A Windsor-based fallen soldier who was reportedly crushed by an elephant in his first deployment after completing his training returned to the UK for the final time yesterday (Tuesday).

The body of Guardsman Mathew Talbot, of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, based in Windsor’s Victoria Barracks, Sheet Street, was flown into the Brize Norton base and driven through Oxfordshire to the John Radcliffe Hospital, where an autopsy will take place.

The 22-year-old died on Sunday, May 5, in the African country of Malawi on his first deployment, taking part in an anti-poaching mission.

Veterans from numerous conflicts and council leaders gathered at the St Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, by the entrance to the hospital in Oxfordshire, to pay their respects.

A Ministry of Defence statement did not confirm the cause of his death but reports in the local press said he had been crushed by an elephant.

His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ed Launders, described Gdsm Talbot as a “determined and big-hearted” man, who devoted his life to serving his country.

When his death was confirmed last Tuesday, friends and colleagues also paid tribute to Gdsm Talbot, describing him as an "exceptionally kind and friendly individual".

A keen photographer and Frank Sinatra fan, he spent his spare time learning the local language in Malawi and produced several photo albums documenting his life in the country.