Shot, crushed, drowned: Military training deaths revealed by MoD

© Jeff J Mitchell
Damning new figures reveal the scale of training deaths across the armed forces, with 125 soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen killed since 2000 in shooting, crushing and drowning incidents.

The army proved to have the worst record for training fatalities with 86 deaths. The Royal Navy, which includes the Royal Marines, have suffered 22 deaths during exercises in the last decade and a half.

Also in that period, 17 members of the Royal Air Force (RAF) were killed during training.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson told the International Business Times: “It will always be necessary to train and test our military personnel to the highest possible level so that they can meet the challenges to national security that we face both in the UK and overseas.

Achieving this end does involve individuals having to push themselves and take some risks. However, as an organization, we must ensure that this is balanced with the need to ensure these risks are effectively mitigated.

The fatalities are attributed to a range of factors. The new MoD figures include those of service people whose cause of death is still unconfirmed.

Fusilier Dean Griffiths of the 1st Battalion, the Royal Welsh, was killed by gunfire in September 2011 during a firing exercise, while in April 2014, Private Cameron Laing of the Royal Logistic Corps was crushed by a truck in Okehampton, Devon.

Another serviceman was also reported to have drowned during a river crossing exercise.

The figures come only a week after an inquest found the deaths of three trainee SAS reservists in 2013 was due to a failure by training staff “to properly organize and manage” a punishing route march over a Welsh mountain, which took place in scorching temperatures and with inadequate medical and logistical support.

In May, trainee Royal Marine officer Lieutenant Gareth Jenkins, 25, collapsed and died during a selection march. The cause of his death is still being investigated.