FRIENDS of a soldier who was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan have today paid tribute to him.
Warrant Officer Second Class Spencer Faulkner from the Army Air Corps was killed in a crash in the south of the country last month. He grew up in Waterlooville and was based at RAF Odiham in Hook.
WO Faulkner was married with two children.
Kane Frisby, 37, went to school with WO Faulkner in Waterlooville. He said: ‘I can’t think of anyone who had a bad word to say about him at school. He got on with everybody.
‘He was the only friend I had who I never had an argument with. It was quite special.
‘He was an incredibly well-liked chap. He had a positive outlook. You could always depend on him.’
Kane was at school with WO Faulkner at Waite End Middle School and then at Crookhorn Technology College.
He said: ‘Spencer and I were at school together from the age of about nine.
‘He was my best friend at school. He always wanted to be in the army. He was always keen on getting into it.
‘He was incredibly bright. He left school at 16 and went straight into the army.’
The pair then caught up when they could, often once a year. They lost touch for a while and then met up in Germany in 2004.
After that, they didn’t see each other until New Year’s Day this year, where they met up with two of their other school friends at the Blue Bell Inn in Emsworth.
Kane added: ‘We hadn’t all been together since school. At least we got a chance to spend time together.
‘It was never awkward, even though I hadn’t seen him for 10 years. We just got on and had a great laugh.
‘We were in the Cubs and Scouts together when we were younger. We were always on our bikes cycling around.
‘He was a good family man. He had a lot of pride. He was a very special guy.’
Chris Palmer, 38, lives in West Leigh. He added: ‘He was absolutely fearless. He was a lovely guy. He ended up doing what he wanted to do when we were kids.
‘He was living the dream. We were all very proud of him.
‘This was a real shock. I was absolutely gutted.
‘He was one of Britain’s best. The world needs an army of Spencers.’
Earlier this week, WO Faulkner was repatriated. An aircraft carrying the bodies landed at RAF Brize Norton and a ceremony was held at the airbase.