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Major Kevin McCool: British soldier shot dead in Kenya was just three days from end of tour | UK News

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A British soldier shot dead on a motorcycle trip in Kenya was killed just three days before he was due to finish his deployment.

Major Kevin McCool, 32, was off-duty when he was attacked on 29 November.

His father Joseph said he was on a bike trip away from base, preparing for the end of his tour of duty.

“He decided to go out on his scrambler motorbike for one last ride up a local mountain,” he said.

“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.”

Major McCool, from Northern Ireland, was commissioned from Sandhurst in 2014 and saw service in Europe, the Middle East, the Falklands, and Africa.

Britain’s army has a permanent training support unit of around 100 staff in Kenya, with an extra short-tour cohort of around 280.

Mainly based in Nanyuki, 124 miles north of Nairobi, the army’s website says it provides “demanding training to exercising units preparing to deploy on operations or assume high-readiness tasks”.

‘This guy was really special’

Paying tribute, the Ministry of Defence said Major McCool “thrived in the military environment”.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps described him as an “exceptional person and an exceptional soldier”.

His father Joseph said the army’s top brass had told him he was “loved” and “adored” by his colleagues.

“Every life is precious, but this guy was really, really special,” he added.

“He was 1,500m Ulster champion. He ran for Ireland. He played piano, harp, tin whistle.

“He went to Sandhurst. He progressed up the ranks very quickly to be a major.

“He won several military cross-country races and various sporting events. A very strong sporting guy.”

Mr McCool added: “We are incredibly proud of our son and what he has done.”

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