‘LOVING FATHER’: Sergeant Mark Foley, of The Light Dragoons, who was killed in a military vehicle while training at the Warcop training centre.
THE family of a Hull-born soldier who died at an Army training centre say they hope lessons have been learned from his death.
Sergeant Mark Foley, 31, a member of The Light Dragoons, was killed in a car accident at the Warcop training centre in June last year.
At an inquest into his death, the coroner urged the British Army to improve its training for drivers and tighten up on seat- belt wearing, after it was revealed Sgt Foley would probably have survived had he been wearing a safety harness.
The inquest heard Sgt Foley was a veteran of Bosnia and Iraq and had been in a vehicle blown up in Afghainstan.
Coroner Alan Sharp, who led the inquest in Kendal, said: “The fatal injuries suffered by Sgt Foley were caused by his failure to wear his safety harness.
“It really is tragic that, after all the dangers Sgt Foley had gone through in a distinguished Army career, he should lose his life on a training exercise.”
The family, in a statement read by their solicitor, welcomed the coroner’s action, saying they hoped “lessons had been learned”.
The father-of-two, who lived in Norfolk, died when he was flung from an armoured vehicle he was commanding in an exercise.
The accident came at the end of shooting practice, with both the gunner Lance Corporal Joshua Osbourne and Sgt Foley firing live ammunition from their machine guns.
The inquest heard it was accepted in standing orders that commanders had the discre- tion to remove safety harnesses for tactical reasons while firing.
But it also heard it was comm- on practice for the belts to remain unfastened after firing stopped, contrary to regulations.
In this case, the vehicle was being driven 500 metres back to a debriefing when, having gone over a brow, Trooper Dominic Paley felt a bump at a v-junction with a side track.
He lost control and the vehicle spun 180 degrees, before hitting a grass verge with a ditch.
Sgt Foley was flung from the vehicle, which then rolled over and crushed him.
His widow, Kelly Anne, paid tribute to her childhood sweetheart, who she met when they were both in the Army Cadets in Hull, aged 13.
They have two daughters together, Emily, now nine, and Hannah, seven.
She said: “He was a loving, doting father and loved getting involved in school projects when back home in Hull.”
He had served in Bosnia, Iraq and Canada training as a gun operator and driver.
In 2009, he had been in a vehicle blown up by an Improvised Explosion Device in Afghanistan.
Mr Sharp said the accident was caused by the inexperience of the driver Trooper Dominic Paley when the vehicle went out of control.
He recorded a conclusion of accidental death.
Remembrance week is always a poignant time of year for me, as someone who has spent most of their career supporting the UK s Armed Forces on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan .
Those who have died friends or strangers and the families that they left behind are never far from my thoughts.
On Sunday, I hosted a Remembrance Service which was attended by all the UK military personnel serving within the EU Force (EUFOR) here, including almost 100 troops from A Squadron, The Light Dragoons, who arrived here in July to strengthen EUFOR .
Their role has been to contribute to EUFOR s overall awareness of what is going on at the local level in different parts of the country .
They have done a fantastic job, in the best traditions of the British Army, and I know that they have enjoyed meeting a huge number of people from all over the country, as they have travelled around in their distinctive Jackal vehicles.
Light Dragoon in their Jackals
The Light Dragoons association with this country began in 1993 . During the course of the 1990s, the Regiment deployed here 13 times probably more than any other unit in the British Army first as part of the UN Peacekeeping Force, and later with IFOR . At the service on Sunday, I laid a wreath at the memorial to the 59 UK Service personnel who died bringing peace and stability to Bosnia and Herzegovina .
Amongst them, we were honouring the memory of Lieutenant Richard Madden and Troopers John Kelly and Andrew Ovington of the Light Dragoons, all of whom died on 28 January 1996, when their vehicle hit a mine in Titov Drvar.
Remembering Service in the UK Residence
Yesterday, I attended another Remembrance Service, this time at Camp Butmir .
100 years after the armistice that ended the First World War, troops from the 22 nations that comprise EUFOR stood together and solemnly commemorated those who have died on all sides during the wars of the 20th and 21st centuries .
It was particularly poignant to be in Sarajevo, the place which started the chain of events that would pitch us on different sides of the conflict, and to see British and Austrian troops now firm allies and brothers-in-arms here in Bosnia and Herzegovina stand together to remember their common dead.
British and Austrian troops in Bosnia and Herzegovina stand together to remember their common dead
Today, it seems quite natural that British troops should be commanded by an Austrian General . But that this is the case is to the credit of all those who worked for peace and reconciliation in Europe after the wars of the last century . The great statesmen who forged the European Union and NATO achieved what force of arms could not, and brought peace and prosperity to the continent .
Next year will be the twentieth anniversary of the Dayton Peace Agreement .
And it is my hope that the freshly-elected leaders of this country will show the same foresight and humanity, and work together for the benefit of all the people of this country .
There could be no greater tribute to the memory of all those military or civilian who have died.
With EUFOR Commander, Major General Heidecker
There is only one more week to go to nominate your unsung community hero for the Stars of Norfolk Awards.
More than 20 judges will be looking at the dozens of entries for the event which celebrates people across the county at the EDP headquarters in Norwich on Tuesday October 1.
The awards, which were launched in June, have attracted more than 200 nominations and the categories range from Search and Rescue Person of the Year and Police Person of the Year to Fire Service Person of the Year and Small Business Community Support of the Year.
The winners will be announced on October 18 at St Andrew s Hall, Norwich.
Organiser Mick Parker said: The Stars of Norfolk Awards have met with the most amazing response from the people of Norfolk .
We have some wonderful nominations which will give the judges a very difficult task.
The awards night looks set to be a powerful, emotional and rewarding ceremony and we are all looking forward to an event which is sprinkled with stardust.
Judges include representatives from the police, fire service, ambulance service, businesses, and the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
The chairman of Norfolk County Council, Hilary Cox, and leader of the council, George Nobbs, will also be judging some of the entries.
One of the nominations for the Armed Services Award of the Year is the Light Dragoons Wives Club, based at the Robertson Barracks at Swanton Morley, near Dereham.
Capt Charlie Dunn, adjutant on the Swanton Morley army base, said: There has always been a wives club, ever since we came to Norfolk .
The members are from across the country and get together to organise things and look after each other .
I thought they needed recognition for their extraordinary charity work over the last two years.
They have raised 10,000 for the Light Dragoons Colonel s Appeal, which was set up in 2009.
Money from the appeal supports the families of Light Dragoon servicemen who are wounded while on operations or regimental service, and the families of soldiers killed in action .
So far the fund has raised nearly 1m.
The wives club raised the money through organising and posing in a calendar last year and completing a 50-mile walk over two days from Cromer to Hunstanton in May this year .
Currently, there are about 60 women in the club who arrange coffee mornings, book clubs and general get-togethers on a regular basis.
For more information about the Light Dragoons Colonel s Appeal visit www.ldcolonelsappeal.com.
The closing date for nominations for the Stars of Norfolk Awards is Monday, September 30.