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Soldier's death during march due to 'medical condition'

Corporal Joshua Hoole collapsed shortly before the end of an eight-mile march.

Inquiry: Course was for promotion to platoon sergeant.
Inquiry: Course was for promotion to platoon sergeant.

A soldier who died on an army training exercise had an underlying medical condition, an inquiry has found.

Corporal Joshua Hoole, from Ecclefechan in Dumfriesshire and Galloway, collapsed just over 400 yards from the end of an eight-mile march in July 2016.

The 26-year-old, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was pronounced dead at the scene in Brecon, Wales.

The march took place on a hot day, with 15 of the 41 soldiers taking part dropping out earlier.

An inquiry by the Defence Safety Authority has now ruled he died due to an underlying medical condition, the exact details of which were not revealed publicly, which triggered Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS).

The inquiry heard the march was a fitness test as part of a training course for promotion to platoon sergeant.

Mr Hoole, a soldier with the Rifles regiment, was said to be physically healthy and did not know he had any underlying conditions.

'We lost a determined and experienced infantry soldier as a result of an underlying medical condition.'
Colonel Jim Taylor

Responding to the inquiry, Colonel Jim Taylor of the army's training branch, said: "It is of absolutely no comfort whatsoever to us, or to Cpl Hoole's family, that the service inquiry's finding is that the army did not cause the death of Cpl Hoole.

"On that fateful morning in Brecon on July 19, 2016, we lost a determined and experienced infantry soldier as a result of an underlying medical condition, which even Cpl Hoole was unaware of."

He said the platoon sergeant course was "arduous by design" to ensure troops were combat ready.

He added: "Corporal Hoole had the courage, commitment and professionalism to step forward and take on the challenge, he knew what he was doing and why and he was up for it.

"The army is not afraid to be held accountable for its actions, whether in training or on operations.

"Nobody wanted to know more than us what caused Cpl Hoole's death and if there is anything we can change or do better to reduce the risk of something like this happening again.

"We have therefore cooperated fully with this service inquiry and welcome its recommendations today."

The inquiry made several recommendations, including the surgeon general review the level of medical cover available during fitness test exercises.

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