We are not meant to kill our troops in training – of that there can be no argument

Soldiers will be put at risk on the battlefield if the Ministry of Defence is held liable for deaths during training, a former head of the army in Afghanistan has warned.

Defence chiefs risk facing corporate manslaughter prosecutions for training fatalities after a committee of MPs called for a long-standing protection to be removed.

But one retired military commander warned such a move could lead to training becoming “sterile” and risk free which could result in more deaths on the battlefield because troops will not be fully prepared.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Colonel Richard Kemp said more British soldiers would have died in recent wars if the training they had received had not been tough and with an element of danger.

With respect, Colonel Kemp is missing the point here. There will be no “dumbing down” of training.  It has to remain realistic – but not at the cost of  3 lives lost in one incident. In these extreme circumstances unless there are penalties imposed nothing will change.

I agree it is a difficult challenge to get it right but in circumstances where it is blatantly obvious that circumstances on the ground have changed – such as weather conditions or water shortage – and that  lives will be lost if training goes ahead, is it not simpler to cancel the training to a more suitable climatic day when water is available? We are not meant to kill our troops in training.  Of that there can be no argument.

 

Hilary Meredith