THE BODY of a Hampshire hero who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan has return home today.

Family and friends of Sapper William Blanchard made the pilgrimage to Wootton Bassett to pay their respects to the much-loved scout leader.

The 39-year-old Territorial Army soldier was shot in a gunfight last Saturday as he tried to disarm a suspect device in Helmand Province where he was deployed in September.

Tributes for the University of Southampton graduate have been pouring in, remembering him as an “inspiration” to young Sea Scouts in Warsash and a “wonderful” husband and father.

Hundreds gathered along the High Street as Sapper Blanchard’s body was repatriated this afternoon.

As reported by the Daily Echo, plans are under way to pay a special tribute to him at this year’s Remembrance Service in Warsash where he was a much loved leader of 1st Warsash Sea Scouts for about ten years.

Paying tribute to him, group Scout leader Alistair Davidson told how he was loved by the children and was “a gentle man and a gentleman” who you would trust with your life.