The Military Army Blog

Dad tells of son’s pride in Army

A proud Carlisle father has paid tribute to his “dedicated and professional” son who tragically died while training with the army. Speaking exclusively to the Phillip Hoole, from the Denton Holme area of the city, said his son Corporal Josh Hoole was “extremely fit, extremely dedicated and professional”. Josh, 26, from Ecclefechan, near Lockerbie, was a member of The Rifles. He died last Tuesday in Brecon, Wales, while on a selection programme for the Platoon Sergeants’ Battle Course.

Phillip, 54, a former sergeant major in the British Army, said: “It was a normal run which took place with no extra beastings and was done in the confines laid down by the army.

“He was about 200m from the end and he told someone he wasn’t feeling too good and then he collapsed.

“Then members of the army around him and the medics did their best to save him. His cause of death at this stage is inconclusive however, Mr Hoole believes that it could’ve been down to an arrhythmia or an aneurysm in the heart. At the time of Josh’s death it was the hottest day of the year so far in that area and some MPs have rushed to link the tragedy with the dangers of training in the high temperatures, despite an investigation into the incident still ongoing.

“Josh wouldn’t have been happy with the way that people have had a knee-jerk reaction straight away simply because it was the hottest day of the year. People have started to point the finger at the army,” Phillip added.

Mr Hoole, who spent 24 years with The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, said his son was always driven to do his best.

“He always pushed himself 100 per cent, he always gave his all. He led by example. Even if he was taking part in the Carlisle parkrun with me he would be pushing himself 100 per cent, leaving his old dad in his wake,” Phillip continued.

“But he was also a very caring young man who would help anybody. All those who knew him were blessed to have spent time with him.

“Josh wouldn’t have wanted the soldiers that were with him, or the medics, to feel any personal blame. He was doing his job and he knew the risks. The way the MPs are talking, if there were more checks and balances placed on the army and they were wrapped in cotton wool the MPs would ultimately be responsible for a lack of duty of care.

“Being a soldier by the very nature of the job means that at times you have to fight in various countries in extreme climatic conditions. There’s a phrase which is simply put ‘train hard fight easy’.

“Josh was proud to be a member of the British Army, just as his brother Ty is.”

Mr Hoole called for a common sense approach when looking at the checks and balances placed on the army in the future. He also said the family were sorry for the “hurt and upset” that last week’s incident has had in bringing back memories of the deaths of three soldiers in 2013, who passed away during an SAS training exercise in the same area on one of the hottest days of that year. Mr Hoole, who now works with young people who have behaviour and emotional issues at William Howard School in Brampton, knows only too well the risks.

In the 1990s he collapsed while training on a selection course on a hot day.

“Whether it was luck or God’s divine intervention I was saved and woke up with three drips in me,” he said.

“I wanted to continue that course however, those in command wouldn’t let me for my welfare. I went back on the course and passed it. That same determination my son had and also his brother has to this day.”

Josh’s family, and his fiancee Rachael McKie who he was due to marry in Mexico next year, would like to thank everyone who has sent condolences and messages. They also reserved praise for Detective Constable Dylan Rowlands, a police liaison officer with South Wales police, The Rifle’s family, and funeral directors Jardine’s of Dumfries for their help and support during this difficult time. The tragedy comes as Josh’s older brother Ty is preparing to get married later this week. Josh was going to be the best man.

* Josh’s funeral will take place on Thursday, initially in Ecclefechan. Anyone who wishes to pay their respects is invited to the line the streets as the funeral procession makes its way down High Street in Burnbank Street at 1.15pm.

A private service will then be held at the Crichton Memorial Church in Dumfries which will be attended by his family and a large Armyrats © military contingent. Following this there will be another private service at Roucan Loch Crematorium in Dumfries.

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