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Tributes paid to 'real-life hero' Thetford man Craig Mackintosh killed in action as a medic in Ukraine





A family from Thetford are in shock at the death of their brother who died while volunteering as a medic in Ukraine.

Craig Stanley Mackintosh, 48, was killed in action on Wednesday outside Kharkiv while trying to save someone's life - one of thousands of UK nationals aiding in the war effort.

Mr Mackintosh was serving in a volunteer force and on his second tour when he died.

Craig Mackintosh was killed in action in Ukraine. Picture supplied by the family
Craig Mackintosh was killed in action in Ukraine. Picture supplied by the family

His family said that he was killed out on patrol after his squad was ambushed by Russian troops.

However, due to various factors, they are having difficulties getting his body returned home and have set up a GoFundMe to raise awareness.

They feel a lack of resources as well as his body being in a dangerous area are making it difficult to retrieve - and they felt the Government have offered little assistance.

Craig as a boy. Picture supplied by the family
Craig as a boy. Picture supplied by the family

However, a funeral director in Thetford has recently offered to collect his body.

Turner Funerals said it was 'only right' it gives him a good journey home.

The director does a lot of repatriations, which are typically done by airline.

Craig's family report he tried to make everybody laugh in bad situations. Picture supplied by the family
Craig's family report he tried to make everybody laugh in bad situations. Picture supplied by the family

But this time, they will be driving to Ukraine, after clearing up passage with the relevant embassies.

This will ensure the firm's staff are with him over the course of the trip.

Craig's sister Lorna Mackintosh called him a 'real-life hero'.

Craig with his father, Stan. Picture supplied by the family
Craig with his father, Stan. Picture supplied by the family

She said: "It had always been his dream to serve in the armed forces, and watching the conflict unfold and seeing the devastation, he decided he wanted to go out to help people.

"Craig was the kind of person who would see a difficult situation and try to make someone laugh. He was a real morale booster and very funny.

"He was well-known and well-loved and earned the respect of entire villages - all he wanted to do was to help people."

Craig, also from Thetford, served in the Territorial Army, now the Army Reserves, as a teenager.

However, an inoperable cyst near his brain caused him to fail his medical exam when applying for the Army, which Lorna said caused him to 'lose his dream'.

Craig served with the Territorial Army between the ages of 16 and 23. Picture supplied by the family
Craig served with the Territorial Army between the ages of 16 and 23. Picture supplied by the family

He then worked numerous jobs throughout his life, most notably as a landscaper and gardener.

After an accident involving a chainsaw left him in constant pain, he decided to volunteer for the Ukrainian war effort, and first left for the country on March 24.

He returned briefly in April before his second tour at the beginning of this month.

Lorna revealed that this was planned to be his final tour.

She said: "He told us this would be his 'last hurrah' before 'coming back to Blighty to be a gardener' in October."

He leaves behind daughters, grandchildren, his Pa, and siblings.

His sister Claire added: "We still don't understand the full picture. We've been offered scraps of information from kind-hearted volunteers giving us what they know.

"We feel there has been a serious lack of support to help return his body to England and to those volunteering on the front lines."

Claire wishes to highlight what she perceives as the lack of support in getting volunteer veterans home to their families.

A spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in Ukraine and are in contact with the local authorities.”

It advises against travel to Ukraine and is working in a limited capacity in Kyiv.