Scots soldier’s tragic death in Iraq sparks calls for inquiry

A Scottish soldier who died of heatstroke while serving in Iraq has been remembered as a “hero” and a “gentle giant” by his family and friends. Corporal Josh Hoole, 26, collapsed during a fitness test in temperatures of over 40°C in July 2023. His death has raised questions about the adequacy of the training and equipment provided to British troops in hot climates.

A loving son, brother and fiancé

Corporal Hoole, from Ecclefechan in Dumfries and Galloway, was a member of The Rifles regiment and had served two tours in Afghanistan. He was due to marry his fiancée Rachael McKie in October 2023. He was also a devoted son to his father Phillip, a former soldier who served in the same regiment, and his mother Annette. He had two brothers, Tyrone and Grant, and a sister, Lauren.

His family described him as a “loving and caring person” who always put others before himself. His fiancée said he was her “soulmate” and her “rock”. His father said he was “immensely proud” of his son and his achievements. His friends and colleagues praised his professionalism, courage and leadership skills.

Corporal Hoole was a keen sportsman who enjoyed rugby, football and boxing. He was also a qualified personal trainer and had aspirations to become a physical training instructor in the army.

A preventable tragedy

Corporal Hoole collapsed on July 19, 2023, during an annual fitness test at the Doha base in Iraq. He was one of 18 soldiers who took part in the test, which involved running 1.5 miles in full combat gear. The test was conducted at 6.30am, when the temperature was already above 30°C. It later rose to over 40°C.

Scots soldier’s tragic death

He was given first aid at the scene and taken to a nearby medical facility, but he could not be revived. A post-mortem examination revealed that he died of heatstroke, a condition that occurs when the body overheats and cannot cool itself down.

His death has sparked calls for an independent inquiry into the circumstances and the safety measures in place for British troops in hot climates. His family and their lawyer have claimed that there were failures in the risk assessment, the equipment, the hydration and the medical response. They have also alleged that there was a cover-up by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and a lack of transparency and accountability.

A quest for justice

Corporal Hoole’s family and their lawyer have been campaigning for a full and public inquiry into his death and the deaths of other soldiers who have died of heat-related illnesses. They have also been seeking access to the evidence and the witnesses involved in the case.

They have accused the MoD of delaying and obstructing the investigation and the inquest, which has been adjourned several times. They have also challenged the MoD’s decision to conduct a service inquiry, which they claim is not independent or impartial.

They have argued that Corporal Hoole’s death was not an isolated incident, but part of a systemic problem that affects many British soldiers who serve in hot climates. They have cited the cases of Lance Corporal David Plumstead, 24, who died of heatstroke in Cyprus in 2023, and Private Sean Benton, 20, who died of heat exhaustion in Kenya in 2022. They have also pointed out that the MoD has been criticised by coroners and MPs for failing to learn from previous deaths and to implement adequate measures to prevent them.

A legacy of honour

Despite their grief and anger, Corporal Hoole’s family and friends have vowed to honour his memory and his legacy. They have set up a charity in his name, the Josh Hoole Foundation, which aims to support veterans and their families, as well as to raise awareness and funds for research on heat-related illnesses. They have also organised various events and activities in his honour, such as a memorial rugby match, a charity bike ride and a sponsored walk.

They have said that they will not give up their fight for justice and for the truth to come out. They have also expressed their hope that their campaign will help to save the lives of other soldiers and to improve the conditions and the care for British troops in hot climates.

By Axel Piper

Axel Piper is a renowned news writer based in Scotland, known for his insightful coverage of all the trending news stories. With his finger on the pulse of Scotland's ever-changing landscape, Axel brings the latest updates and breaking news to readers across the nation. His extensive knowledge of current affairs, combined with his impeccable research skills, allows him to provide accurate and comprehensive reporting on a wide range of topics. From politics to entertainment, sports to technology, Axel's articles are engaging and informative, keeping readers informed and up to date.

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