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Deaths march medic 'not told to read weather guidelines'

By Matthew Vooper

Published 06/06/2015

Edward Maher was one of the reservists who died during a selection exercise (MoD)
Edward Maher was one of the reservists who died during a selection exercise (MoD)

A combat medic was "not told to read" Ministry of Defence guidelines on preventing deaths from climatic injury before a fatal SAS test march, an inquest has heard.

The soldier, known by the codename 1H, said he had "not really looked at" joint service guidance advising that military exercises should be called off if a heat injury is diagnosed.

Giving evidence at the inquest into the deaths of three reservists amid "boiling" temperatures in July 2013, 1H also conceded an air ambulance should have been on stand-by during the march.

Lance Corporal Craig Roberts, Lance Corporal Edward Maher and Corporal James Dunsby died after collapsing from the effects of heat near the end of the 16-mile (26km) "selection" test in the Brecon Beacons, South Wales.

On the fifth day of the inquest in Solihull, West Midlands, soldier 1H was asked if the air ambulance and the Welsh Ambulance Service should have been put on notice due to the weather.

The medic, a member of 34 Field Hospital who was serving alongside a Signals regiment, said: "In hindsight, they maybe should have been put on stand-by, but I didn't think to then."

Questions were also put to 1H about a joint services document containing a treatment algorithm stating that military activities should be halted if a heat injury is reported.

Coroner Louise Hunt asked 1H: "Did any of your training confirm that if you had a heat-related case, the algorithm suggests that the military activity should be stopped and all personnel involved in the activity should stop if the operational environment allows?"

Giving his answer from behind a screen, 1H responded: "I wasn't aware that all activity had to be stopped.They are just there as guidelines."

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