A young soldier was in "critical" condition today following a "nasty incident" with two other men, police said.
The 19-year-old was assaulted in Swindon town centre, Wiltshire, in the early hours of Sunday and left with serious head injuries.
He was initially taken to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon, but was transferred to The John Radcliffe Hospital, in Oxford, where his condition is described as critical.
Wiltshire Police said the incident, near Beaver Brooks Jewellers & Carphone Warehouse at the junction with Havelock Street and Regents Street, involved two men who left the scene.
A police spokeswoman said little was known about what happened as officers have been unable to talk to the soldier.
Inquiries continue to establish exactly what took place, including checking CCTV, she said.
Detective Chief Inspector Bob Hamlin, leading the investigation, said: "This was a nasty incident with very serious injuries to this young soldier. I am eager for these two men to make contact with Police to help us establish exactly what happened.
"We believe there may have been a number of people about at the time and so I also want to hear from anyone who saw or heard anything at the time or who believes that they know the identity of these two men."
The first man was described as white, 6ft tall, with a shaven head or short cropped hair, average build, aged 19-20 and wearing a dark-coloured top and jeans.
The second man was described as a white male, shorter than the first man, with short hair, also aged 19-20 and wearing a dark top or jacket and dark jeans.
Wiltshire Police refused to confirm the regiment with which the soldier serves.