Scottish Soldier Killed In Army Exercise Named

Tributes have been paid to a "hugely committed'' soldier who died after being shot during a live-firing exercise.

Private Conor McPherson, 24, from The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, died after suffering a serious head wound at the Otterburn Training Area in Northumberland at around 11.15pm on Monday night.

His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Alasdair Steele, said: "Private McPherson was a capable young soldier who had previously trained in both Kenya and France.

"He was hugely committed about his career in the Army, he had aspirations to join the machine gun platoon and attend a junior leadership course at the start of next year.

"He constantly drove to develop himself physically and was well liked among his peers for his sharp wit and sense of humour.

"However, Private McPherson's true passion was to his parents and his older sister - he was part of a very close-knit family and his great joy was spending time with them at the weekends and over leave.

"The entire battalion's thoughts are very much with his family and friends.''

Private McPherson, from Paisley, Renfrewshire, enlisted into the Royal Regiment of Scotland in May 2014 as a combat infantryman.

Police and Ministry of Defence accident investigators are looking into the circumstances surrounding the incident, which happened on a firing range.

Armed Forces Minister Mike Penning said on Tuesday: "The safety of our personnel is our absolute priority and, while deaths in training don't happen often, any death is a tragedy.''

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon sent her condolences to the soldier's family, friends and colleagues.

She said: "Our Armed Forces do a difficult and dangerous job at all times, and this is another stark reminder of that. My thoughts are with all who loved this brave soldier.''

The death came little more than a month after another soldier died while on a training exercise in Brecon, South Wales, on the hottest day of the year.

Joshua Hoole, from Ecclefechan near Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, died on July 19 while on pre-course training for the Platoon Sergeants' Battle Course, taken by infantry soldiers who want to progress to the rank of sergeant.

The 26-year-old, who was based at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, North Yorkshire, and was a member of The Rifles regiment, collapsed after taking part in a fitness test near the Dering Lines infantry training centre at about 6.30am, when temperatures later peaked at just above 30C (86F).

Cpl Hoole's death came just three months after the Defence Select Committee published a report calling for the MoD to become liable for prosecution for the deaths of Armed Forces personnel.

The report found that since the start of 2000, 134 military personnel had died while taking part in training exercises - 89 from the Army, 22 from the RAF, 15 were Royal Marines and eight were from the Royal Navy.

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