‘Country needs to wake up’ after soldier Danny’s death

The death of former soldier Daniel Johnston was a shock to the military community
The death of former soldier Daniel Johnston was a shock to the military community

Devastated friends and colleagues of soldier Daniel Johnston have said his death should be a wake-up call for the nation.

Veterans say Daniel, who was living in Bognor, had battled with mental health issues and the army should have done more to help.

Danny’s body was found in Stoughton Down, Chichester last Wednesday. He had been reported missing the previous Sunday.

Retired Colour Sergeant Daz Dugan knew Danny for 20 years, having trained him in the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR).

The Iraq veteran – who himself overcame his battle with PTSD – urged the army to create a specialist liaison officer role to keep track of troops on a regular basis.

Mr Dugan, who lives in Bognor, said: “You’re just a number. When I left the army no one ever rang me up to check.

“I had done 25 years but that was it. There should be some after service.”

Paying tribute to his friend, he added: “Danny was absolutely top-drawer as a soldier. He had a smile on his face and was fun to be around. He always boosted the morale of the lads.”

Matthew Rugman is chairman of the PWRR Association Southern Branch and served in the same regiment as Danny.

He said the death had rocked the area’s military community, with veterans and serving soldiers in the area left devastated.

The 44-year-old said there were too many ‘loopholes’ when it came to supporting those with PTSD: “The government and the country as a whole need to wake up to what’s happening. There are guys who are suffering in silence because the systems aren’t in place to help them.

“This is what frustrates a lot of servicemen because they’re serving a country that is letting them down.”

When Daniel’s body was found police said there were no suspicious circumstances and they were not looking for anyone in connection.

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