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'An excellent soldier and role model' - tributes to Cpl Matthew 'Hattie' Hatfield

Tributes are being paid to two soldiers from the Wiltshire-base Tank Regiment who were killed during an exercise in Pembrokeshire.

They were named on Friday by the MoD as Corporals Matthew Hatfield and Darren Neilson.

Corporals Matthew Hatfield (L) and Darren Neilson (R) were described exceptionally talented soldiers who loved what they did Credit: British Army

Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Simon Ridgway said it was with deep sadness that he could confirm "Corporals Matthew Hatfield and Darren Neilson have both died as a result of the injuries they sustained in the tragic incident at Castlemartin Ranges."

They were both exceptionally talented soldiers who loved what they did.

The Regiment has lost two real characters and feels truly honoured to have served with them; they will both be sorely missed.

The two other soldiers involved in this incident remain in a serious condition; our thoughts and prayers are with all their families and friends at this incredibly difficult time. We request that their privacy is respected.

– LIEUTENANT COLONEL SIMON RIDGWAY, COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE ROYAL TANK REGIMENT

Investigations continue into the incident in which two other soldiers were seriously injured- they remain in hospital.

It's believed an ammunition round exploded inside a tank at Castlemartin Range on Wednesday.

Tank live firing exercises by British military has also been suspended at the site as a precaution.

Cpl Hatfield 'Hattie' with his fiancee. The couple have a young daughter Credit: British Army

Cpl Hatfield, known to his friends as "Hattie", had a daughter, was engaged to be married and was living in Dorset. He was a talented rugby player and played cricket for Collingbourne Cricket Club.

'Sorely missed'In a Facebook tribute, the club described him as a "young man and brave soldier taken far too young".

The first team held a minute silence before their game on Saturday.

In a tribute from the army, Cpl Hatfield was described as an excellent soldier:

Hattie was an utterly professional, incredibly hard working and exceptionally well liked soldier.

Whether as a tank driver, gunner, operator or commander, Hattie was in his element.

He was a man who loved soldiering, loved being part of a crew and loved having a laugh with everyone he worked with.

He was an excellent role model and mentor for junior soldiers and he always put others before himself.

– Lieutenant Colonel Simon Ridgway