crash on Saturday.
As reported on The Gazette website, Captain Thomas Clarke, Warrant Officer Class 2 Spencer Faulkner, and Corporal James Walters from the Army Air Corps and Flight Lieutenant Rakesh Chauhan from the Royal Air Force, who were all based at RAF Odiham, died in a helicopter crash in the Kandahar province in South Afghanistan on Saturday.
Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas from the Intelligence Corps, who was based in London, was also killed after their Westland Lynx Mk 9 helicopter crashed.
Prayers were held for the five victims at a Sunday mass service led by Reverend Michael Jaggs at the All Saints Church in Odiham, yesterday morning.
Reverend Alison Brown told The Gazette: “Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of the servicemen. The whole community is stunned because it is such a sudden thing and everybody I have seen today is stunned and incredibly sad. It is just so awful.
“It is hard through words to convey the shock that the family and friends are going through. People in Odiham are very connected to the RAF and we have got lots of retired personnel who are regulars at the church.”
The five victims will continue to be remembered by the church and prayers will be held at the church’s annual meeting tonight at 7.30pm. Prayers are also scheduled for the church’s monthly meeting service next Tuesday at 7.30pm.
An investigation into the cause of the crash has now been launched.