Tributes to Scots soldier who died on Brecon Beacons training exercise

Josh Hoole from Ecclefechan, who died while on an army training exercise. Picture: Contributed

Josh Hoole from Ecclefechan, who died while on an army training exercise. Picture: Contributed

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Tributes have been paid to a “superfit” Scottish soldier who died on a training exercise in soaring temperatures.

Josh Hoole, from Ecclefechan near Lockerbie, died on Tuesday in the Brecon area of Wales while taking part in a gruelling Army course.

Corporal Hoole pictured in army fatigues. Picture: Contributed

Corporal Hoole pictured in army fatigues. Picture: Contributed

The 26-year-old, a member of The Rifles regiment, was on pre-course training for the Platoon Sergeants’ Battle Course, which is described as “both mentally and physically demanding”.

The Ministry of Defence and Dyfed-Powys Police have launched an investigation into his death, which comes three years after three soldiers lost their lives during an SAS training exercise in the Brecon Beacons in extreme temperatures.

Corporal Hoole, who was based at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, North Yorkshire, had completed two tours of Afghanistan and been to Iraq.

The Scot, who was due to get married later this year, was described by his grandfather John Craig as a “beautiful grandson”.

Soldiers from The Rifles regiment training in the Brecon Beacons the day after Corporal Hoole's death. Picture: SWNS

Soldiers from The Rifles regiment training in the Brecon Beacons the day after Corporal Hoole's death. Picture: SWNS

He added: “He was a dedicated soldier. He always wanted to be top dog. He was a superfit boy, he kept very fit.”

According to Mr Craig, the incident happened at around 6.30am. At that time, temperatures were already climbing above 17C, before reaching over 30C later in the day.

Defence minister Harriett Baldwin told the Commons Defence Committee that the MoD will be carrying out a “full investigation” into the circumstances surrounding the “very sad death” of Cpl Hoole.

The Platoon Sergeants’ Battle Course is taken by infantry soldiers who want to progress to the rank of sergeant. The course is run three times a year, with the next one set to take place in August.

Most soldiers take part in organised, and sometimes independent, pre-course training which can involve marching long distances carrying weight, and digging trenches.

Johnny Mercer, a Conservative MP and former Army officer, said the defence committee would look into the incident, which comes three months after it published a report calling for the MoD to be liable for prosecution for the deaths of armed forces personnel during training.

Lance Corporals Edward Maher and Craig Roberts were pronounced dead on the Brecon Beacons after suffering heatstroke during a 16-mile SAS test march three years ago.

Corporal James Dunsby died from multiple organ failure in Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital more than two weeks later.

A coroner ruled that neglect played a part in their deaths.

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