Soldier Dies On Firing Range

A soldier who died in a shooting incident at a military training ground was due to become a father,


Fusilier Dean Griffiths, from the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh regiment, died after the incident at an MoD training ground in Lydd, Romney Marsh, Kent, at around 2.45pm yesterday.

The incident is being investigated by police, along with the Army and Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Family and colleagues today paid tribute to the 21-year-old, from Market Drayton, Shropshire, who it emerged was to become a father.

His brother, Dewi Griffiths, said: ``Dean was fun, loving and caring and was so excited at becoming a father.

``He touched the lives of so many and we will all miss our Deano. We ask that we are given time to grieve.''

A spokeswoman for the MoD confirmed it is investigating the incident.

Lt Col Stephen Webb MC, Commanding Officer of Chester-based 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh, said: ``As a battalion we are hugely saddened by the death of Fusilier Griffiths.

``Intelligent, fit and skilful, he was an outstanding soldier with the potential for a long and very successful career in The Royal Welsh.

``He was also a thoroughly engaging person - popular and with a great sense of humour.

``He will be mourned by his many friends in the battalion and our deepest and most sincere sympathy goes to his girlfriend and his family at this very difficult time.''

An Army spokesman said: ``Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Fusilier Dean Griffiths at this difficult time.

``The matter is subject to a civil police investigation and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment further whilst this is ongoing. All inquiries regarding this matter should be directed to Kent police.''

Kent Police said they were investigating after being alerted to the incident at around 2.45pm yesterday.

A spokeswoman said they were working closely with the Army and the HSE.

In 2006, 20-year-old Guardsman Ian Wright, who served with the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head during an exercise at Lydd ranges.

The ranges, 15 miles south of Ashford, have been used for military training for more than 150 years, according to the MoD.

They are situated on the reclaimed lands of the historic Romney Marsh, estimated to be between 3,000 and 5,000 years old.

The ranges are used for live firing, with a danger area extending out to sea.

Red flags are flown during firing, when access is banned along the foreshore and Galloway's Road.