Tragic soldier's brother 'to join Army'

THE brother of Suffolk soldier Private Aaron McClure was due to join the Royal Anglians this week so the pair could serve side-by-side, it has emerged.

By Danielle Nuttall

THE brother of Suffolk soldier Private Aaron McClure was due to join the Royal Anglians this week so the pair could serve side-by-side, it has emerged.

Lewis McClure, 18, was recently accepted by the regiment and was due to swear oath on Friday, starting basic training at Catterick in North Yorkshire next month.

Devastated family members said last night his place had now been put on hold until he decides what he wants to do in the wake of the tragedy.

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Another of Pte McClure's brothers, 12-year-old Ryan, has posted a message on networking website Bebo expressing his sorrow at the loss.

He said: “R.I.P Aaron, will always miss you and you will never be forgotten. Always in our hearts, miss you and always love you. Joining army when I'm older hopefully to make you happy.”

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Tributes poured in last night for Pte McClure, who was one of the three Royal Anglians killed in the tragedy.

Ipswich Mayor Inga Lockington said the whole town was thinking of the 19-year-old and his family.

In a statement, she said: “As the Mayor of Ipswich I send my condolences to the family and friends of Aaron McClure who tragically died as a result of friendly fire on Thursday.

“I am sure I speak for the whole town and our thoughts are with them.

“My thoughts also go to the rest of the regiment out there who will have to keep going with the knowledge of the loss of the soldiers. They must be bereaved too by the loss of three young friends and fellow soldiers.”

Dr Ron Impey, chair of governors at Westbourne High School in Ipswich, Aaron's former school, also joined the tributes last night and said his death had been an absolute shock.

He said: “He was a well-liked pupil. By coincidence, he was in the same year as my daughter.

“He was a good pupil. He always wanted to be in the Army. That was his desire.

“It's a very sad loss. I wish to pass on my condolences to the family.”

Aaron's friends and relatives swamped the Bebo website with their tributes and messages of sympathy for his family.

One friend described him as the kindest, most decent person she had ever met.

Her message read: “He had a heart of gold and would help anyone. He was a very determined young man and made us all very proud of him.

“Aaron, you had more courage than I ever will. You'll always be close to my heart, I love you so much. You will never be forgotten.

“When the stars shine Aaron, I know you will be the brightest of them all.”

Aaron, who had three brothers, Lewis, Daniel and Ryan, was also a member of Bebo and had his own page.

He talked about life being busy due to the fact he was on a six-month tour of Afghanistan and how he was hoping to receive his Lance Corporal strip after the tour.

The teenager spoke of his dreams of joining Special Forces in the future and told of his interests in all things fitness including gymnastics and boxing.

Talking about what he is scared of he said: “I've had 14-hour fire fights with the Taliban, been shot at, had rockets going over my head, missing by mere metres, but the only thing I'm scared of is snakes.”

The Ipswich Town fan said he was happiest when he was back in Suffolk seeing his family.

He flew home only last month for a two-week rest break but remained concerned about his colleagues still out in Afghanistan and felt it was his duty to go back and help them.

He told his Bebo page how he could not wait to see his family on his return to Ipswich.

Meanwhile, a growing collection of flowers and candles were left outside the teenager's home in Marlow Road by those wanting to pay their respects.

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