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Two soldiers who died after Castlemartin firing range incident named

Corporals Matthew Hatfield and Darren Neilson died after the incident in Pembrokeshire.

Two soldiers who died after an incident at a military training base in Wales have been named.

Corporals Matthew Hatfield and Darren Neilson, of the Royal Tank Regiment, died from injuries they suffered at Castlemartin firing range in Pembrokeshire on Wednesday, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

Lieutenant Colonel Simon Ridgway, Commanding Officer of The Royal Tank Regiment, confirms with deep sadness that...

Posted by The Royal Tank Regiment on Friday, June 16, 2017

Lieutenant Colonel Simon Ridgway, commanding officer of The Royal Tank Regiment, described the two men as “exceptionally talented soldiers who loved what they did”.

“The regiment has lost two real characters and feels truly honoured to have served with them,” he said. “They will both be sorely missed.”

Two other soldiers involved in the incident remain in a serious condition in hospital, the MoD said.

Castlemartin Ranges is used for tanks and armoured units to carry out direct-fire live gunnery exercises.

Paramedics were called to the scene shortly after 3.30pm on Wednesday, taking two men to Morriston Hospital, in Swansea, one to Heath Hospital in Cardiff and airlifting a fourth to a Birmingham hospital.

A 48-hour worldwide ban was subsequently imposed on the ammunition which had been fired during the fatal training exercise.

A statement from the Royal Tank Regiment – the oldest tank unit in the world, according to its website – said its investigations were continuing.

Based in Tidworth, Wiltshire, the regiment consists of three squadrons – Ajax, Badger and Cyclops – each equipped with 18 Challenger 2 battle tanks.

On June 7, the regiment posted on its Facebook page saying Badger squadron had arrived in Castlemartin for its annual firing period.

“Stay tuned for more photos and videos of the awesome firepower of the Challenger 2,” the post said.

On June 11, an update showed a video of a tank firing on the range. It was captioned: “FIRING! Here a crew from BADGER take on a tank target in Castlemartin. FEAR NAUGHT.”

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