Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Midlothian car crash soldier Jody Herkes dies

Fusilier Jody Herkes
Image caption Fusilier Jody Herkes served with the Royal Highland Fusiliers

An "outstanding" soldier who was critically injured in a Midlothian crash that claimed the life of his colleague has died.

Fusilier Jody Herkes, from Lanarkshire, died in hospital on Wednesday.

He was left fighting for his life following the accident in Midlothian on Friday 19 August.

The 18-year-old, of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 Scots), returned from Afghanistan in April.

He was driving the car which had just left Glencorse barracks in Penicuik when it crashed.

His passenger and Fusilier colleague Jamie Candlish, 20, died at the scene. He was buried in his native Hamilton last week.

'Beyond tragic'

Fusilier Herkes, from Shotts, had been too young to go to Afghanistan with the rest of the battalion at first, but as soon as he turned 18 he "fought tooth and nail" to be deployed there, his commanding officer said.

Lt Col Dougie Graham, commanding officer of the regiment, said his death was "beyond tragic".

He added: "Fusilier Herkes was an outstanding soldier who had proven himself time and again under fire in Afghanistan.

"His dedication to the Army was truly inspirational, he embodied selfless commitment.

"As with so much of his life with this battalion he was determined not to take a back seat.

"Fusilier Herkes was full of life and his zest for fun was infectious, making him a very popular character well known throughout the whole battalion as a man who could lift morale in an instant.

"The death of Fusilier Herkes is of great personal sadness to me and this close-knit battalion.

"His death coming so close to that of Fusilier Candlish and against the backdrop of his having successfully completed a difficult tour in Afghanistan makes his loss beyond tragic."

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