FLAGS were flying at half mast at Hampshire County Council’s headquarters buildings in Winchester this morning as a mark of respect to the five servicemen killed in the helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan on Saturday.  Four of them were based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire.

Council Leader Roy Perry paid tribute to the men who were named by the MoD last night as Captain Thomas Clarke, Warrant Officer Spencer Faulkner Corporal James Walters – all of the Army Air Corps – and Flight Lieutenant  Rakesh Chauhan of the Royal Air Force and Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas of the Intelligence Corps.

Cllr Perry, said:  “Our deepest sympathies are with the families and friends left behind by this tragedy. Hampshire is home to the largest contingent of armed forces personnel in the country and tragic incidents such as this are a sad, but stark reminder of the contributions and sacrifices that the armed forces make and all that they do to protect our country and serve the cause of freedom.”

The flags will remain at half mast through to sunset tomorrow evening, when Cllr Perry, with the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire Dame Mary Fagan, will be hosting a ceremony in the Great Hall, Winchester,  to thank the all armed services, and frontline staff,  for the tremendous relief efforts they made to help protect people and property in the floods that caused damage in many Hampshire communities.   Cllr Perry recently made a grant of £5,000 to each of the benevolent charities of the three main forces who provide financial and practical support to military personnel and their families.