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Garry McCarthy was a subordinate and lifelong friend of Major Paul Harding. For three decades they had served together in a family regiment, travelling the world on operational service and duty. Like Major Paul Harding, Garry was selected for a Late Entry Officer Commission after serving 20 years in the ranks and quickly became an expert in soldier welfare. By 2007 he had become one of the most experienced officers in managing the aftermath of servicemen killed on duty. Exhausted and emotionally drained from previous tours of duty, he was given leave to miss an imminent deployment to Iraq. Far from proving to be the required respite it left McCarthy as the only officer available to support the Harding family through the most traumatic period of their lives.