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Why did these soldiers die? Probe after gruelling march leaves two dead and one seriously ill

By Sam Masters

One of two soldiers who died while training for selection by the SAS has been named as questions began to focus on how the men died in the "incredibly hot" Brecon Beacons.

Lance Corporal Craig Roberts (24) from Penrhyn Bay in North Wales, died along with a fellow reservist on the hottest day of the year on Saturday.

A third soldier remains seriously ill after the incident which is thought to have involved six soldiers collapsing. Mr Roberts, a maths teacher in Lewisham, south London, had served in the Territorial Army for more than five years. The member of 3rd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment had previously completed exercises in the US with the Texas National Guard – including hot weather training designed to replicate Middle East conditions.

Mr Roberts had taken part in the four-week trial for the TA SAS reservists, ending in a 40-mile hike. The exercise would have been supervised, defence experts said, but would have involved the soldiers moving from checkpoint to checkpoint independently.

The SAS (Reserve) selection course is run twice a year and consists of two main components: "aptitude" and "continuation".

The "progressively arduous" aptitude phase is designed to select volunteers with the right qualities, including physical and mental robustness, to then go on to continuation training.

Phil Speck, who was walking in the area, told the BBC he saw soldiers struggling in the heat: "To start with they looked fine. Towards the end of the day they were feeling the heat. One soldier spent quite a period of time recovering."

The MoD said it was working with Dyfed-Powys Police to investigate the deaths. It is not expected that the MoD will name the second soldier.

BACKGROUND

According to the MoD website, the SAS (Reserve) selection course consists of two main components – "aptitude" and "continuation". The aptitude phase is designed to select volunteers with the right qualities. The cnotinuation training – after passing aptitude – is an intensive period of instruction.

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