SELFLESS HERO Tom Wroe died fulfilling a childhood dream.
Over the last few years, the popular 18-year-old Rifleman had immersed himself in Army life and, according to all who knew him, was “a born soldier.”
Tom couldn’t wait to get to Afghanistan and was “gutted” when his unit was deployed there in April, but he was unable to join them as he was too young.
He had to wait until he was 18 and left for Afghanistan on July 1, just four days after his 18th birthday. He was the youngest member of his platoon.
Tom, who lived at Hey Crescent, Meltham, with his parents Mick and Claire and sister Demi, 14, died on Saturday with Sgt Gareth Thursby, 29, in the south of Nahr-e-Saraj district of Helmand province.
The pair had been going to the assistance of an apparently-injured man dressed in an Afghan police uniform when he opened fire, killing them both. Their unit is due to return home in early October.
Yesterday Tom’s parents spoke emotionally of their “bubbly, fun and selfless” hero son who always thought of others before himself.
He was universally popular and had countless friends in the Army and back home.
His mother Claire described how Tom would “light up a room”.
Click here for a gallery from Tom's mum and dad showing their son down the years
The family has been inundated with cards, flowers and messages of condolence at their house and on Facebook.
Tom followed in the footsteps of his father and uncles and joined the Army as soon as he was able.
Mick spent 22 years in the Duke of Wellington Regiment and served in locations around the world, including Gibraltar, Belize, Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Iraq before leaving in 2006.
His two brothers, Tom’s uncles, also served in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, which later became part of The Yorkshire Regiment..
Mick, 48, who now works as an HGV driver, said: “We are a military family and Tom was surrounded by Army. He loved the Army so much.
“We knew all the risks and talked through all the scenarios.
“When his regiment went to Afghanistan, he was only 17 and he was gutted. He couldn’t wait to join his mates.
“We have no regrets, apart from the obvious.
“We discussed the risks, but you just don’t expect it to happen to your son. Nothing could ever have prepared us for the news.