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Soldier training deaths: MoD admits problems with 'failing' tracker system

Corporal James Dunsby suffered multiple organ failure after overheating on a training march. Credit: MoD

The Ministry of Defence has published its response to a damning coroner's report on the deaths of three army reservists, who overheated on an SAS training march in the Brecon Beacons.

Coroner Louise Hunt was critical of a new tracker system designed to identify soldiers moving slowly on a march, saying it "does not work".

In its response, sent last month and published today, the MoD admits there are "issues" with the system, and says it has put measures in place to overcome these.

The MoD's full response can be seen here.

Cpl James Dunsby from Trowbridge, died of multiple organ failure in hospital after collapsing on the march in July 2013. Lance corporals Edward Maher and Craig Roberts were pronounced dead on the Brecon Beacons.

MoD: 'We accept full responsibility for these tragic deaths'

Defence Minister Penny Mordaunt has issued an apology Credit: Ian Nicholson/PA

The Ministry of Defence has issued an apology to the family of the Wiltshire soldier who died in an SAS exercise along with the families of two other soldiers who also died.

In a written statement, Defence Minister Penny Mordaunt said the MoD had failed to minimise risks to the soldiers and promised to stick by any recommendations made by the coroner. She also said the MoD would begin its own inquiry into the tragedy and offered to meet the families of the three soldiers.

"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 risk. However, as an organisation we must ensure that this is balanced with the need to ensure these risks are effectively mitigated. In this case, we did not do this and we accept full responsibility for these tragic deaths. We are determined to learn the lessons. I am the Minister who will be responsible for taking any corrective action forward. I will be writing to the families personally and will make myself available to meet them if they wish, and to facilitate any requests they might have."

– Penny Mordaunt MP, Defence Minister

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Wiltshire MP 'appalled' by soldier deaths

Cpl James Dunsby died of multiple organ failure caused by overheating in July 2013. Credit: Ministry of Defence

The MP for South West Wiltshire says he's "appalled" by the failings that led to the deaths of three soldiers on an SAS test march.

An inquest found that the deaths of Corporal James Dunsby from Wiltshire, as well as Lance Corporals Edward Maher and Craig Roberts, were contributed to by neglect, and could have been avoided if the army's own regulations on heat illness had been followed.

Dr Andrew Murrison, a former defence minister who served in Iraq, is to ask the Ministry of Defence to ensure changes are made that will prevent a repeat of the tragedy.

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"A culture of cover-ups" and planning "on the back of a fag packet": our reporter Rupert Evelyn talks to a member of the SAS about the background to the inquest into the deaths of three soldiers on a training exercise.

The coroner ruled today that neglect played a part in their deaths, and that they would not have died if the army's own regulations on heat illness had been followed.

Coroner: Soldiers would have survived if army had followed its own rules

Cpl James Dunsby died of multiple organ failure caused by overheating in July 2013. Credit: Ministry of Defence

A coroner has ruled that neglect contributed to the deaths of three soldiers, including Corporal James Dunsby from Wiltshire, who collapsed during a 16-mile SAS training march.

Recording narrative verdicts at an inquest in Solihull, senior Birmingham coroner Louise Hunt said all three soldiers would have survived if Ministry of Defence regulations on heat illness had been followed.

Ms Hunt criticised inadequate planning, badly functioning technology, a "chaotic" response to the men's initial collapse, and "a catalogue of very serious mistakes" by many people in the organisation.

Corporal Dunsby died in hospital from multiple organ failure more than two weeks after collapsing on the march in July 2013. Lance corporals Edward Maher and Craig Roberts were pronounced dead on the Brecon Beacons after suffering heatstroke.

Army apologises for deaths of soldiers during training process

James Dunsby, from Trowbridge, suffered multiple organ failure from overheating. Credit: Ministry of Defence

The Army has apologised for the deaths of three soldiers who died during an SAS training process, after the coroner ruled that neglect contributed to their deaths.

Speaking outside the coroner's court, spokesman Brigadier John Donnelly described James Dunsby, Craig Roberts and Edward Maher as "fine soldiers", though incorrectly referring to Corporal Dunsby as James Dunsford.

Cpl James Dunsby, from Wiltshire, collapsed during the march in the Brecon Beacons in July 2013, and died from multiple organ failure in hospital two weeks later. His wife has challenged the Ministry of Defence to accept responsibility and make the right changes.

Lance corporals Edward Maher and Craig Roberts were pronounced dead on the march after suffering heatstroke.

Brigadier Donnelly said changes had already been made to the particular training procedure that led to the men's deaths, but that the Army would study the coroner's conclusions closely.

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