THE people of Wrexham have joined together to pay their last respects to a military hero.
Crowds lined the streets to pay tribute to Guardsman Jamie Shadrake, of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, as the hearse carrying his coffin travelled through the town before and after his funeral yesterday.
In a spontaneous display of appreciation, the crowds applauded the hearse as it made its way along High Street and into the grounds of St Giles’ Church.
Guardsman Shadrake, of Wrexham, died on August 17, three days after his 20th birthday, while serving in Afghanistan.
His checkpoint was attacked by insurgents in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province.
Guardsman Shadrake’s coffin was draped in the Union Flag, with his Guardsman’s hat proudly placed on the coffin during the moving church service.
Hundreds of people packed the church for the service which paid homage to Guardsman Shadrake.
His older brother and regimental colleague Carl spoke movingly about the pride he had felt at seeing Jamie follow him into the forces, telling the congregation he had “died a hero”.
He said the pair had become closer through serving their country together in the Grenadier Guards.
“We got to know each other again,” he said.
“He was the little boy who could have been my twin. I still see him in my reflection every day.”
He concluded his tribute by saying: “Jamie I’m so proud of you. I love you.”
Mourners included a large number of family members, military personnel and dignitaries including Wrexham MP Ian Lucas and Cllr Ian Roberts, Mayor of Wrexham.
Guardsman Shadrake is survived by parents Cathryn and Philip, brothers Carl, Kieran and Shane and sister Kerry-Anne.
Padre the Rev Andrew Earl, who led the service with St Giles’ vicar The Rev Mike West, said the occasion was about celebrating Guardsman Shadrake’s life.
The congregation heard how Guardsman Shadrake was a very popular, “cheeky” and “handsome” man.
Mr Earl spoke of the esteem in which Guardsman Shadrake was held and the pride his family felt by his following Carl into the military.
“I know the family feel the devastating loss,” he said.
“Cath alluded though that today is not only to be a memorial but it was also to be a celebration of all that Jamie was and is and will continue to be.
“It’s Cath’s way of showing how proud she was of him as a son in the British Army.”
Mr West spoke of the “tragedy of life being taken away” and recalled the hero Guardsman Shadrake was.
“We have paid tribute to Jamie,” he said.
“We thank God for his young life.
“But it’s also time to say farewell to Jamie and that is what makes this service so hard.”
A guard of honour was formed by military members and veterans as the hearse made its way through the grounds of St Giles’ Church, with six Grenadier colleagues carrying the coffin into and out of church.
The Band of the Irish Guards played before the service began, with Guardsman Shadrake’s coffin led into church to the Scipio-Regimental Slow March.
During the service, mourners sang the hymns Guide me O thou Great Redeemer, The Lord’s my Shepherd and Abide with Me, as well as the British national anthem God Save The Queen.
After the service crowds again lined the streets as Guardsman Shadrake’s coffin was driven towards Wrexham Cemetery for a private burial service, where a gunfire salute was to take place.
A retiring collection was held for the Colonel’s Fund.
Guardsman Shadrake was brought up in the Cardiff area before moving to Wrexham with his family.
He joined the Army as a 17-year-old in 2009.