An urgent investigation is underway after it was revealed that tissue samples from soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been kept by the Ministry of Defence.
The remains, which have been held without permission from families, were discovered last month at Bulford camp in Wiltshire. A number of body parts were also found at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford.
Tonight the Army said they're "deeply sorry" and that investigations are being carried out to identify families affected
Speaking to BBC News, Major General James Everard, Assistant Chief of the General Staff, said:
– Major General James Everard
We owe a huge apology to the families involved and those who will now be feeling stressful even if it doesn't affect them.
These were just tissue samples that we had failed to recover post-inquest and deal with in line with the families' wishes.
It's a failure of process, nothing more than that, but we absolutely recognise this will cause distress and we're deeply sorry."
– Army Spokesman
There are occasions when it is necessary for the RMP Special Investigations Branch to retain slides of forensic material from individuals killed on operations as part of their investigation - this is standard practice.
However, the RMP identified there were a small number of cases where this had been done without the correct processes being followed to inform families. It is thought there could be 60 forensic items, such as microscope slides, containing material from some individuals.
Investigations are being carried out urgently into this matter. "
The body parts and tissue of soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been kept by the Ministry of Defence without the permission of their families.
Officials have admitted that six body parts and more than 50 tissue samples were retained by the Royal Military Police.
They were discovered last month when a new manager was appointed at the Military Police's Special Investigations Branch (SIB).
An urgent investigation has been launched and the MOD are trying to identify and inform the families affected.
– ARMY SPOKESMAN
The body parts were reportedly found at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, while the tissue samples - which were kept on laboratory slides for matching or identifying the dead soldiers - were discovered at the SIB's headquarters at Bulford Garrison in Wiltshire. It is believed that because multiple samples were taken for each case, the number of families affected is likely to be less than 60."
People in Bath can find out more about plans to redevelop the city's MOD sites later today.
Draft proposals to turn the sites at Ensleigh, Foxhill and Warminster Road into thousands of new homes were approved earlier this month.
Tonight a special consultation exercise is taking place at St Andrews church hall in Foxhill. More events will be held in May.