THE BROTHER of a war hero who died in Afghanistan broke down in tears yesterday as he followed in his footsteps to become a paratrooper.
Heartbroken Fin Doherty, was just six when Private Jeff Doherty was killed by a Taliban ambush in 2008, just two days after his 20th birthday.
Months later brave Fin proudly wore his fallen big brother’s beret at a parade and vowed to follow his idol into the Parachute Regiment.
And now, after a gruelling 19-week training course at Catterick Garrison, North Yorks., he has been formally handed his older brother’s beret.
Pte Doherty, now 18, burst into tears as it was given to him by Sgt Major Adam Ireland who fought alongside his brother, known as JJ.
Pte Doherty told The Sun: “It means everything to receive his beret.
“I’ve always wanted to wear his beret so that it gets to see the things he would have done had his career not been cut short.
“Now I’ve got it in my possession and I’ll keep true my promise to him.
“I stand in front of his grave every time I go and see him and I say ‘I will make your beret see what it should have seen’. Now it’s with me I’ll do just that.
“I’ve been waiting for this ever since I was six when I found out he had been killed. I’ve earned it in the same way as he did. I’ve worked hard.
“No one can take this away from me. Since he died in 2008 this is all I have ever wanted. This is for both of us. Sometimes you sit on your arse end and think what am I doing here. I could be at home, warm in bed.
“But when I found out that he was killed at the age of six this is all I have ever wanted to do.”
Pte Doherty, of Southam, Warwickshire, first passed out of the Army Foundation College in Harrogate aged 17 – after being crowned Best Recruit.
The honour saw him take charge of the 700-strong parade of junior soldiers as they marched off the square at the end of the parade.
He then completed his gruelling training at Catterick to receive the beret. Pte Doherty still has eight weeks left but now has his heart set on joining 2 Para.
He added: “JJ would probably say he was proud of me if he were here today but he’d still have a bit of crack with me saying ‘you’ve done nothing yet’.
“He’d still be trying to have a laugh but he’d be proud. To wear that maroon cap, there’s no greater pride.”
His commanding officer, Second Lieutenant Edward Watkins said: “This is an exceptionally difficult course to come through.
“For someone like Pte Doherty it means that much more to him. He’s coped with it tremendously well and he’s come out shining.
“He’s following in his brother’s footsteps. You can see how much it means to him. There are times when the course is exceptionally arduous and a lot of recruits drop out.
“But you can see he has that drive, he has something about him. He wants to be here and this means absolutely everything. The beret means so much more than just a bit of headwear.”
Pte Doherty’s brother was killed in a Taliban ambush in Helmand province on June 12, 2008 – just two days after his 20th birthday.
He was on his first tour of duty with 2 Para Battle Group.
After a gruelling 19-week training course, he has been formally handed his older brother’s beret[/caption]
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