Soldiers killed in tank live fire explosion named

British army Challenger 2 tank, similar to the vehicle where the ammunition explosion took place.

The Telegraph, , 18 June 2017

Two soldiers who died after ammunition is believed to have exploded inside their tank have been described as “exceptionally talented”.

Cpl Matthew Hatfield and Cpl Darren Neilson, of the Royal Tank Regiment, died after an explosion inside their vehicle during a live firing exercise earlier this week.

Two other soldiers remain in a serious condition in hospital.

Matthew Hatfield, 27, known as Hattie to his friends, was one of two killed in the training incident at Castlemartin, Pembrokeshire. Credit: Wales News Service.

Lt Col Simon Ridgway, commanding officer of regiment, said the soldiers “loved what they did” and the unit had “lost two real characters and feels truly honoured to have served with them”.

“They will both be sorely missed,” he added.

Cpl Darren Neilson. Credit: Wales news service.

Both men were fathers. Cpl Hatfield, aged 27, was engaged with a young daughter and lived in Everleigh, Wiltshire.

Cpl Neilson, aged 30, was from Blackburn, Lancs, and was married with a young daughter.

Tank firing exercises have been temporarily banned after the incident during training at Castlemartin Ranges in Pembrokeshire.

The four-man crew of the Challenger 2 main battle tank was firing 120mm practice shells at targets on the Castlemartin Ranges in Pembrokeshire when the explosion occurred.

Army sources said the blast was believed to be “ammunition related”.

Each practice shell has a dummy warhead, but the same propelling charge as a combat shell.

 A spokesman for the MoD said: “A ban on tank live firing training has been put in place until the findings of the investigation are known. Further action will follow as appropriate.”



8 thoughts on “Soldiers killed in tank live fire explosion named”

    1. They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
      Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
      They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
      They fell with their faces to the foe.

      They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
      Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
      At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
      We will remember them.

      They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
      They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
      They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
      They sleep beyond England’s foam.

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