Dublin-born Irish Guardsman killed in Iraq to be laid to rest today

THE sole Irish casualty of the war in Iraq will be laid to rest today.

A proud Irishman and proud soldier, Dublin-born Lance Corporal Ian Malone died on duty with the British army.

The Government this week granted permission for six of the dead soldier’s colleagues to attend the burial ceremony in the regiment’s uniform.

Senior representatives of the British Army will also attend, but the coffin will not be draped in any military or regimental flag.

The Irish Guardsman was killed in combat near Basra in southern Iraq on April 6.

The coffin carrying his remains was flown into Dublin airport yesterday.

After the family of the 28-year-old soldier pay their respects, the remains will be removed to the Church of the Assumption in Ballyfermot.

His family said they took comfort from knowing their son died doing a job he loved.

Lce Cpl Malone’s funeral will take place at the nearby Palmerstown Cemetery after Requiem Mass.

The late soldier, who joined the Irish Guards in 1997, was flown from the Middle East to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire last week. He and a colleague, Christopher Muzvuru, aged 20, from Gweru, Zimbabwe, were killed by a sniper as they got out of an armoured vehicle.

They were part of an advance group deep inside the city.

A talented chess player, Lce Cpl Malone had applied to join the Irish Defence Forces six years ago but was considered too old.

After enlisting with the Irish Guards, he had opportunities to visit 20 countries. He was promoted in 2000 to serve in Kosovo, but prior to the Iraqi conflict he was stationed in Germany. He also served in Poland, Canada and Oman.

His family and girlfriend described him as full of life, vitality, fun and wit.

They revealed: “He loved the army and lived for the excitement and challenges that being a solider brought. He was proud to be an Irishman and proud to serve in the Irish Guards.”

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