'Our hero dad will always live on in our memories'
THE children of a soldier who died in Afghanistan say their hero dad will forever be in their "minds, thoughts and memories."
Mia, Ben and Chloe paid their emotional tribute at the funeral of Sergeant Jonathan Eric Kups, from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, in a statement read out in yesterday's service at Morriston Crematorium.
The 38-year-old electronics technician, who lived in Gowerton for 10 years, died at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province on September 21.
The Ministry of Defence said his death was not believed to be due to hostile action and that an investigation has been carried out into the circumstances.
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In the eulogy, read out by the family's visiting officer Lieutenant Katrina Oates, his children said: "Dad we can't believe you're gone, you will be forever in our minds, thoughts and memories."
The children relived their memories of happy times that they had spent together on day trips and at home together as a family, during the course of the service.
The statement went on to say: "We are all missing you like crazy — you are mine and everyone's hero.
"Love you daddy and always will."
A poem written by his daughter Chloe was also read out paying tribute to her dad.
His wife Claire, also in a statement read out by Lieutenant Oates, said: "All my love now forever and always — sleep peacefully my darling."
The soldier, who was from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, first joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, back in June 1992, where he trained as an electronics technician.
In the early years of his career he specialised in radar and ground-to-air weapons, leading him to carry out an operational tour in Northern Ireland.
In 2011 Sergeant Kups moved to 104 Force Support Battalion REME before being attached to 4 Close Support Battalion REME on its tour to Afghanistan.
Jonathan's mum Andrea in a statement spoke of the agony of the loss of her "bright, popular and lovely boy."
She added: "I thank God for every second I was your mother.
"Today my pain is overwhelming — I hope one day to be able to see you again and put my arms around you."
His mum-in-law described him as "a proud Englishman" and a fierce English rugby supporter.
She added: "You will not be forgotten, especially on international day. Always be in our hearts."
Mourners poured out onto the steps of the crematorium and gathered outside to hear the service.
The hearse carrying the Union Flag-draped coffin was filled with floral bouquets, including one of white flowers in the shape of the word "Dad."
Standard bearers lowered their flags and a firing party fired shots during the course of the service and the Last Post was sounded.
Major Kevin McLoughlin, of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, described the soldier as "technically brilliant" and said "he was never found wanting."
He said: "He was well respected by his section and his unit. Kups was confident and had bags of humour and he lived life to the full."
If I Let You Go by Westlife was played at the service, which ended with Every Breath You Take by The Police.
A floral tribute from his regiment, read: "To Sergeant Jonathan Kups. Forever in our own memory from all ranks, 14th Signal Regiment Light Aid Detachment Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers." On the order of service the family thanked people for their attendance.