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Army

Corporal Joshua Hoole: Soldier's Father Pays Tribute To Son At Inquest

The inquest in Birmingham heard that nearly half of those taking part in the march had pulled out during the eight-mile-long fitness test.

Corporal Josh Hoole ARCHIVE CREDIT FACEBOOK

Corporal Josh Hoole served in both Iraq and Afghanistan (Picture: via Facebook).

The father of a young soldier who collapsed and died during an Army exercise has paid an emotional tribute to his son at an inquest, saying "his love lives on".

Phillip Hoole spoke at the opening day of a hearing into the death of his son, Corporal Joshua Hoole.

Mr Hoole said his son, who served with 1 Rifles, "touched everyone with his zest for life".  

"He was a young man that was going places, with a great future ahead of him," he said.

Twenty-six-year-old Cpl Hoole had been carrying 25kg of equipment when he collapsed on a hot day, 400 metres from the end of an eight-mile-long annual fitness test course in Brecon, Wales, on 19 July 2016. 

In total, 18 out of the 41 soldiers taking part that day dropped out, collapsed or were withdrawn by the course directing staff, including Cpl Hoole.

Cpl Hoole, from Ecclefechan in Dumfries and Galloway, died three years after three Army reservists suffered fatal heat illness during a SAS selection march in the Brecon Beacons.

Josh hoole
Phillip Hoole said his son "would have achieved much more" (Picture: via Facebook).

In 2017, a defence service inquiry report concluded Cpl Hoole was a "fit, capable and determined" soldier.

It said he died as a result of an undiagnosed underlying medical condition, "within the definition of Sudden Arrhythmogenic Death Syndrome" and not as a "direct result of doing the annual fitness test".

Mr Hoole disagreed and successfully applied for an inquest to be resumed into his son's death.

Speaking in court, Mr Hoole said of his son: "Had his life not been extinguished, I am sure that he would have achieved much more.

"As a son, grandson, brother, friend, peer, leader and mentor or just an acquaintance, he had the ability to make you feel better about your own life."

The inquest heard that the 2016 march was in preparation for an infantry leaders' battle course running until 30 July.

Senior coroner for Birmingham and Solihull Louise Hunt said the march was "originally due to start at 11am but did, in fact, start at 7am due to weather forecast conditions". 

By the stage the troops were half-way round the course, 10 had already withdrawn.

Corporal Josh Hoole
Corporal Josh Hoole died in July 2016 (Picture: PA).

One soldier complained of having a "pulsating head - feeling too hot", and another having "difficulty breathing due to the heat".

Around an hour into the march, Lance Corporal George Knight was withdrawn, and later described "blanking out and collapsing into a hedge".

Another soldier also withdrew after feeling "dizziness and confusion" before Corporal Hoole's collapse.

Staff Sergeant Richard Jones, a Royal Military Police senior investigator, presented evidence to the inquest about how the march had unfolded, including where soldiers had dropped out.

A forensic pathologist also told the coroner: "If it is found that heat exertion played a significant role in the death, I would say this was a sudden death associated with heat and exertion."

The inquest is expected to last four weeks.