Exclusive: Agony of Scots soldier after best pal who replaced him on mission is killed by sniper
I remember when I served in Northern Ireland that a soldier requested to take my place on a escort duty and he was killed by an IRA sniper. Thats how the dice roll however my story never reached the news paper. This scottish guy should not blame himself it was the terrorist that shot his friend.
A DISTRAUGHT soldier has told how his best pal was shot dead on a mission - after replacing him because of toothache.
Rab McEwan said he would have been the one killed if Sergeant Jon Mathews had not stepped into the breach. The twist of fate that led to dad-of-two Jon being shot by a Taliban sniper emerged following his funeral.
Rab, a friend of 14 years, told pals: "I can't believe I've lost my best friend in the world because I had a toothache.
"It was typical of Jon to step in to help when I needed him. That's exactly the kind of guy he was.
"It really should have been me in the line of fire, not Jon."
Jon, 35, died of a single gunshot wound on July 28.
He was part of a foot patrol teaching the Afghan army in Helmand province when they were attacked by Taliban forces.
The soldiers were near the provincial capital Lashkar Gah and had been tipped off by villagers that enemy fighters were nearby.
As the patrol went to investigate, a shot struck Jon.
He was taken by helicopter to the medical facility at Camp Bastion but died of a single gunshot wound.
In the days after Jon's death, Rab said: "Throughout the years, he did not change. Jon was a soldier and would go anywhere and help anyone.