Figures show that more than one in 20 military deaths over the last 15 years have been in training or exercise
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has admitted that 131 servicemen and women have died over the last 15 years in training or exercises, raising questions over whether or not the MoD is doing all it can to protect military personnel.
There were 109 deaths which took place during all forms of military training, including 28 aircraft accidents, 17 land transport accidents and 11 live fire incidents.
Ninety-eight of the military personnel died as a result of sustaining injuries through activities, such as rock climbing, parachuting, and caving. Water activities, such as kayaking or sailing, claimed five lives.
The majority of deaths were in the Army, but there were also victims from the RAF, the Navy and the Royal Marines.
The youth and inexperience of some of those who died exposes the harsh nature of military training. Thirteen of the were classed as ‘untrained’ as they were only in the initial stages of training including five under 18 years of age.
The disclosure comes as the House of Commons Defence Select Committee is carrying out an inquiry into the duty of care for personnel during military training.
David Robinson, a specialist military injury solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors and an Associate Member of the Royal British Legion Solicitors' Group, said: “The number of deaths occurring in the armed forces during training exercises is unacceptable. Our servicemen and women make a huge sacrifice to protect us and they should be able to rest assured that, at the very least, the MoD is taking its duty of care seriously.
“The fact that the 131 deaths happened in a variety of exercises is extremely worrying and, given that there are many examples of deaths across all stages and sectors of the armed forces, they are clearly not isolated incidents.
“The inquiry by the Defence Select Committee is a step in the right direction, but whatever the findings are they must be taken seriously and immediate action must be taken to prevent further fatalities. For the people who have already lost their lives and their families, it is a step that has, unfortunately, come too late.”
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