HE was a war hero who dedicated his later years to saving the lives of others, but his own life ended in tragedy.

Distraught at losing his entire life savings – believed to be more than £100,000 – in an infamous US investments scandal, William Foxton, pictured, took his life by shooting himself in the head on a Southampton park bench.

Mr Foxton, known as Bill, had a career in the British Army serving in Ireland and Germany before enrolling in the Sultan’s Armed Forces, then working on humanitarian aid projects in Kosovo and Afghanistan.

He even met the Queen when he was made an MBE for services to disabled Omani soldiers and later awarded an OBE for saving a child from an area littered with landmines in Bosnia. But the 65-yearold’s life ended in tragedy in February – just five months after his return to his Southampton home from Afghanistan.

An inquest in Southampton heard Mr Foxton shot himself with a 9mm Browning pistol after learning he had lost his savings in the notorious multi-billion dollar Bernie Madoff scandal.

A member of the public found the father-of-two on a park bench in Rockstone Place, Southampton, with the gun in his lap.

Detective Sergeant Paul Gelman, from Southampton CID, told the inquest a suicide note was found in Mr Foxton’s pocket and a second note to his wife, Roberta, was found at their home in Canton Street when she returned home from work.

Det Sgt Gelman said: “Speaking to the family, it was a complete shock for them. In the note, Mr Foxton refers directly to the Bernie Madoff scandal and the loss of his life savings.”

The inquest heard Mr Foxton, who wore a prosthetic hand after losing his left hand during a training exercise in Oman, had worked for the United Nations and nongovernmental organisations in conflict zones around the world.

He had also been a member of the British bobsleigh team in the 1972 European Championships.

Det Sgt Gelman told the inquest Mr Foxton had acquired the pistol as a souvenir while serving as an adviser with the Sultan of Oman’s armed forces.

Recording a verdict that Mr Foxton took his own life, Southampton coroner Keith Wiseman said: “Mr Foxton could not tolerate the shame of being in financial difficulty.”