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MoD names army sergeant who died during live firing exercise in Wales
6 March 2021, 08:21 | Updated: 7 March 2021, 08:20
A sergeant in the Welsh Guards who died after being injured in a live firing exercise has been named by the Ministry of Defence.
Sergeant Gavin Hillier had been awarded a Long Service and Good Conduct medal by the Prince of Wales, Colonel of the Welsh Guards.
It is understood he was fatally wounded during training at the Castlemartin Training Area in Pembrokeshire on Thursday.
He also served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was training ahead of a planned redeployment to Iraq in the summer, the Sun newspaper reported.
A spokesman for the MoD said: "It is with great sadness we can confirm Sergeant Gavin Hillier from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards died on March 4, 2021. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this tragic time.
"An investigation is underway and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."
In a Facebook post, Sgt Hillier's father Mark said he was "heartbroken" and "absolutely devastated".
Dyfed-Powys Police said it is leading the investigation into the death and officers are liaising with the Health and Safety Executive and the MoD.
In a statement, the force said: "An investigation has been launched into the death of a soldier at Castlemartin RAC Range following a military exercise.
"Dyfed-Powys Police were called to the site at just before 10.45pm on Thursday, March 4.
"Sadly, a man was pronounced dead shortly after. Our thoughts are with his family, who have been informed of the incident and are being supported by specialist officers.
"An investigation is under way led by Dyfed-Powys Police. Officers are liaising with the Health and Safety Executive and MoD."
Previous incidents at the Castlemartin ranges have claimed the lives of soldiers.
In 2017, Corporals Matthew Hatfield and Darren Neilson of the Royal Tank Regiment died from injuries they suffered after their tank exploded during a training exercise on a firing range.
A 21-year-old soldier, Michael "Mike" Maguire, died at Castlemartin in 2012 after being shot in the head while relaxing at a safe location just outside the training range.
A 2013 inquest into his death heard he was hit in the temple by a single machine gun bullet fired by a fellow soldier during a training exercise.
The inquest jury ruled Ranger Maguire, who was a member of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment, had been unlawfully killed.