Soldiers crushed to death by tank during training exercise

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The Independent Online

Two soldiers were crushed to death yesterday when their tank overturned during a training exercise on Salisbury Plain.

The commander of the tank Lieutenant Paul Ralph Syred, 25, and Corporal Michael David Paterson, 28, were killed when their Challenger 2 vehicle toppled from a 6ft-high (1.8 metre) bank and flipped on to its roof on a gravel track.

Lt Syred and Cpl Paterson both had their heads outside the tank and were crushed beneath the 62-ton vehicle.

Two other soldiers were treated for minor injuries and later returned to their units. All four servicemen were from the A Squadron, 1st Royal Tank Regiment, based at Warminster, Wiltshire.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said the soldiers were preparing troops for a training exercise in Canada. "The two soldiers were not going to Canada themselves, but were acting as supervisors during a training exercise to prepare other troops for the trip," he said. "A full inquiry into this very tragic accident will take place." "

Lt Syred, a single man from Cumbria, joined the regiment last August from Sandhurst. Cpl Paterson, from Strathclyde, Scotland, had served in Northern Ireland. He was married but had no children.

The Challenger 2 tank was introduced to the British Army in 1998 as a replacement for the less sophisticated Challenger 1 tank and saw action in the Bosnia and Kosovo. There are 386 in service.