Village Turns Out For Funeral
16 June 2011, 16:12
A village came to a standstill for the funeral service of a Royal Marines officer nicknamed ``The Boss'' who was killed along with a comrade in Afghanistan.
Hundreds of mourners packed a church in Eynsford, near Dartford, Kent, to hear tributes in memory of 23-year-old Lieutenant Oliver ``Ollie'' Augustin.
He and Marine Sam Alexander, 28, from Hammersmith, west London, were caught in a blast from an improvised explosive device (IED) on May 27.
The pair, from 42 Commando Royal Marines, were in a patrol led by Lt Augustin in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province when they were killed.
About 30 relatives and friends of Lt Augustin walked behind the hearse as it arrived at St Martin of Tours Parish Church in front of a row of veteran standard bearers.
With his coffin draped in the Union flag and topped with his military cap, it was carried into church by six pall-bearers as dozens of people looked on.
The hour-long service, which was relayed outside via audio and video-link, heard how the former Dartford Grammar School pupil had a lust for life and was widely respected by his men.
His father Sean said: ``They gave him the name The Boss which I know he was proud to be called. Oliver was a natural leader and led from the front.''
He added: ``He did not think that life should be watched from the sidelines, and in that belief he lived his life. Many people say this but few live this ethos.
``Oliver was one of those golden people who followed through on his beliefs. He had an unswerving sense of right and wrong, and was always able to do the right thing.''
His father said that Lt Augustin was noted for his humour.
To laughter, he said: ``His caring nature made sure that the gifts he bought his mother had a sentimental element, such as the kangaroo scrotum purse he sent her back for Mothers' Day.''
His sister, Sarah, read an emotional letter she penned after his death, describing it as the hardest thing she had ever had to write.
She said: ``I can't get my head around it.
``However, since May 27, I have found myself hoping above all else that you are somewhere good and are surrounded by family we have previously lost and indeed your fellow men whose lives have been cut tragically short.''
She spoke of her pride for Lt Augustin and added: ``Your selflessness and courage are inspirational, something I will always admire about you.
``At the moment I can't see how I can go on without you. I don't want Christmas to come as it will never be the same without your humour and mickey-taking.''