Sapper Josh Thomas drowned in Medway, inquest hears
A soldier from Neath Port Talbot who went missing in Kent on a night out drowned in the River Medway, an inquest has heard.
The body of 18-year-old Josh Thomas was found off Rochester pier on Monday, three weeks after he was last seen.
The Royal Engineer had been based at the Brompton Barracks in Chatham. The regiment said it was "devastated at the loss of this bright young soldier".
Sapper Thomas's inquest has been adjourned to a later date.
The hearing in Maidstone on Thursday heard that his disappearance sparked a large search and his family had travelled to Kent to help.
He was last seen outside a pub in the town.'Difficult time'
In a statement, the Army in Wales said: "It is with great sadness that 1 Royal School of Military Engineering Regiment must confirm that the body of Sapper Josh Thomas was found on Monday 29 April 2013.
"Josh was reported missing after a night out in Rochester on Tuesday 9 April 2013.
"His next of kin have been informed and specially-trained officers from the Army and police are supporting his family at this very difficult time.
"The thoughts of everyone at Chatham station go out to his family and friends."