Northern Ireland

Murdered British soldier Kevin McCool was member of Parachute Regiment

Major Kevin McCool died while off-duty in Kenya
Major Kevin McCool died while off-duty in Kenya Major Kevin McCool died while off-duty in Kenya

A British soldier from a mainly nationalist area in Co Armagh who was killed in Kenya is a former member of the Parachute Regiment.

Tullysaran native, Major Kevin McCool, died on November 29 after being shot.

It has been reported that the 32-year-old received his injuries after being jumped by armed men while riding a motorcycle at a local mountain.

He was due to finish his tour of duty in Kenya three days after his death.

The Ministry of Defence has declined to confirm which regiment Mr McCool belonged to at the time of his death.

Read More: 

Father of soldier killed while off-duty in Kenya pays tribute to ‘special' son

Public records show the Co Armagh native was commissioned from Sandhurst in 2014 as a second lieutenant and three years later was made a captain in the Parachute Regiment.

He was later promoted to the rank of major and has been deployed to Europe, the Middle East, the Falklands and Africa.

While it is not unheard of for people from nationalist areas to join the British army, it is unusual for them to be drawn towards the Parachute Regiment because of its actions on Bloody Sunday and the Ballymurphy Massacre.

Joseph McCool, described his son as “really special”.

A former pupil at the Integrated College Dungannon, he was a successful athlete and musician.

"He was 1,500m Ulster champion,” Mr McCool said.

“He ran for Ireland.

“He played piano, harp, tin whistle.”

He also revealed that his eldest son Fergal and wife Joan had travelled to Kenya before his son died.

"He had three days left on that tour of duty,” he said.

"He decided to go out on his scrambler motorbike for one last ride up a local mountain.

"He went up a road and two guys jumped out at him with a gun.

"It seems that he thought the gun was a dummy, he didn't think it was real.

"He made the mistaken assumption that the gun was artificial and they shot him."