Page last updated at 21:20 GMT, Wednesday, 23 December 2009

West Sussex soldier goes missing in Tenerife

Matthew Jackson
Matthew Jackson had been looking forward to going to Afghanistan

Spanish police are searching for an 18-year-old soldier from West Sussex who has gone missing while on holiday with his girlfriend in Tenerife.

Matthew Jackson, from Crawley, is stationed in Germany with the 16th Signal Regiment and was looking forward to serving in Afghanistan.

He has not been seen since having a row with his girlfriend in the resort of Playa de las Americas on Friday.

His sister Claire Jackson said: "I'm hoping he's still alive somewhere."

She added: "I'm hoping maybe he's banged his head, he doesn't really know where he is, what he's doing and maybe just completely forgot who he is and is just wandering around."

'Couldn't wait'

Mr Jackson has been described by his family as a fun-loving teenager, who is mature for his age and committed to the Army.

He was last seen jumping over a wall near his hotel in what his girlfriend Amy Taylor, also 18, thought was a prank.

He does not have his passport or mobile phone with him.

His mother, Lyn Jackson, who has gone out to Tenerife to look for him, said he would not have gone absent without leave from the Army.

She said: "He couldn't wait to go to Afghanistan. He's been looking forward to it for so long... he wanted to go there."

Mr Jackson, an electrician and driver with the 16th Signal Regiment based at Elmpt Station in Germany, was on Christmas leave and due back at base on 4 January.

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