CFB TRENTON, Ont. - Three Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan on the weekend were returned to Canadian soil Tuesday in a military aircraft.

The flag-draped caskets of Cpl. Thomas Hamilton, Pte. John Curwin and Pte. Justin Jones landed at CFB Trenton in eastern Ontario the day after the funeral service for another Canadian soldier who died in the war-torn country.

Hamilton, Curwin and Jones, who were all based at CFB Gagetown, N.B., were killed Saturday when an improvised explosive device detonated near their armoured vehicle while they were on patrol west of Kandahar City. All three were members of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment.

William McQuay, 74, was in a crowd of people gathered outside the base to pay respects to the three repatriated soldiers.

"I feel very sorry for the families," he said. "It's a real sad thing. I feel in my heart the Armed Forces shouldn't be over there. And yet there's still young guys signing up.

"I have a scrapbook of them all from Day 1 till now."

Tuesday's repatriation ceremony was the second at the base in as many weeks.

It came the day after a funeral service for the last of three Canadian soldiers killed the previous week, also by an explosive device.

Warrant Officer Robert Wilson of Keswick, Ont., was remembered at a private service held at CFB Petawawa. Cpl. Mark McLaren of Peterborough, Ont., and Pte. Demetrios Diplaros of Toronto were buried last week.

Since 2002, 103 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have died during the Afghanistan mission.

Seventeen Canadians have died as a result of improvised explosive device attacks this year alone.

Jones had returned home to Baie Verte, N.L., shortly before the roadside bomb ended his life.

During his two weeks at home, he had marked an early Christmas, his 21st birthday and his grandparents' 50th anniversary.

Jones was on his first tour in Afghanistan, where he had deployed in August. He had been expected to stay until February or March.

Hamilton, 26, was born in Truro, N.S., and grew up in Upper Musquodoboit, about 30 minutes outside Halifax on the province's eastern shore.

Curwin, a father of three, grew up in Mount Uniacke, N.S. He and his wife Laura lived in Oromocto, N.B.

His parents described their son as "forever the good guy."

They said their son met his wife when they were both just 15 years old.

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