HUNDREDS of mourners turned out today as a tragic Royal Marine who died while running in a remote beauty spot was laid to rest.
Marine Luke Ireland was found dead in the Glen Clova area of Angus after an afternoon run in the picturesque hills north east of Forfar on November 13.
A huge emergency response was dispatched - including police, five mountain rescue teams, search helicopers and 250 of Mr Ireland’s Royal Marine colleagues - when the 20-year-old was reported missing.
However, the machine gunner’s body was found after a massive hunt in appalling weather.
Mr Ireland, of Monifieth, Angus, had celebrated his 20th birthday just a week earlier and is survived by parents, Paul and Carol, and his brother Nathan.
The service was held at St Luke’s Church in Broughty Ferry.
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Among those at the full military burial of the popular ex-Monifieth High School pupil were comrades from Arbroath’s 45 Commando, where Marine Ireland served as a member of Zulu Company.
Friends, family and colleagues wore bright colours at the family’s request during the service.
In a moving eulogy, Mr Ireland’s surviving family said: “Son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend to many Luke was a genuine, care-free and fun-loving person who touched everybody he met.
“His zest for life and his positive spirit was infectious; he was and will continue to be, a role model to many.
“As a family we are immensely proud of Luke as he put his all into everything he did and he thoroughly enjoyed everything about his life - especially his family and friends.
“Taken from us far too early but still with us in everything we do. Always in our hearts.”
Lieutenant Colonel Dan Cheesman MBE, commanding officer of 45 Commando, said: “The untimely death of Royal Marine Luke Ireland in the mountains of Glen Clova has come as a tremendous shock to all who knew him.
“Luke’s insatiable sense of humour, zest for life and moral courage made him an outstanding Royal Marines Commando.
“Reliable, intelligent and incredibly fit, he made the most of his time with Zulu Company.
“In his first assignment since training, he impressed from the outset
“He excelled in his role as a General Purpose Machine Gunner, revelled in taking part in a recent Unit exercise in California and was looking forward to deploying to Belize to conduct jungle training in the New Year.
“I have no doubt that he would have achieved his aspiration to become an elite Royal Marines Mountain Leader.
“Luke’s passing is a significant blow to 45 Commando and the Royal Marines.
“For one so junior he was extraordinarily popular and well-regarded.
“The thoughts and prayers of the whole Unit are with his family and friends at this particularly difficult time.”
And Major Ed Hall, officer commanding Mr Ireland’s Zulu company, added: “Marine Ireland was an exceptional Royal Marine.
“Fit, strong and utterly professional, he will be remembered for his magnificent sense of humour and constant grin.
“He lived and breathed the Corps, exuding an enthusiasm for soldiering that was instantly infectious and spread throughout his Troop.
“He possessed all the Commando qualities in abundance, but most of all he was unselfish, determined and committed.
“The tragic manner in which he died, seeking a physical and demanding challenge, epitomised his tough and adventurous character.”
Royal Navy engineering technician Cameron McGill - a close school friend of Mr Ireland - said: “I knew Luke for 6 years and witnessed his total dedication to fulfilling his dream of becoming a Royal Marine.
“He was the life and soul of everything we did and could always be counted on to bring humour to any situation.
“He was a true gentleman and a great friend to everyone who knew him.
“Luke was an inspiration to all and I am a better person for having been his friend. He may be gone, but he is not forgotten and will be greatly missed.
“Rest in Peace Luke, see you at the last meet.”
Following the ceremony Mr Ireland was laid to rest at Barnhill Cemetery in Dundee.
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