Leeds & West Yorkshire

Castleford wall memorial for Afghanistan soldiers

The family of a soldier killed in Afghanistan has unveiled a memorial garden to him at his former school.

Rifleman James Backhouse, 18, from Castleford, West Yorkshire, died in an explosion with four other soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Rifles in July 2009.

The Airedale High School memorial includes a wall with the images of Rifleman Backhouse and his fallen comrades carved into it.

The memorial was funded with money raised by the soldier's mother Sharon.

A donation was also made by Wakefield Council.

Rifleman Joseph Murphy, 18, from Castle Bromwich; Rifleman Daniel Simpson, 20, from Croydon; Rifleman William Aldridge, 18, from Herefordshire, and Corporal Jonathan Horne, 28, from Walsall, also died in the explosion with Rifleman Backhouse.

The soldiers' mothers travelled from across the UK to see the memorial and to support each other during the unveiling, which drew a large crowd.

Mrs Backhouse said: "It's absolutely wonderful, all the people that have come together and that's what Airedale and Castleford's like.

"We are a good community and we all stick together and they have all chipped in to have this built.

"It just shows what they think of James and the lads."

Mrs Backhouse said raising the money for the memorial had been hard work but the project had helped her to cope with her son's death.

She said: "This has kept me going, actually building the memorial, getting it all done and everything together.

"At the end of the day I don't think I would have been here today if I didn't have something to focus on and this has been my focus point."

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