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Young soldier hangs himself after seeing five comrades killed in Afghanistan

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A traumatised young soldier who saw five of his comrades die in action killed himself after becoming unable to cope with the loss, his friends have claimed.

The body of Rifleman Allan Arnold was discovered by dog walkers on May 2 just hours after he had been out socialising with civilian friends while on leave.

The 20-year-old, from the 2nd Battalion The Rifles, was found hanged in a copse.

Traumatised: Rifleman Allan Arnold, 20, could not cope with the deaths of his fellow troops, it has been claimed

Traumatised: Rifleman Allan Arnold, 20, could not cope with the deaths of his fellow troops, it has been claimed.

Deadly: Seven members from the same regiment were killed in a seven-month period in Afghanistan

Deadly: Seven members from the same regiment were killed in a seven-month period in Afghanistan.

Close friend Andy Higgins, who had known Rifleman Arnold for six years, said he was unable to cope with losing so many close members of his regiment in Afghanistan.

In July 2009 Corporal Jonathan Horne and Riflemen William Aldridge, James Backhouse, Joseph Murphy and Daniel Simpson – of 2 Rifles – were all killed in a roadside IED blast in the Sangin region.

The regiment had still been reeling from the death of Rfn Adrian Sheldon, who died in action in May 2009. And a seventh member of the regiment – Rfn Phillip Allen from 2 Rifles – was also killed in Afghanistan later that year in November.

Mr Higgins said: ‘I think about five of his troop were killed in Afghanistan and he couldn’t cope. I hope his family have lots of support – I can’t imagine what they’re going through.  ‘It’s so tragic and just a massive shock.

Tragic: Corporal Jonathan Horne was among those killed by an IED in Sangin region

Rfn Arnold, from Cirencester, Gloucesterhsire, had been due to rejoin his battalion, based in Ballykinler, Northern Ireland, for another tour of Afghanistan.

Now close friends and family of the popular soldier have flooded the spot where he died, in the City Bank Road area of Cirencester, with flowers and loving letters.

Police are not treating his death as suspicious.

Killed: When Rifleman James Backhouse died in July 2009, the regiment was reeling from the death of another comrade two months earlierKilled: When Rifleman Joseph Murphy died in July 2009, the regiment was reeling from the death of another comrade two months earlier

Killed: When Riflemen James Backhouse (left) and Joseph Murphy (right) died, the regiment was already reeling from the death of another comrade two months earlier

Rfn Arnold’s heartbroken fiancée Shenice Knight wrote: ‘I’ve done nothing but think about you every day, looking back at the times we shared.

‘You were my first love and I hoped it would be the last. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you.’

Another card read: ‘I will miss you bud, your smile, your laugh. Loved you like my own.’

Friend Billy Webb, 24, added: ‘Whenever I saw him he was always such a nice guy.

‘It’s so tragic after what he went through in Afghanistan and he was so young.’

Dead: Rifleman Daniel Simpson was also killed in the roadside explosion

More than 500 people also left tributes and pictures of Rfn Arnold  on Facebook – calling him an ‘amazing soldier’ and ‘amazing son’.

His sister Shelby Arnold wrote: ‘The tears I shed are sad, but the smiles you put on my face I will never forget. You’re always with me in my heart.

‘The life you lived as my brother who I looked up to, a role model who also dedicated their life protecting our country, you were an amazing brother, an amazing son to our mother and an amazing soldier.’

Close friend Louise Townsend added: ‘I wish you would have spoken to someone ’cause there is so many people that care for you. You were an amazing best friend and I won’t ever stop thinking about you.’

Daniel Kelly added: ‘Love you brother just wish you had talked. RIP buddy will see you again one day love and God bless your family at this sad sad time.’

Rfn Arnold’s funeral was held on May 12.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said an officer would provide the young soldier’s family with support and advice.

He would not comment further until after an inquest but added: ‘Our thoughts are with them at this sad and difficult time.’

Cheltenham Coroner’s Court confirmed an inquest into the death was opened and adjourned on May 10.

Via DailyMail

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Written by Nokgiir

May 17, 2011 at 12:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. It’s hard to even begin to count the cost of war to those who experience it

    countingducks

    May 17, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    • very much so, I have friends currently active and I hope they make it back home safe. We can’t even begin to imagine what they go through on a daily basis.

      Nokgiir

      May 17, 2011 at 11:44 pm


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