Family of Private Aaron McClure, from Ipswich, killed in Afghanistan say there's a hole in their hearts 10 years on
PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 August 2017 | UPDATED: 07:15 23 August 2017
The grandmother of an Ipswich soldier killed in a 'friendly fire' attack in Afghanistan 10 years ago today has said his death "shouldn't have happened".
Vi Currie has paid tribute to “bright” and “caring” Private Aaron McClure, revealing how the family still struggle to come to terms with their tragic loss.
Aaron was just 19 when he and two other young privates from the British Army’s 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment died in Helmand Province on August 23, 2007.
The trio, who were all serving in the 7 Platoon B (Suffolk) Company, were under intense fire when a US aircraft which was called to help dropped a bomb on them instead of a Taliban position.
A decade on, and rifleman Aaron’s family still carry his memory close to their hearts.
His mother Lorraine McClure wears his military dog tag around her neck, while Mrs Currie dons a locket with his picture and a piece of his hair inside.
Mrs Currie, 65, described her grandson, who was born and raised in Ipswich and attended Halifax Primary School and Westbourne High School, as “handsome, bright, caring, loving and thoughtful”.
She added: “If I went into town he wouldn’t think twice about putting his arm around me and giving me a hug.
“He was very confident, but he had a shyness about him as well.
“There is always someone missing when we get together.
“He was my first grandchild and we absolutely loved him. He was such a nice lad.
“It’s been really difficult and it’s left a hole in our hearts. He would be 29 now - would he be married with kids? What would he be like now?
“We want to keep his memory alive.
“People don’t realise how much it physically hurts. You learn to deal with it and cope, but coming up to times like this it’s really hard. It starts to bring it all back again.
“At Christmas and birthdays as well, it’s always different without Aaron. There’s always that empty chair that he should be in.”
Aaron, who has three brothers, Lewis, 28, Daniel, 26 and Ryan, 22, was nicknamed Troy because he was always active. One of his dreams growing up was to become a PE teacher and run his own gym.
As a youngster Aaron was a member of the Army Cadets and he enlisted into the British Army in March 2006, joining the 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment in October the same year.
Aaron was described by the Ministry of Defence as “a rising star” who had a “bright future”.
Mrs Currie, a former nurse who lives in Ipswich, said she remembered the day of his death like it was yesterday.
“The phone call came about midnight,” she said. “All I could hear was Lorraine screaming down the phone saying Aaron has been killed.
“I got out of bed and got dressed, but I thought I was dreaming. I can still feel it now 10 years on. I kept thinking it wasn’t true and it was a bad dream.”
Aaron’s family still find it difficult to accept the tragic circumstances in which he died.
“It was an accident and it shouldn’t have happened,” Mrs Currie said. “I think Lorraine has had apologies, but it’s still not enough really. There’s nothing else you can do. Apologies won’t bring those boys back.”
In 2015, Ipswich Borough Council named a new road in Whitehouse ‘McClure Way’ in Aaron’s honour.
Aaron died alongside Privates John Thrumble, 21, from Mayland in Essex, and Robert Foster, 19, from Harlow, Essex,
Lieutenant General Phil Jones, Colonel of the Royal Anglian Regiment, said: “Aaron, John and Robert represented their country and their regiment with professionalism and bravery, risking danger and injury to deliver vital security gains for the people of that country.
“The regimental family remembers, with pride, those members who made the ultimate sacrifice on Operation HERRICK.”