THE ‘FIGHTING spirit’ of a fallen soldier from Southam is living on in a police dog, who has been named after him.
Private Jeff Doherty – known as JJ to friends and family – died in Helmand Province in 2008 after an attack by the Taliban.
The soldier from Southam served with the Parachute Regiment and lost his life just two days after his 20th birthday.
It was his dedication to his country and the tireless fund-raising by his family in the wake of his death which led to West Midlands Police naming the dog after him.
Police constable Terry Arnett and handler Wayne Mellings knew they had to name the black German shepherd JJ after meeting the fallen paratrooper’s mother Joyce Doherty at a military charity meeting.
PC Arnett said: “The Parachute Regiment motto is Utrinque Paratus: Ready for Anything.
“Police dog JJ has showed he’s operating in the regiment’s true spirit and I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to Jeff and 2 Para.”
And Mrs Doherty – who spent Rememberance Day at a tree planted in her son’s honour in Coventry’s Memorial Park – is delighted with the hard work JJ the dog has been doing.
She said: “”Following JJ’s death we set-up the JJ Memorial Fund − a charity raising money for injured paratroopers and their families − and after getting to know Terry he suggested naming one of their new puppies after him.
“I thought it was a lovely idea – they’ve kept me updated on his progress through training and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting JJ and his handler Wayne several times.”
The 21-month-old dog is a natural on the job and on his first few days tracked down a suspected burglar and even chased a man associated with a cannabis farm.
Mrs Doherty said: “He’s a fantastic dog, full of life, very playful and full of fighting spirit – everything we remember of JJ himself.”
PC Wayne Mellings, JJ, Joyce Doherty, and PC Terry Arnett, West Midland’s Breed Scheme Manager. (s)
Right – Joyce Doherty with JJ, the dog. (s)