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    Posted: 04 Dec 2008 at 2:11pm
We have decided to start a topic where we will list all the military inquest verdicts. We will add some of the completed older ones too.
    
    

Edited by Elaine - 11 Feb 2009 at 7:12pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Dec 2008 at 2:19pm
Mum's anger after inquest into death of Royal Marine son
Dec 4 2008

THE mother of a Marine killed in Afghanistan said yesterday she was "disgusted" at the outcome of an inquest into his death.

Lance Corporal Mathew Ford died in a gun battle at Jugroom Fort in Helmand province in January 2007.

His body was recovered in a daring mission when three Marines and a Royal Engineer strapped themselves to the sides of two Apache helicopter gunships after Mathew was left behind in battlefield confusion.

Yesterday, a coroner in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, said the forensic evidence was not clear enough for him to say if the Marine was hit by bullets from the Taliban or from his own colleagues.

Two experts had disagreed about what type of gun fired the round which gave Mathew his fatal head wound.

One said an AK47 assault rifle was the most likely source, while another said the bullet was consistent with NATO ssued ammunition.

Mathew, 30, grew up in Immingham, Lincolnshire, but lived in Dundee with his student fiancee, Ina.

Outside Cleethorpes Town Hall, his mum Joan said: "From the day he died, I still don't know what happened to him.

"I still don't know why he was left. I still don't know know why he was shot. I still don't know who shot him.

"All that went on in there was rubbish, total rubbish.

"At the end of the day I'm just disgusted."

Coroner Paul Kelly recorded that Mathew died from injuries sustained on active service.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Dec 2008 at 2:28pm
A Midland mother who yesterday won a three year battle with the military when a coroner criticised the army over the death of her son Gunner Kenneth Laga, aged 22, who was killed in a road accident while serving in Germany. An inquest into the death of Kenneth Laga concluded at Dudley Coroners Court yesterday with Black Country Coroner Robin Balmain recording a narrative verdict.

Mr Balmain also attacked the military over mistakes made during the run up to the accident
Gunner Laga was one of three soldiers killed when a Land Rover with an unqualified Army driver at the wheel careered out of control into a ditch in Gutersloh, Germany.

Disaster struck on a 10-mile trip between two barracks when Gunner Robert Buchan lost control while breaking the Army Land Rover speed limit as he accelerated away from a long bend in good conditions on August 31 2005.

The inquest had previously heard Gunner Buchan had never before been behind the wheel of a left hand drive military vehicle on German roads.

It was also told he had received an official permit to drive Army vehicles in that country despite not completing the required practical instruction and needing 11 attempts to pass the military theory test.

Mr Balmain branded the driver training scheme that was used “a shambles” and the official explanation why Gunner Buchan had been given a licence he was not qualified to hold as “defying belief.”

At the inquest Gunner Buchan apologised to the families saying if he could put it right he would.


Her Majesty's Coroner Mr. R.J. Balmain on 14th November 2008 who ruled:-

     "On 31st August 2005 at approximately 8.45 a.m., the Deceased was a passenger in an Army Wolf Land Rover being driven along Brockhagener Strasse, Gutersloh in Germany. The vehicle left the road to its nearside, the driver having lost control and crashed into two trees. The loss of control was due to the driver's excessive speed and lack of experience. The driver held a civilian driving licence, but was not qualified under Army Regulations to drive the vehicle. A ticket enabling him to drive had been improperly issued as he had not undergone a mandatory practical training course. The ticket was improperly issued due to a combination of individual failings, the failings of the staff in question to appreciate the Army Regulations and a failure of supervision of the Staff Sergeant in question to ensure that he had the necessary competence and recent experience to undertake his testing duties."
   
    

Edited by Elaine - 04 Dec 2008 at 2:36pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Dec 2008 at 2:47pm
Cpl Ben Nowak, Warrant Officer Lee Hopkins, Staff SgtSharron Elliott and Marine Jason Hylton

Four British military personnel were unlawfully killed in Iraq when insurgents blew up their boat with a remote-controlled bomb, a coroner has ruled.
The four died on the Shatt al-Arab River on November 12 last year when a makeshift explosive mounted on a bridge was detonated as the boat passed underneath.
The inquest in Oxford heard how their deaths may have been avoided if the Royal Marines boat had been equipped with vital bomb-jaming equipment.
Despite there being enough of the electronic counter-measures (ECMs) in theatre at the time, the stricken boat was not fitted with one.
Corporal Ben Nowak, 27, of 45 Commando Royal Marines, Warrant Officer Class 2 Lee Hopkins, 35, of the Royal Corps of Signals, Staff Sergeant Sharron Elliott, 34, of the Intelligence Corps, and Marine Jason 'Jay' Hylton, 33, of 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines, were killed when coming under attack on the notorious stretch of water near Basra.
The two-day hearing was told that the stricken boat was in a convoy of three vessels, at least one of which had an ECM.
It was hoped that kit's range would cover the boat which was caught in the blast - but it did not.
The first day of the inquest revealed that more resources should have been given to secure the bridge prior to the boat trip - but it was not.
On the second day of the inquest the court also heard that the bridge should have been searched and cleared before the boat passed under neath it - but it was not.
The coroner said this amounted to a "serious failure to follow basic practice".
Major Ed Pope, of the Royal Logistics Corps, agreed with the bleak assessment.
Coroner Andrew Walker, recording his unlawful killing verdicts, said: "This was an entirely avoidable incident if the basic principles (of military training) had been followed.
"A vulnerable point (in this case the bridge) should not be crossed unless a search of the point has been carried out."
He described the incident as a "terrorist attack."
He added: "There was no search of the area as required by basic training and the bridge, in these circumstances, should not have been negotiated.
"The protective measures (ECMs) available, carried on two of the (three) boats, did not prevent the explosion. Had all the boats carried such measures, it is more likely than not that the explosion would not have occurred."
Speaking outside the court, James Nowak, a former Royal Navy serviceman and father of one of the victims, expressed incredulity.
"Not enough was done, not enough thought was given to this. At the end of the day they made a cock-up and that's that," he said.
The inquest heard that the murders had been filmed by citizens on the river bank and the footage later broadcast on Iraqi TV.
Family members were shown the film privately during the course of the inquest.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/Sharron Elliott and Marine Jason Hylton Nov 2007.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 2008 at 6:13pm
'Wrong call' led to flood death
24 Nov 2008 17:43 GMT

A corporal made "the wrong decision" when he led a group of Army recruits over a swollen stream in which a teenage soldier died, a coroner said.

Private Andrew Borkertas was on a training exercise at Catterick Garrison in June last year when he was swept off his feet as he tried to cross the beck.

The 17-year-old, from Grantham, Lincs, was found drowned after a search.

Coroner Geoff Fell said Cpl Jason Dudley made the wrong judgment call by trying to take his men over the stream.

Mr Fell, in a narrative verdict, told the inquest sitting at Harrogate Magistrates' Court that the underlying problem was the level of the water in Risedale Beck on Hipswell Moor at the time.

The stream could normally be crossed at a ford and was usually at ankle depth.

But following heavy rainfall overnight, witnesses told the inquest the water was "knee deep".

"Cpl Dudley had to make a judgment call and in my opinion he made the wrong one," said Mr Fell.

That another platoon had made it over was "fortuitous", he added.

The coroner admitted the stream swelling was a "one in 25-year" occurrence, but said staff needed to look at the "bigger picture" when assessing risks and needed to avoid complacency.

The hearing heard that since the incident, the Army had brought in some changes including a new risk assessment of the fitness test and the beck.

Mr Simon Hilton, for the Ministry of Defence (MoD), said: "Lessons have been learned and steps taken."

The coroner said: "The potential danger caused by a beck in flood was not fully appreciated by staff.

He continued: "Andrew was swept off his feet and swept downstream. Two colleagues were unable to maintain hold of him and he was found drowned."

An Army board of inquiry will now examine whether any disciplinary action is to be taken.

The MoD made no comment after the verdict.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 2008 at 6:16pm
Pilot saw men 'flung to deaths'

An RAF pilot has told an inquest how he saw two servicemen "flung" to their deaths in a helicopter crash in Iraq.

Colour Sgt Mark Powell, 37, from south Wales, and Sgt Mark McLaren, 27, from Northumberland, were crushed under a Puma helicopter during landing in 2007.

The pilot, referred to as Witness 4, said he saw two people fall out of the right-hand door of their aircraft.

The inquest in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, has heard the Puma collided with another helicopter north of Baghdad.

The incident happened as the Puma landed near Taji in the early hours of 15 April 2007.

Colour Sgt Powell, from Porthcawl, near Bridgend, of the Parachute Regiment, and Sgt McLaren, from Ashington, of the RAF, were found dead underneath the aircraft which had rolled on to its right side.

They were on a mission as part of a task force made up of five Pumas.

A first helicopter, Puma One, landed safely but Puma Two - carrying Colour Sgt Powell and Sgt McLaren - got into difficulties as it attempted to land alongside.

Witness 4, a flight lieutenant who was piloting a third helicopter, Puma Three, said he saw the two servicemen thrown from their aircraft as he hovered at about 165ft (50m).

Speaking at the inquest from behind a curtain, he said: "I saw two people fall out of the right-hand door. It was as the nose of the aircraft was facing my aircraft, they seemed to be flung out of the door.

"It was very quick, just a flash of what I saw. It was the crewman and a soldier.

"As the main rotor started to hit the ground, quite a bit of debris and dust was thrown up. I could still make out the helicopter's outline."


Coroner David Masters told the pilot he was concerned about the lack of air-to-air communications between the helicopters.

The pilot replied: "We try hard to keep radio chatter to a minimum. The radio lines are temperamental."

He added: "It was working well that night. But if there's particularly bad interference it's sometimes unusable."

The pilot said he did not believe the helicopters were sufficiently near for their rotor blades to hit each other.

"To me, it did not look close enough for them to hit. I couldn't be 100% certain. If they had been closer, my attention would be drawn to it, because it's unusual," he said.

The coroner said in the light of the pilot's statement he would have to recall the air accident investigator who had said there was clear evidence that the blades had clashed.

The inquest will resume on Tuesday when it is expected to conclude.

    

Edited by Elaine - 05 Dec 2008 at 6:17pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2008 at 6:18pm
Death blamed on lack of equipment
2:51am Saturday 18th October 2008
© Press Association 2008


The Ministry of Defence "should hang their heads in shame" over the lack of equipment and funds that led to the death of a soldier in a minefield in Afghanistan, a coroner said.
Corporal Mark Wright, 27, was killed when a mine exploded as a Chinook helicopter attempted to rescue a stranded platoon of Paras.
Coroner Andrew Walker, who recorded a narrative verdict following a two-week inquest in Oxford, said a catalogue of serious failures had contributed to his death.
He highlighted three factors - the lack of appropriate UK helicopters in Afghanistan fitted with a winch, the downwash from the Chinook sent to the minefield, and the administrative delay in sending a suitable helicopter.
Mr Walker said the lack of suitable helicopters was "lamentable" and "simply about money". He added: "That a brave soldier is lost in battle is always a matter of deep sadness, but when that life is lost where it need not have been because of a lack of equipment and assets, those responsible should hang their heads in shame.
"This tragedy has its roots in the expectation that a small force of dedicated professional soldiers would be expected to extend the scope and number of their operations without the necessary support."
The inquest heard the Chinook was sent in to rescue troops from the Parachute Regiment's 3rd Battalion who were injured by explosions after a sniper strayed into the unmarked danger zone. The marooned soldiers requested a helicopter with a winch be sent to extract the sniper, whose leg had been blown off, but were told none was available.
Instead the Chinook, which was not fitted with a winch, was dispatched but was waved away for fear of causing further explosions as it tried to land. As it took off, a mine exploded, causing Cpl Wright, who was trying to help injured comrades, severe shrapnel wounds from which he later died.
Cpl Wright, from Edinburgh, was posthumously awarded a George Cross medal - the highest military honour for actions which are not in the face of the enemy. He was described by Mr Walker as an "exceptional soldier" who acted with "unhesitating courage in the most desperate circumstances".
Six others were hurt, including three who lost limbs, during the incident in the region of Kajaki in Helmand Province on September 6 2006. The MoD has agreed to pay compensation to the Wright family and five of the soldiers involved in the incident.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2008 at 3:01pm
MoD's neglect contributed to soldier's death, coroner says

By Terri Judd
Saturday, 29 March 2008

L/Cpl Sean Tansey, 26, was crushed while attempting to repair his Spartan armoured vehicle in Afghanistan.

A coroner launched a scathing attack on the Ministry of Defence's failure to care for its soldiers yesterday, just days after the Government attempted to gag its critics.


Andrew Walker was speaking at the inquest of Lance Corporal Sean Tansey, who was killed in Afghanistan when he was crushed beneath a Spartan armoured vehicle that he was trying to repair.

In a stinging verdict, Mr Walker said the lack of training and equipment given to the soldiers by the regiment amounted to neglect and, in the words of one witness, a gross failure.

Just 10 days ago, the Defence Secretary Des Browne was accused of trying to gag coroners after bringing a High Court test case to prevent them making negative comments, insisting it would expose the MoD to civil actions. But Mr Walker, who has been a fearless critic of the MoD, where he deemed failures had led to deaths in service, was unbowed.

The inquest heard how L/Cpl Tansey, 26, a "charming and hugely popular" man, was serving with the Household Cavalry in Sangin during the ferocious fighting which exploded in Helmand in the summer of 2006. The harsh, hot and dusty environment of the desert takes its toll on the ageing British Army vehicles and they require constant repair and maintenance.

L/Cpl Edward Sampson, who was helping Cpl Tansey as they worked on the Spartan's broken torsion bar, told the court: "There was a big clunk. The vehicle pitched forwards and Sean's head was underneath it."

Struggling to save their comrade, the soldiers did not have an adequate jack to lift the vehicle off his body and had to wait for a passing forklift to help them out.

Sergeant Major Lee Hodges of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers told the coroner that cushioning planks, known as "skidding", employed to stop falling vehicles crushing soldiers, would have saved the young man's life.

But Cpl Sampson said the team had no such planks, only "some bits of sh*tty old pallet" and wood they found in a nearby orchard. When the coroner asked if soldiers could refuse to do repair work on health and safety grounds, Cpl Sampson said: "That's not the way the Army works. If you are told to do something you do it."

Mr Walker, the assistant deputy Oxfordshire coroner, commented: "This was a matter for the MoD. It shouldn't be for soldiers to go foraging in a hostile environment to find chocks and skidding. The soldiers are caught between a rock and a hard place. If they repair a vehicle and it results in tragedy, they face criticism for that but they have no alternative but to make repairs. These are bits of wood – they are not expensive.

"I cannot begin to imagine the suffering of Lance Corporal Tansey's family. It seems to me that, from the beginning, they understood this was a tragedy that should not have happened.

"This court has heard evidence of the failure to provide basic equipment for the maintenance of vehicles, which has been described by one witness as amounting to a gross or serious failure. It is quite unfair that the soldiers should be criticised when their training was not adequate and equipment was not sufficient. For this reason, Lance Corporal Tansey lost his life ... His death was contributed to by neglect."

Fighting back tears Cpl Tansey's grandfather John Atherton, 70, spoke after the verdict to say: "The constant flow of bodies coming back is so tragic."

A MoD spokesman said: "Alongside the findings of the Royal Military Police and MoD's own investigations, we note the Coroner's comments and will ensure lessons are learnt from this tragic incident."


    

Edited by Elaine - 16 Dec 2008 at 3:06pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2008 at 3:17pm
Soldier could have lived if Army had fitted device to vehicle
Pete Bainbridge
18/ 6/2008


A FORMER Rainow schoolboy killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan could have been saved if his vehicle was fitted with a security system, an inquest revealed.

Now, the family of Guardsman Neil "Tony" Downes are to quiz the Army over his death.

Brave Tony lived with his siblings above the Durham Ox pub, on Hurdsfield Road, Macclesfield, when his parents Ronnie and Sheryl ran it in the 1990s.

Even then, as a six-year-old Rainow Primary pupil, he dreamed of joining the army.

An inquest at Stockport Magistrates’ Court heard that a system which could have stopped the bomb blast was not fitted on his vehicle.

His mother Sheryl, 44, said: "I cannot understand why all vehicles don’t have these systems fitted. It will be preying on my mind for the rest of my life. I just do not want another family to go through what I have.

"Tony was doing the job that he loved, but I will question the Army on this issue."

Neil, 20, was a gunner in an armoured vehicle in a ten-strong convoy in the volatile Helmand Province when the bomb – thought to have been activated by remote control or mobile phone – was detonated. He was blown 60 ft away.

The security device – an Electronic Counter Measure (ECM), which jams detonation mechanisms – was fitted on the vehicle in front, which protected it as it drove past the bomb, on June 9 last year.

Coroner John Pollard, who delivered a verdict of unlawful killing, said he would write to the Ministry of Defence.

He said: "It is my view that all vehicles used in this type of operation should be adapted to be able to carry their own ECM equipment.

"If there are vehicles which are not so equipped, then it should be clearly understood that the order of march should be arranged to afford protection at all times to those vehicles and that the order of march should not be deviated from, save in exceptional circumstances."

Warrant Officer Wayne Scully, who was travelling on Neil’s vehicle, said at the inquest: "I remember seeing greyness then being thrown forward. I landed on my front on the ground. I remember seeing the mangled vehicle, flames and smoke."

Neil’s body was found in a ditch. He was wearing full body armour, the coroner heard.

An MOD spokesman sent his sympathies to the family and added: "Not every vehicle is provided with individual ECM equipment. Protection was, and continues to be provided, through a combination of equipment and tactics, techniques and procedures.

"Guardsman Downes’s vehicle was under the protection of the ECM provided by other vehicles in the patrol. Regrettably, no defence system can guarantee protection against all threats."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2008 at 3:40pm
Soldier's Iraq death was unlawful, rules coroner NO vehicle in the world could have withstood the explosion which tore through an armoured carrier and killed a British soldier in Iraq, a coroner said today.
Recording a verdict of unlawful killing at Trowbridge Town Hall, coroner David Masters said no protective measures could have stopped the wire-operated projectile bomb, which ripped "a hole the size of a fist" in the Warrior.
Lance Corporal Ryan "Franky" Francis, of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh, was travelling in a Warrior infantry fighting vehicle north of Basra when the improvised explosive device (IED) detonated.
The 23-year-old, from Llanelli, died instantly when the vehicle was struck in the early hours of July 7, 2007, during a brigade operation to defeat insurgents who had attacked British and Iraqi security forces.
Mr Francis was driving one of four Warriors in a patrol of six vehicles dispatched to clear the route for a strike mission, 3EThe inquest heard a Warrior ahead of Mr Francis experienced engine trouble and pulled over. As the 23-year-old overtook the stationary vehicle, the IED detonated.
Sergeant Kelly Peters, of 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh, vehicle commander in Mr Francis's Warrior, told the coroner he suffered a broken rib during the explosion.
He said: "We got the call to move round (stationary vehicle). As the vehicle moved round that's when the explosion happened. It was pretty big.
"There was dust everywhere, because obviously we were working in the desert. Everything went black.
"I could hear my gunner screaming. Once the dust settled, there was a call from the back 'was everyone all right'.
"We tried to call for Lance Corporal Francis but he didn't answer. I was hoping it was the communications damaged.
"There was smouldering under his feet – not fire, just smouldering."
Sergeant Peters said the vehicle was protected with electronic counter security measures (ECM) and enhanced electronic security measures (EECM) — designed to detect IEDS.
But he told the coroner the EECM was turned off, as surrounding troops would interfere with its mechanism, and this was common practice.
Mr Francis's vehicle carried a vehicle commander, gunner, dismount commander, two privates, RAF photographer and an interpreter.
After the IED detonated, the patrol came under attack from small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades as they waited for assistance.
Mr Francis was taken to hospital and his death was certified. A post-mortem examination confirmed the 23-year-old died from blast wounds caused by an explosion.

    

Edited by Elaine - 16 Dec 2008 at 3:40pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Dec 2008 at 1:42pm
Shona McIsaac (Cleethorpes, Labour) First, I want to talk about the death of Lance Corporal Mathew Ford. He was sadly killed in Helmand province on 15 January 2007. His name has now been inscribed on the war memorial in the town of Immingham, where he was born and where his mother still lives. His name joins those of those who died in the first and second world wars.

I want to talk about Mathew today because we have recently had the inquest into his death, and his family have come away none the wiser. Outside Cleethorpes town hall, his mother said that from the day he died, she has not known what happened to him. She does not know why his body was left on the ground. She does not know why he was shot. She does not know who shot him. She hoped to find out from the inquest what happened, and sadly she feels that all those questions remain unanswered. There were discrepancies between the findings of the Royal Navy board of inquiry after Mathew's death and issues raised at the inquest. There was a great deal of conflicting evidence, and I feel that we owe our troops, and Mathew Ford's family, much more than that.

I hope that my hon. Friend the Deputy Leader of the House will help me to arrange a meeting between Mathew's mother and Ministers, so that she can raise her concerns about the conduct of the board of inquiry investigation. Such a meeting would also enable her to discuss some of the issues that were not investigated at the subsequent inquest. The details are very distressing, and I shall not go into them today, but I repeat that we owe it to the families of those who lose their lives serving this country to look into such matters.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jan 2009 at 9:06am
Soldier died in Afghanistan due to failures with night vision goggles
A soldier died because of a "serious failure" to properly train and equip soldiers who used night vision goggles while driving, a coroner has ruled.
Lance Corporal Jake Alderton, 22, drowned because the driver of his vehicle was driving practically blind because of "ineffective" night vision equipment. It was the first time that he had used them at night.

The Pinzgauer truck drove off a bridge and rolled upside down into a river with the sapper trapped underneath in the town of Sangin, Helmand province.

In the last year troops deploying to Afghanistan have consistently complained of not having enough equipment to train with before they deploy on operations. In many instances soldiers only use weapons, vehicles or other kit for the first time when they arrive on the front line.

L-Cpl Alderton was taking part in a pre-dawn raid on the Taliban when he was killed in November 2007 after he became trapped under the roof while acting as "top cover" look-out.

The convoy of vehicles was travelling without lights to avoid attracting the attention of the enemy.

The Pinzgauer, driven by Cpl Milan Rai, was following directly behind the lead vehicle, a Snatch Land Rover, but the convoy had to frequently stop because the driver could not see where they were going. Several times they crashed into walls and other obstacles, the London inquest was told.

Just 200 yards outside their camp at the Sangin District Centre, the Pinzgauer slipped off a narrow bridge across a stream. It rolled over and several of the occupants were lucky to escape after being submerged upside down in three feet of water in pitch black conditions.

A senior Army driving instructor said Corporal Rai should never have been allowed out of the camp without proper training in night-time conditions.

The army's accident investigator, Col William Bowles, retired, said the equipment used at the time would have made it very difficult for the driver as reflections from lights inside the cab meant his night vision goggles could not see through the windscreen.

His recommendations have led to improvements in both equipment and training since the accident, he said.

Recording a narrative verdict at Southwark Coroner's Court, south London, Coroner Andrew Walker, said: "It is abundantly clear that Corporal Rai could not see.

"My conclusion is that Lance Corporal Alderton's death was caused in part by a serious failure to ensure the driver had sufficient training for driving at night with night vision goggles, and a failure to provide effective night vision equipment."

L-Cpl Alderton's father, Keith, who attended with his wife Lesley, said: "It was the right verdict. The important message is that this lack of equipment mentality is being picked up more often, and simple changes will be life saving.

"There's nothing I can do for my son other than to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone

A post mortem later showed the soldier died from mechanical asphyxiation and drowning.

L-Cpl Alderton was described as an "exceptional soldier" with a bright future in the Royal Engineers.
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