WOOTTON BASSETT, England (AFP) - Thousands of people paid their respects on Tuesday to eight soldiers killed in Britains bloodiest 24-hour period in Afghanistan. Crowds lined the streets as the coffins draped in Union Jack flags were driven slowly through the small town of Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire, southwest England, after the bodies were flown to a nearby airbase. Friends and relatives of the dead tossed flowers on to the hearses and the sound of sobbing could be heard above a ripple of applause. The families of the dead soldiers, three of whom were 18-year-olds, earlier attended a private ceremony at a chapel of rest after the coffins were unloaded one by one from a transport plane at the RAF Lyneham base. Five of the servicemen repatriated were members of the 2nd Battalion The Rifles who died in two roadside explosions near Sangin in Helmand province on Friday. Corporal Jonathan Horne, 28, and Riflemen William Aldridge, James Backhouse and Joseph Murphy, all 18, were rescuing comrades from an earlier blast when they were killed in a second explosion. Murphy was carrying Rifleman Daniel Simpson, 20 who was injured by the first makeshift bomb when both were killed in the subsequent blast. Aldridge was attempting to reach casualties from the first blast, despite being wounded himself. His aunt, Alison Aldridge, 40, who was in the crowd in Wootton Bassett, said: It is extremely sad that his life was taken so swiftly, but I take comfort from the fact that he had two very fulfilling years rather than a lifetime of regrets.