Soldier who died in Salisbury Plain training had 'glittering career' ahead of him

Second Lieutenant Max George was a member of 5th Battalion The Rifles Credit: Ministry of Defence

A soldier who died after being hit by an armoured vehicle on Salisbury Plain had a glittering career ahead of him, according to his colleagues.

Second Lieutenant Max George, a member of 5th Battalion The Rifles, died on Tuesday (21 June) during a routine training exercise.

The 26-year-old suffered head injuries after a collision with a Warrior tank.

Paying tribute to him today (23 June) commanding officer Lt Col Jim Hadfield OBE said: "Max was a star that burned bright.

Stock image of Salisbury Plain Credit: PA Images

"Effortlessly impressive, he was a natural commander, who exuded fierce determination matched by selfless compassion. We loved him for it. He stood out, and still stands out; we are so much poorer for his loss.

"My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."

2Lt George was commissioned into the 5th Battalion The Rifles in December 2021 and had already carved out a strong reputation.

Marked out at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for his intellect, all round military ability and practical performance, he had been awarded the Queen’s Medal and quickly took command of 13 Platoon, D Company, 5 RIFLES.

Major Joe Murray, Officer Commanding D Company, said: "Max stood out from the crowd, and although he would have innately hated that, it was true.

"Diligent, bright-eyed, and quick off the mark, he slotted into his role commanding 13 Platoon from the off; we were only starting to understand Max’s exceptional potential. Unassuming and meticulous, Max needed very little time to bed into his role.

"Max’s death will leave a gaping hole in 13 Platoon and the wider company, who have benefitted enormously from the care and leadership he was so ably providing. Martin, Vivienne, Claudia and the wider family, our hearts go out to you."

A statement from the Ministry of Defence said: "Admired by all ranks, he was one to watch and the commander against whom everyone else measured themselves.

"Nothing fazed him; he had already represented the Battalion’s Warrior Fitness Team and was the driving force behind a company excursion to London to watch the regimental Sounding Retreat.

"This sums up Max, utterly selfless, he drew immense pride from helping Riflemen develop and grow.

"Max had a glittering career in front of him, excited by the prospect of an imminent overseas deployment to Canada and whatever might follow.

"A remarkable and talented young man who had so much to offer."

The death of 2Lt George, a Regular Officer with 5th Battalion The Rifles based in Bulford, Wiltshire, is being investigated by Wiltshire Police alongside the Defence Safety Authority.