Military funeral in Havant will honour fallen marine

REMEMBERED Marine David O'Connor
REMEMBERED Marine David O'Connor

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HE gave his life for his country – and now fallen Marine David O’Connor will be given a hero’s send-off.

Hundreds of people are expected to gather in and around St Faith’s Church in Havant for his funeral with full military honours.

In an unprecedented move, the bollards to the precinct will be taken down and the funeral procession will slowly travel along West Street to the historic church.

As reported, the 27-year-old, of West Street, of 40 Commando, died after being attacked on patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, last month. He was repatriated to RAF Brize Norton last week.

The people of Havant supported the public procession through West Street.

Stephanie Willis, who runs Havant Fruit and Flowers, said: ‘I have been here 15 years and it’s going to be something I have never seen before.

‘He has given his life and he should be honoured.’

Havant Mayor Gerald Shimbart said: ‘It gives the public in Havant the opportunity to show their respects and to that extent it’s a wonderful thing.’

Havant MP David Willetts said: ‘I think anything that marks the debt we all have to armed services must be right – in particular for us in Havant, our pride in this brave man.’

The service will be officiated by the Reverend Canon Peter Jones, of St Faith’s Church, alongside Scott Shackleton, a chaplain for the forces.

Mr Jones said the church was able to seat around 300 people, with 100 people standing.

As it is expected the church will be filled by family and friends, there are plans to relay the service outside.

He said: ‘There will be a very significant military presence both in terms of personnel and there will be an ensemble of Royal Marine musicians.’

Next Thursday the procession will travel down Park Road North and into West Street, where the bollards will be taken down at 1.50pm.

Sally Foster, a council spokeswoman, said: ‘The service takes place at 2pm and is expected to go on until 3.10pm when three shots will be fired.

‘Following the service, the procession will go to Chichester Crematorium under police escort.’

A book of condolence has been opened at St Faith’s Church.