Published on 16 Jul 2013 Sections

Brecon eye-witness: nobody seemed to be supervising

There were no supervisers in evidence in the Brecon Beacons when two servicemen died, an eye-witness tells Channel 4 News.

Brecon Beacons

Lance Corporal Craig Roberts and a second soldier died on Saturday when they were training at Brecon Beacons. A third serviceman remains in a serious condition in hospital.

The Brecon Beacons in Wales is one of several locations British military use as part of their training.

The trio were part of a group training on Saturday when the mercury hit 29.5C (85.1F).

Police and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) are continuing to investigate their deaths.

Not supervised

Mark Nash, who was in Brecon Beacons with a friend on Saturday and saw soldiers training, told Channel 4 News: “At certain intervals the reservists would run past us, every five minutes or so.

“They were all alone, a couple of them were chatty and said hello, and others were quite hot and bothered, just focused on the task. They were all on their own each one of them going past.”

“They were wearing full combat gear, they were carrying big packs and rifles. They were wearing boots, trousers, and shirts with their sleeves rolled up. The packs were big, they looked heavy. I remember asking my friend what might have been in them, whether it was weights or what.

“I don’t know how far they had left to go but one of the guys did tell us they’d been going since 6.30 in the morning. It was around half past 10 then”.

They were wearing full combat gear, they were carrying big packs and rifles. Eye witness

The Brecon Beacons is a rugged and sprawling terrain and is considered an ideal for helping to prepare soldiers physically and mentally for warfare, as well as put their logistic skills to the test.

Mr Nash added: “They came up the other side of the mountain. It was quite a long trek up. It must have taken some work.

“There was no shade at all – that was our main concern for ourselves. That’s why we wanted to get out of the sun. We started coming down around the 1pm mark.

“There was no shade, it was just full heat. It was really hot – much hotter than we’re used to in the UK.

“What I do find odd was that there didn’t seem to be anybody there supervising. I would have thought they’d have people standing about at certain points to be of assistance if somebody was struggling. There could have been, but we certainly didn’t see it”.

Asking for water

One of the soliders also stopped to ask for some water.

Mr Nash added: “He [asked me] ‘I don’t suppose I could draw some water off you guys because my mate’s feeling it a bit.’

“The other guy didn’t say anything, he just looked pretty rough really.

“I didn’t think that was too odd. For someone in the military, I guess that’s something they’re taught to do. If you run out of water you’ve got to go and find it.

“The other guy was really struggling, all he had on was his pack, because his friend was carrying his rifle. You could see in his face he just wanted a break”.

Devastated at loss

In a statement issued through the MoD today, Lance Corporal Roberts’s family said: “We, Craig’s family, would like to thank all our and Craig’s friends for their kind thoughts and support.

“We are all devastated at the loss of our beloved Craig. This has left a massive hole in all our lives.

“We wholeheartedly supported Craig in his military endeavours and it gives us some comfort, though great sadness, that he died in the pursuit of his dream.

“Next month Craig was due to start a new post in the office of the Secretary of State for Education and we were all very proud of him.

“We would like to thank the Ministry of Defence family liaison officer for all his help and support in these trying times.”