A young man from Norfolk who volunteered to fight in Ukraine took his own life after his experiences on the front line left him with post-traumatic stress disorder, an inquest has heard.

Harry Gregg had no formal military training other than a spell in the Army Cadets but decided to fly out to help defend the country following its invasion by Russia in 2022.

He ended up fighting in the trenches where he witnessed the deaths of comrades and reported seeing the aftermath of Russian atrocities against civilians.  

Eastern Daily Press: Liz TrussLiz Truss

He died after returning to his home in Thetford and an inquest into his death was held in Norfolk this week.

Speaking after the hearing, his family explained how his decision to go to Ukraine was prompted by controversial comments by Liz Truss - his local MP and foreign secretary at the time.

She said she "absolutely" supported any Britons who wanted to travel to fight the Russians, arguing they would be joining a battle "for democracy".

However, Conservative colleagues criticised her, saying it would be reckless and illegal to go and fight and Downing Street distanced itself from her remarks.

Eastern Daily Press: Harry Gregg (cente) in the trenches in Ukraine

At the time, in February 2022, Mr Gregg was 23.

His mother Sandi Gregg said at this point he made up his mind to go, despite his only military experience being six months in the Army Cadets, at the age of 11. 

“He told me ‘Mum, they need us’," she said. 

“He said to me, ‘I have done some bad things, so I want to give back to society’. 

“Harry felt that he was needed and that he could help them.   

“He contacted the [Ukraine] embassy and found out what he needed to do. Within days, he’d booked himself on a flight and off he went.”



This would be the first of three visits to the war-torn country. 

Ms Gregg recounted how, when he first landed in a neighbouring country, he missed his bus to the Ukraine border so had to get a taxi. 

Eastern Daily Press: War-torn UkraineWar-torn Ukraine

Concerned that he was being driven the wrong way, he called his mother to check his location and direction on Google Maps to make sure he “had not been captured by the Russians”. 

Once his mother was able to confirm he was travelling in the right direction, he got settled in the taxi, only to be left stranded at a service station.  

He eventually managed to hitch a lift in a lorry, after the driver said he was going to the border, only to be told there was a different border for foot passengers.

With the help of aid workers, he eventually made it to the front line and joined a training camp.  



The camp was later bombed by the Russians. Mr Gregg was not hurt but a friend suffered serious injuries. 

It was during his third visit to the country that he actually found himself fighting with the Ukrainian armed forces. 

He was nicknamed “Eagle” by his comrades and assigned to the 48th Battalion. 

“He told me about things that he had seen which he knew would stick in his head,” Ms Gregg added.

“They were being shelled quite badly.  

“In the trenches, as they were being shot at, his comrade told him to keep his head down. Ten minutes later he was shot in the head and Harry had to put his friend in a body bag.” 



He saw other horrors, including the mutilation of civilians, among them children.

His mother added: “He went out with the best intentions to try to help.

Eastern Daily Press: Harry "Eagle" Gregg (right)

“He met some phenomenal people there.  

“When he came back from Ukraine, he was not himself. 

“He had PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and we weren’t able to get him the help he needed to deal with that.”



At the inquest into his death, Norfolk Coroner’s Court heard that Mr Gregg took his own life after struggling with PTSD. 

In a statement to the court, at County Hall, his mother said his mental state was “very rough”.

She wrote: “He was suffering badly from PTSD from having fought on the front lines in Ukraine. 

“He couldn’t find any help for that sadly.”

On December 14, he had been due to go go-karting and clubbing with friends as a birthday treat but they had been unable to contact him.

The next day, after still not hearing from him, they asked for a welfare check to be carried out. 

On arrival, his body was seen through the letterbox of the front door.

Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. It was the day after his 25th birthday.

Area coroner Samantha Goward said: “It’s clear from the evidence that Mr Gregg had been to the GP with some concerns saying he’d returned from Ukraine and thought he may be suffering from PTSD. 

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“But unfortunately, he chose not to attend two appointments that were arranged for him with a mental health worker. 

"There's nothing to suggest he’d given any indication to end his life at that time.”

She recorded a brief narrative that concluded: “Mr Gregg died due to a deliberate hanging but his intent is unknown, and his cognition may have been impaired by the use of recreational drugs”. 



Paying tribute to him after the inquest, Ms Gregg said: “He was a cheeky chappie and a little sod, but he was my little sod and I loved him dearly. 

“Harry was loved by many people. That was clear by the amount of people at his funeral.  

“As a son, he had a wicked sense of humour.   

“He used to bounce through the door. I always knew when he was about. His personality filled the room.  

“He was very loving, caring - if he valued you and loved you, he would give you his last penny. 

Eastern Daily Press: Harry Gregg

“All of his friends lived in the Thetford area, and he described the town as his happy place.  

“He went to Ukraine because he knew people needed help.”  

The week before his death, Mr Gregg completed a resin flooring course with a close friend, passing it with “flying colours”.

He had been “very excited” about preparing to go into business together. 

Ms Gregg said she still has sections of the work he completed but she cannot yet bring herself to look at them. 


  • To pay tribute to a loved one, email norfolkobituaries@newsquest.co.uk  
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