Friday, 20 April 2018
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inmemoriam

We cannot know - we may never know - if there was a causal connection between his service to our country and his death. Trooper Robert Griffiths, 24, who served in 1st the Queen's Dragoon Guards and  who survived a roadside bomb blast while driving a light tank in Afghanistan has been found hanged while at home on leave. Trooper Robert Griffiths, 24, was one of three soldiers who walked away unhurt from a potentially deadly roadside blast in November 2011.

But I think we can reasonably say that there is a price paid by our armed forces for our involvement in combat which goes beyond the immediate fatalities. Robert Griffiths is but one example.

 

The soldier, with 1st the Queen's Dragoon Guards, later described surviving the blast from the improvised explosive device (IED) as a "buzz". At the time he was driving an upgraded 35-tonne Scimitar Mk2 light tank, with heavy armour, on routine patrol in Nahr-e-Saraj in Afghanistan's Helmand province. Trooper Griffiths, who serves in what is known as the Welsh cavalry, went on to praise the role the new Scimitar played in protecting them.

He was found hanged at his parents' home in the Gower village of Bishopston, near Swansea, south Wales, last Saturday evening.  South Wales police have confirmed that they are investigating the death of a 24-year-old man at the location.

A spokesman said the soldier's family had been informed and that the death was not being treated as suspicious.

"Police are investigating the death of a soldier who was serving with 1st the Queen's Dragoon Guards," an Army spokesman told BBC Wales online. "Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time."

Trooper Griffiths finished a seven-month tour of duty in Afghanistan in April last year. His regiment is based in barracks in Paderborn, Germany, but he was back in the UK on leave over the Christmas period.

Trooper Griffiths's encounter with the potentially fatal IED was highlighted at the time in a Ministry of Defence online news release. Headlined "Soldiers survive IED thanks to Scimitar", the story goes on to chronicle the vehicle's lifesaving armour upgrade 

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British military casualties - Editorial policy

In the service of our country.

Eulogies for all personnel killed on UK operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere are posted as soon as they have been released by the UK Ministry of Defence. Each eulogy we publish for men down in operations brings a lump to the throat. We are losing the best of the best. Politicians must ensure that, when the newspaper cuttings have faded, their sacrifice has had some meaning, has helped bring about a good result. Anything else would be a waste for which they will be eternally condemned.

There is invariably at least a 24 hour gap between the official release of news of an event and the naming of the dead. This is to allow families to be informed and proper eulogoies to be produced. Occasionally families request no euologies or comment. We abide by guidance we receive on such sensitive matters. We regret that information on those who sacrifice almost as much through grave injury is seldom released by the MoD for operational reasons, and so we are unable to pay tribute.

 

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