Tributes as 'popular' soldier dies Darren Leslie in barracks
The family of a soldier from Northern Ireland who died in England have paid tribute to a son who “enjoyed life to the full”.
Private Darren Leslie (28), from Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, was discovered in a critical condition at St David’s Barracks in Bicester on Friday.
Efforts were made to resuscitate him but he later died.
His family — parents, Karen and Billy, sister Natasha and brothers, Ryan and Lee — said he was “immensely proud” of joining the Royal Logistic Corps (RLC). They described the Liverpool-born soldier as a much-loved son, brother, stepfather and uncle, whose smile lit up a room.
“Darren enjoyed life to the full socialising with his many friends,” they said. “He loved his football, being an avid Liverpool supporter.
“He will be missed by all his family and his very many friends.”
Friend Johnny McGough put together a video posted on Facebook of happier times.
“He really was one in a million,” he added.
Pte Leslie’s death is not being treated as suspicious. The Ministry of Defence said his death took place outside training exercises and “involved one individual”.
He had worked as a driver and had served in Afghanistan in 2014. He was awarded an Operational Service Medal.
“Throughout his time in the troop, Private Leslie was a paragon of all the best virtues of a British soldier,” said Lt Freddie Mitchell, troop commander 2 Close Support Squadron RLC.
“He was fit, robust, intelligent and highly motivated.
“In work he was constantly cheerful and I could always count on him to lead the other soldiers by example due to his staunch ethics and self-discipline.
“Socially, Private Leslie was a hugely popular and charismatic individual who never failed to seize opportunities.”
Major Rob Amor, Officer Commanding 2 Close Support Squadron RLC, said: “His cheerful, humorous character made him extremely popular within the regiment and the squadron; always the first to volunteer for tasks, he took every opportunity the British Military had to offer. His sudden loss has come as a shock to all those who worked with him and he will be sorely missed.”