6 Oct 2011

Funeral service held for SAS soldier

7:15 pm on 6 October 2011

A Special Air Services soldier killed in Afghanistan has been remembered by family, friends and colleagues at a service in Auckland.

Lance Corporal Leon Smith, 33, was shot during a joint Afghan Crisis Response Unit and SAS operation in Wardak province near Kabul on 28 September.


More than 300 people came to the Papakura Military Camp to remember Lance Corporal Smith on Thursday, including Prime Minister John Key and Governor-General Lieutenant-General Sir Jerry Mateparae.


A bagpiper began the service with a lament, before troopers of the 1st New Zealand Special Air Services greeted the body with a rousing haka.

Military personnel and family members delivered tributes, with many referring to Lance Corporal Smith's sense of humour and dedication to his role.

Many mentioned the death in Kabul of SAS trooper Corporal Doug Grant, 41, in August this year and the friendship the pair shared.

A private family funeral will be held on Friday.