Muddle led to soldiers' deaths

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Muddle and errors led to two British soldiers being killed by an artillery blast during a training exercise in Canada nearly three years ago, an inquest was told yesterday. The Derby court heard that the men's trench took a direct him from a 155 shell.

Royal Lancers corporal Robert Hawkesley, 29, from Toton near Nottingham, received head injuries, and 25-year-old Corporal Martin Bailey from Devon suffered fatal blast injuries at the training site in Alberta in June 1994.

The men's families were in court to hear evidence that they died almost immediately. A military police investigation uncovered a series of mistakes, including misunderstandings over gun patterns, inaccurate orientation and contradictory regulations, the inquest heard.