A dog handler and his springer spaniel, who died within hours of each other in Afghanistan, are to be flown home to Britain together.
Lance Corporal Liam Tasker was shot dead on Tuesday while the pair were on patrol in southern Helmand province. His spaniel Theo died of a seizure shortly afterwards.
The Ministry of Defence said on Friday the 22-month-old dog's ashes would be brought back to Britain on the same flight as L/Cpl Tasker.
"A dog can not be repatriated, but they will be returned to the UK on the same day, in the same plane," a defence department spokesman said.
They will be flown into RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire next week.
Three weeks ago, Theo had been praised by the Ministry of Defence for finding 14 hidden bombs and weapons caches in just five months - a record for a dog and handler.
The spaniel, on his first tour of duty in Afghanistan, had uncovered so many improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that his time in the country was extended by a month.
I remember when I was in Bosnia AFRTS always had those "commercial" things that weren't really commercials. I always wondered what folks who knew nothing about the military would think if they saw them, as they were always of the "don't drink too much", "don't beat your wife", "don't go heavily in debt" sort of thing. But one stood out to me, about a dog that lost his owner. I looked it up a few months ago, and from wiki I found this:
In 1924, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo took in Hachikō as a pet. During his owner's life Hachikō greeted him at the end of the day at the nearbyShibuya Station. The pair continued their daily routine until May 1925, when Professor Ueno did not return. The professor had suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage and died, never returning to the train station where Hachikō was waiting. Every day for the next nine years the golden brown Akita waited at Shibuya station.
Hachikō was given away after his master's death, but he routinely escaped, returning again and again to his old home. Eventually, Hachikō apparently realized that Professor Ueno no longer lived at the house. So he went to look for his master at the train station where he had accompanied himso many times before. Each day, Hachikō waited for the return of his owner.
The permanent fixture at the train station that was Hachikō attracted the attention of other commuters. Many of the people who frequented the Shibuya train station had seen Hachikō and Professor Ueno together each day. They brought Hachikō treats and food to nourish him during his wait.
Apparently they made a movie, but I haven't seen it: