Ultimate tribute to dead soldier

A TEENAGE relative of a soldier killed in Afghanistan has pledged to fight for his country as a result of his cousin's death.

Neil Puffett

A TEENAGE relative of a soldier killed in Afghanistan has pledged to fight for his country as a result of his cousin's death.

Haydn Smith, 17, was among 12 young men who took the oath of allegiance at Ipswich Town Hall on Friday and is set to begin army training in January.

Touched by the death of his cousin Aaron McClure in August last year, Haydn revealed the main reason for him joining the army was to “fulfil Aaron's dream”.

Pte McClure, of Marlow Road, Westbourne, Ipswich, was killed along with two others from the 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment when the men were hit by a bomb dropped by a US aircraft in Afghanistan.

John Thrumble, 21, from Maldon, and Robert Foster, 19, from Harlow, also died in the friendly fire incident.

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Haydn said he had been interested in joining the army since he was young but said he was doing it “for Aaron more than anything”.

He added: “That's why I'm doing it really. It made me want to do it more - to fulfil his dream and carry on with what he wanted to do. It just made me want it more.”

However, Haydn's decision has not received universal approval.

He said he spoke to Pte McClure's father, Carl, who was not keen on the idea.

Lorraine McClure, Aaron's mother, said she also has concerns but felt proud of Haydn's choice of career.

She said: “Despite everything that has happened, it is still good to hear that they are willing to put themselves out and go into the army.

“It is still a good career. You feel proud but you cannot help have that worry at the back of your mind.

“Whether it's family or anyone out there, there is that anxiety. I wish all of them the best of luck.”

The dozen young men who took the oath of allegiance are due to begin their training in January.

After 28 days they will have the option to bow out of the training but otherwise will be obliged to serve for four years.

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