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  • Christina Drummond

Kingsman Ryan Ward, 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2012, Kingsman Ryan Ward of Alma Company, 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, took his own life. On the previous day he had gone to the funeral of Sergeant Gareth Thursby, who had died alongside Private Thomas Wroe in Afghanistan - they were killed by a rogue Afghan policeman who opened fire on them at a checkpoint. Kingsman Ward was recorded to have reacted swiftly and appropriately by killing the Afghan police officer. The coroner recorded a verdict that Kingsman Ward died as a consequence of his own actions, not suicide. He explained: "He was involved in a truly shocking and potentially traumatic incident. He did what he should have done and did not crack up under the stress. There is certainly no expectation he might self-harm, and yet he did, we have no idea why. I'm not going to infer intentions, there would have to be a clear note, there's nothing of that at all. It is different from a suicide because the decision to end it all is just not capable of being seen from the evidence heard." His death came as a great shock to his parents as he had been through a process of risk assessment, monitoring and interviewing to assess his response to what he had witnessed and done, and he had been making plans to meet up with friends and had spoken about re-deployment. His superior officers said that he was a brave man and an exceptional soldier, and that he served with distinction. He was buried with full military honours. Ryan, from Kendal in Cumbria, was 20 years old.

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