Crowds Pay Respects At Scottish Soldier's Funeral

Hundreds of mourners have lined the streets of a small Scottish village to pay their last respects to a soldier who died on a training exercise.

More than 200 people, including soldiers in uniform, stood in silence as Corporal Josh Hoole's funeral cortege passed through his home village of Ecclefechan, near Lockerbie, in Dumfries and Galloway.

The hearse was led by a lone piper and carried floral tributes spelling Josh.

The procession then made its way to the Crichton Memorial church in Dumfries, where the coffin was carried by a military bearer party.

Corporal Hoole, of The Rifles, died last week in Brecon, Mid Wales, after collapsing while on pre-course training for the Platoon Sergeants' Battle Course - which is described as ''both mentally and physically demanding''.

Some MPs had linked his death with the dangers of training in the high temperatures, following the death of three soldiers during an SAS training exercise in the same area in 2013, but his father, Phillip Hoole, said it could have been down to an underlying heart condition.

Mr Hoole, 54, a former sergeant major and an Iraq veteran, told the North West Evening Mail: ''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.

''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.``

Cpl Hoole, 26, had been due to marry fiancee Rachael McKie next year and was to be best man at his brother Tyrone's wedding in Edinburgh on Saturday.

Mr Hoole said his son had been about 200m from the course finish when he collapsed.

He said it had been a normal run ''with no extra beastings'' and had been done within the confines laid down by the Army.

A cause of death is yet to be established but Mr Hoole said he suspected an arrhythmia or aneurysm in the heart.

He described his son - whose brother Tyrone is also a soldier in The Rifles - as a ''caring young man'' who ''always pushed himself 100%''.

A police investigation into his death is continuing.

Dyfed Powys Police said a post-mortem examination has been completed but the results are not expected until late September.

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