Government reshuffle halts memorial campaign by family of Lincolnshire soldier

Nathan Hunt's name does not appear on the National Armed Forces Memorial in Staffordshire.

The father of a soldier who took his own life has written to King Charles after his campaign for a permanent memorial for his son was thrown into doubt by a government reshuffle.Derek Hunt, from Lincolnshire, has been calling for the name of Nathan Hunt to be engraved on the Armed Forces Memorial, along with the names of those who have died in the line of duty.

Mr Hunt was due to meet Veterans Minister Jonny Mercer earlier this month, before the MP was sacked when Prime Minister Liz Truss announced her new team.

He is now waiting to find out if he will be granted a meeting with Mr Mercer's replacement Leo Docherty but has written to the King to call for his support.

"[Nathan] served his country and he served it well," Mr Hunt said. "He saved a lot of lives. The men he served with said they had nothing but respect for him. I believed he should be honoured in this way."

Warrant Officer Nathan Hunt, who had done tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, served with Prince Harry and the Household Cavalry in Helmand Province in 2008 as part of a reconnaissance unit.

But he struggled with his mental health and was still a serving soldier when he was found dead at the age of 39 at his Lincoln home in January 2018.

Derek Hunt at his son's grave

Unlike thousands of his fallen comrades, Nathan's name has never been added to the memorial in Staffordshire.

The vast majority are those of service personnel killed during service or as the result of terrorist attacks. 

Exceptions are considered for personnel who have taken their own lives, including when there is direct evidence of an individual's service and death.

The Ministry of Defence said "careful consideration" is given to each case and that the decision not to include Warrant Officer Hunt’s name on the Armed Forces Memorial "does not detract from his service in the Army".

"We are eternally grateful for his service", a spokesperson said.

But Mr Hunt says documents he has seen show there was a clear link between Nathan's deteriorating mental health and what he had experienced on duty.

"I believe there was a cumulative effect of all the tours he was doing and in real terms they were quite close together - he served his country and he served it well, saved a lot of lives and the men he served with.

"I'm pressing for Nathan's name to be added - with statements and evidence I have - it definitely was down to his service so it would meet the criteria to be placed on the memorial," said Mr Hunt.

Nathan Hunt served with Prince Harry in Helmand Province in 2008

A letter sent to the family in 2021 from a group of people, including Prince Harry, described Nathan's dedication to service and the country as "indelible".

The Ministry of Defence added: "Every suicide is a tragedy and deeply felt within the Defence community. Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Warrant Officer Nathan Hunt."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.