A hero soldier who was killed while fighting the Taliban has been honoured after his parents recreated his army quarters on the day he died.
Private Gareth Bellingham died in a hail of bullets after being ambushed by insurgents in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.
The 22-year-old had heroically broken cover to help aid a stricken civilian injured by an explosive device on June 18, 2011 – but was fatally hit in the neck.
He was one of 29 soldiers from the 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Staffords) who were killed in Helmand Province.
More than four years after his death his parents Les and Kim have recreated his living area for an exhibition at the Staffordshire Regimental Museum, near Lichfield, Staffs.
It features Gareth’s kit bag and all it contained on the day he was killed.
The bag and its contents have been used as the centrepiece in a display made to show the everyday living conditions of Pte Bellingham and the other frontline soldiers who served in Afghanistan.
It features a bed, along with Gareth’s boots, socks, clothing and even his magazines.
His knife and fork sit on a shelf, and the walls are hung with items created by Pte Bellingham’s comrades, including a cross that was built by them in Afghanistan, mounted with a photograph of him taken on the day he died.
His boots are still covered with the sand and dust of the streets which he was wearing when he was shot.
There is also a video presentation that takes visitors through Gareth’s service, including footage taken from his head camera, when he was out on patrol searching for IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device).
The film culminates with video of a seldom-seen repatriation ceremony as it took place in Afghanistan.
The Bedspace Commemorative Exhibition was officially opened this week by Gareth’s parents.
Dad Les, 54, of Clayton, Staffs., said: “It’s an extremely proud moment. I wouldn’t say it was difficult to donate Gareth’s things, because we knew it was going to be used for a good cause.
“Gareth was the life and soul of the party, he would make friends with an empty room.”
Mum Kim, 56, added: “It means everyone who knew him, or who didn’t know him, will see him and remember him.”
Museum curator Danielle Pritchard, who created the Bedspace, said: “It was an honour and a deeply moving experience to create a space in which to present Pte Bellingham’s personal belongings. My thanks go out to Mr and Mrs Bellingham for their unceasing support.”
Included in Gareth’s belongings is a poem which he had on him when he died.
It is the same poem that was found on the body of a U.S. soldier in 1944 and ends with the lines: “Well I have to go now, Dear God, Goodbye. But now that I’ve met you, I’m not scared to die.”