Inquest hears tributes to Pendle soldier killed in Afghanistan

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Glowing tributes have been paid to an Earby soldier who was killed while serving in Afghanistan in August last year at his inquest in Burnley.

Lance Corporal Jordan Bancroft died from a single gun shot to his head in a firefight with insurgents in Helmand province on August 21st, 2010, while serving with the 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

His brother, Leighton, fought back tears as he told the inquest: “Jordan was kind with a heart of gold.

“He would do anything for anybody.

“He loved family things and was the life and soul of the party.

“He was more than just a brother - he was a good friend to all of us. He loved life.”

And Major Richard Bullock from the regiment said: “Although I did not know Jordan well, from what I have heard from his colleagues he was an outstanding soldier.”

The inquest into L/Cpl’s death was originally opened in Wiltshire in September last year and adjourned until its resumption at Burnley Town Hall on Monday, where Major Bullock told how British soldiers were working with local people against Taleban insurgents.

“We were assuring people we were there to stay and the Taleban were not going to take their area,” he said. “It was a tough call but it had to be done.”

Cpl Shaun Walsh told how he had been in charge of a group of 10 soldiers, including L/Cpl Bancroft, who had been defending a vital meeting between soldiers and Afghan elders which came under fire from insurgents.

The pair were sat together with their backs against a wall when he heard the sound of an explosion which he recognised instantly as a grenade followed by a burst of rapid arms fire.

“I then saw Jordan slumped against a wall and realised something was wrong,” he said. “I called ‘Man down’ and medics arrived but were unable to find any pulse.”

Pathologist Dr Charles Hunt gave the cause of death as a single gunshot wound to the head. He said death would have been instantaneous, the bullet from the AK47 rifle travelling at the speed of sound.

Summing up, East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor offered his condolences to L/Cpl Bancroft’s family and friends. “It is clear he loved the Army and was much loved himself. His family will always be very proud of him and he will be missed by them and his Army colleagues.

“Jordan was killed doing a job he clearly enjoyed when he came under a sustained attack from three sources. He knew nothing about it. His colleagues did all they could to save him and preserve his dignity.

“We have heard a glimpse today of the brutality of warfare and can only be impressed by the dedication, determination and bravery of the Armed services of which Jordan was a part.”

He recorded a verdict that L/Cpl Bancroft was killed while on active service.