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20 Soldiers Have Died Training For SAS In Wales Since 1984

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20 Soldiers Have Died Training For SAS In Wales Since 1984

The Ministry of Defence has admitted that as many as 20 soldiers have died on a Welsh mountain range, mostly while training for the elite SAS unit.

Twice per year, potential recruits travel to the Brecon Beacons to undergo a selection process for Special Forces.

While many don't end up making it into the elite fighting force, some haven't even made it off the mountains, as the rigorous fitness and endurance training, combined with the harsh terrain, has taken its toll.

Figures going back to 1984 show that almost one soldier every year has died while training in the wilderness of South Wales.

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Now, there are calls to erect a permanent monument to those who have perished while trying to join the top class of British Armed Forces soldiers.

Pen Y Fan can be brutal in both summer and winter. Credit: PA
Pen Y Fan can be brutal in both summer and winter. Credit: PA

The proposal was put forward by a man who lost his friend while he was training in the area during SAS selection.

The anonymous soldier, who was a friend and colleague to the person that died, asked the MoD to provide details of how many potential recruits have lost their lives in the area.

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In a written letter, he said: "I've had some discussions with local councillors and politicians about a memorial for service people that lost their life in the Brecon Beacons.

"I lost a close friend and colleague there while he was training for special force selection some years ago and it is a topic close to my heart."

The figures were released in response to a Freedom of Information request.

Among the dead were 31-year-olds Corporal James Dunsby and Lance Corporal Edward Maher, as well as Lance Corporal Craig Roberts, 24.

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Corporal Joshua Hoole died during a fitness test on the hottest day of 2016, with temperatures in the area reaching 30°C. A coroner told an inquest into the tragedy she had 'grave concerns' about the military's 'ability to learn from previous mistakes'.

The SAS selection training takes place twice each year. Credit: PA
The SAS selection training takes place twice each year. Credit: PA

Roberts and Maher both died from heatstroke while taking part in a 16 mile trek, whereas Dunsby died from organ failure during extreme heat on Pen Y Fan in 2013.

That 16 mile trek over Pen Y Fan is regarded as one of the most gruelling tasks the 100 or so recruits who take part in the bi-annual selection are asked to perform.

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The recruits must make it over the mountain quickly while carrying a pack weighing 45lbs and a rifle.

On the subject of a memorial, a former SAS soldier told The Mirror: "A stone cairn with no names may be the way ahead. Anyone who dies is remembered.

"A named memorial may attract the wrong attention."

The area has been used for SAS training for decades. Credit: PA
The area has been used for SAS training for decades. Credit: PA
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A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said: "Our deepest sympathies remain with the families and friends of those who have tragically lost their lives.

"The health and safety of our personnel is a priority and we continually review training environments and methods to ensure they are as safe as possible."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: UK News, army, Wales

Tom Wood
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