THE funeral of a Birmingham Royal Marine who was killed in Afghanistan took place at St Giles Church in Sheldon on Wednesday.
Corporal Robert Deering, aged 33, died in an explosion caused by an apparent booby trap while on routine patrol in Helmand Province on December 21.
Solihull-born Cpl Deering had recently moved in to a house in Sheldon with his fiancée Gemma Polino, who was described as his “best friend.
Up to 600 mourners, including Cpl Deering’s parents, sister Elaine and Miss Polino, filled the church for the full military funeral. Others gathered in the nearby church hall to watch a video link.
Tributes were paid by Royal Marine colleagues and Cpl Deering’s best friend Rob Savage, who said: “Rob was a major personality, reliable and trustworthy and always there to look after the men who worked for him. He was an inspiration and a friend. He was cheerful in the face of adversity and a larger-than-life character with a gentle temperament. He was a brilliant Royal Marine and proud of the job he did.”
Cpl Deering’s mother Karen Waspe and stepfather Peter, said in a tribute: “From all the tributes Rob has received, from the highest-ranking officers to fellow Royal Marines and everyone who met him, it is clear that was much respected and loved. As his mother I am so proud of the man he became.
“Rob grew from a child with a heart of gold to a man with a heart of a lion.”
After the service shots were fired as Cpl Deering’s coffin was carried out. The service was followed by a private burial.