South West Wales

Castlemartin tank incident soldier out of hospital

Darren Neilson and Matthew Hatfield Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Cpl Neilson (left) and Cpl Hatfield were described as "exceptionally talented soldiers"

A soldier involved in a tank incident at a live firing range where two others died has been discharged from hospital.

Royal Tank Regiment corporals Matthew Hatfield, 27, from Wiltshire, and Darren Neilson, 31, from Lancashire, died when an ammunition round exploded as they were in a tank at Castlemartin Range on 14 June.

One other soldier remains in a serious condition in hospital.

The MoD, Dyfed-Powys Police and Health and Safety Executive are investigating.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of all those killed and injured in this terrible incident."

Image caption Police investigators were at the site last week

Speaking after their deaths, Lt Col Simon Ridgway, Commanding Officer of The Royal Tank Regiment, said Cpl Hatfield and Cpl Neilson were "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," he added.

The MoD suspended tank live firing exercises as a precaution following the incident until the outcome of the investigation is known.

This applies to all British military, wherever they are in the world.

The 1st and 2nd Royal Tank Regiments merged in August 2014 to form The Royal Tank Regiment, which is based in Tidworth, Wiltshire.

The Army's website said the regiment was "preparing for a live fire exercise at Castlemartin in Wales", which was scheduled to take place at the range between Monday and Friday last week.

In May 2012, Ranger Michael Maguire died during a live firing exercise at the training base. An inquest later found he was unlawfully killed.

Image caption Castlemartin Range covers about 6,000 acres (2,400 hectares) of land on the south Pembrokeshire coast

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