The family of a soldier from Northern Ireland killed in Afghanistan on Remembrance Sunday have expressed thanks for the enormous support they have been given.
Ranger Aaron McCormick was killed by a bomb while on patrol in Nad-e Ali in Helmand province. The 22-year-old was a member of 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, serving his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.
He became the 344th British soldier to die in the war-torn country since hostilities began.
Ranger McCormick’s family yesterday issued a statement.
“At this very difficult time for our family, and indeed for the entire community in Macosquin, we want to express our thanks for the enormous support and help received since the terrible news of Aaron's death in Afghanistan,” they said.
“We are a very close family within a very close and supportive community and at this tragic time we all need time and space to deal with our loss.”
The family yesterday received condolences from First Minister Peter Robinson who visited their home with MP Gregory Campbell, and MLAs Adrian McQuillan and George Robinson.
Meanwhile a special assembly will be held today for the Co Londonderry soldier at his former grammar school, Coleraine Academical Institution. Pupils at the school had recently been involved in a project to raise funds for his regiment.
Principal Dr David Carruthers paid tribute to the young man, recalling how joining the armed forces was “always what Aaron had wanted to do”.
Lt Col Colin Weir, commanding officer of Ranger McCormick’s battalion, described him as “the epitome of the Irish infantry soldier — tough, selfless, good-humoured and full of compassion”.
Ranger McCormick leaves behind his parents Margaret and Lesley, and siblings Tammy, Callie and Michael.