Thorough Investigation Vital After Soldier Training Exercise Tragedy

Military Expert Calls For Lessons To Be Learnt


Oliver Wicks, Press Officer | 0114 274 4649

Military specialists at national law firm Irwin Mitchell say that a thorough investigation must be a priority so lessons can be learnt to prevent a repeat of the tragic death of a soldier who was shot dead during a live firing exercise in Northumberland.

The male soldier, serving with the Royal Regiment of Scotland, died in Otterburn on Monday after sustaining a "serious head wound".

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence confirmed that the Defence Safety Authority is investigating the incident and there are currently no details on whether any other personnel were involved.

The latest statistics show that 135 UK armed forces personnel died while on training or exercise from January 2000 to 20 February 2016 and eleven of those deaths occurred during a live fire exercise.

The training area in Northumberland has been used for military training since 1911 and is the second largest live firing range in the country.

Simon Harrington, an expert in the military injuries team at Irwin Mitchell, says the number of potentially avoidable training incidents that have occurred in recent years is a worry.

Expert Opinion
“Our thoughts are with the soldier’s family and friends who will no doubt be devastated by his death. Through the work we do, we’ve seen the impact on families who are shocked by an unexpected death in training and they will need support to help them through this difficult time.

“As well as supporting the soldier’s family, the priority for the MoD has to be a thorough investigation that reports back the findings urgently to give the family answers and identify any potential lessons to reduce the risk of a tragedy like this happening again.

“Unfortunately as the figures show this is far from the first time soldiers have died in training with some of these tragic incidents occurring before they’ve even had a chance to serve their country in active combat.

“Our servicemen and women know that compared to most other day to day jobs there is an increased risk of danger when they sign up, but we have seen first-hand that many serious injuries in training could be prevented with better risk assessments and precautions.

“Obviously military training needs to be realistic to prepare our troops for war, but it is important that there is adequate protection for soldiers to prevent tragic incidents from happening.”
Simon Harrington, Partner