Page last updated at 14:11 GMT, Thursday, 18 March 2010

Soldier's farewell letter 'never arrived'

Rifleman Will Aldridge
Rifleman Will Aldridge joined the Army in December 2008

The mother of an 18-year-old soldier from Herefordshire who was killed in Afghanistan, claims she has not received the farewell letter he wrote.

Rifleman Will Aldridge, 18, from Bredenbury, died in the blast in Helmand Province in July 2009 as he tried to rescue colleagues.

His mother, Lucy, 42, said he had talked about how hard it had been to write the letter.

An inquest into his death and four of his comrades starts on Friday.

Mrs Aldridge also said it had taken four months for the Ministry of Defence to locate her son's last will and testament.

She said she knew the letter would have contained her son's thoughts on his family, brothers, and girlfriend.

'Final wishes'

"It would have left some comfort to have known his final wishes," she said.

"He wasn't looking forward to writing the letter, but he knew in the event of his death it would mean so much to everyone he left behind."

Mrs Aldridge was one of seven mothers whose sons were killed on active service and who then founded the charity Afghan Heroes to help the bereaved and those on the front line.

A statement by the MoD said it apologised to Mrs Aldridge for the delay in finding Rifleman Aldridge's last will and testament.

"This was located after exhaustive searches both in theatre and in the UK.

"During these searches no other correspondence relating to Rifleman Aldridge was found."

Rifleman Aldridge was killed in one of the bloodiest roadside bomb attacks of the conflict.

Rifleman James Backhouse, 18, was killed by an explosion and when comrades tried to retrieve his body another, larger device detonated killing Riflemen Joe Murphy, 18, Daniel Simpson, 20, Corporal Jonathan Horne, 28, and Rifleman Aldridge.

The inquest into the five deaths will be held in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, on Friday.

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