06/27/2011 08:49 EDT | Updated 08/27/2011 05:12 EDT

Francis Roy, Canada Soldier, Earns Military Ceremony As Kandahar Mission Wraps Up


THE CANADIAN PRESS -- KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - More than 2,000 NATO troops turned out early in the overnight hours to bid farewell to Francis Roy, the latest Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan.

Master Cpl. Francis Roy, a member of the country's special forces regiment, was remembered as a fine soldier.

His service as a member of the elite unit was recognized in a short ceremony at the open ramp of the massive C-17 cargo plane that was to carry his body home.

Roy, 32, was found mortally wounded by fellow soldiers early Saturday at a forward operating base in Kandahar city.

His death is still under investigation by military police, but enemy action has been ruled out.

Investigators are treating it as a possible suicide. An official cause of death will come following an autopsy to be performed back in Canada.

If confirmed, it would be the second suspected case of suicide in a month.

The body of Bombardier Karl Manning, 31, a native of Chicoutimi, Que., was found by fellow soldiers at a remote base near Zangabad on May 28.

Roy is the 157th soldier to die as part of the Afghan mission since it began in 2002.

He was responsible for the transport of troops and equipment during his first special-forces tour.

With the mission wrapping up next month, most of Canada's battle group was on hand for the ceremony, making it one of the largest at Kandahar Airfield in recent memory.

Before joining the special forces, Roy had served a regular forces overseas tour in 2008-09 at Camp Mirage in the United Arab Emirates supporting the Afghanistan mission.

The military originally listed his hometown as Rimouski, Que., but it revised the information late Monday, saying Roy was born in the nearby town of Saint-Joseph-de-Lepage.

The military's directorate of health protection has figures that show suicide rates among members of the Forces is lower than in the general population.

The branch and Statistics Canada recently completed a huge study into the issue.

In 2010, out of 56,678 regular force male members, there were 12 suicides.

In the two previous years, the Forces recorded 15 suicides each year among male members.

Among females there were no suicides last year and two in 2009, as well as one each in 2008 and 2007.

Roy is the second member of the country's highly-trained special forces to die in Afghanistan.

Master-Cpl. Anthony Klumpenhower perished in a fall from a communications tower in April 2007.

He had been performing surveillance work at the time.