Lance Sergeant Dan Collins, 1st Battalion, The Welsh Guards
Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2012, Lance Sergeant Dan Collins of the Welsh Guards died by his own hand. He had joined up at the age of sixteen and served in Northern Ireland, Iraq, Bosnia, and Afghanistan, where he survived being shot in the back, his leg grazed by a bullet, and being caught in two bomb blasts. He had loved being a soldier and is remembered by comrades as popular, bright and personable, as well as being skilled at his job.
He was devastated by the death of his closest friend, killed in an IED explosion – he was determined that his friend’s remains were returned to his family so he risked his own life to gather up his friend’s body parts. The day before he had carried a dead comrade to the medical helicopter and tended a dying comrade who had lost both legs and an arm in an explosion. After his experiences, Lance Sergeant Collins was diagnosed with PTSD, received ten months of what is described as "intermittent treatment" (appointments involved a six-hour round trip, with therapists changing so there was no progress), suffered the breakdown of the relationship with his child's mother due to his condition, and was told he had recovered and would soon be ready to return to duty. He subsequently tried to kill himself twice, succeeding at the third attempt. He tearfully recorded a farewell video message for his mother after which he dressed in combat fatigues and drove to a slate quarry where he hanged himself, but not before calling the police – he gave his name, rank and serial number, and told them he survived in Afghanistan but it was now his time to die. A search was launched, but his body was not found for several hours.
These articles provide information not only on what led up to his devastating decision, but the second one (although from 2013) gives heartbreaking statistics: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2081638/Lance-Sergeant-Dan-Collins-Afghanistan-hero-bear-horrors-war-longer.html and http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-23259865
He was buried with full military honours in his home town. Dan, from Cardigan in Wales, was 29 years old and left behind a two-year-old daughter.