Death During Live Firing Training at Otterburn

August 24, 2016
Rhicha Kapila - Partner in the Military Claims Team

Posted by: Rhicha Kapila


An unnamed male soldier has died during a live firing exercise at the Otterburn Training Area in Northumberland on 22nd August 2016. The Guardian reported the story on 23rd August here.

The soldier sustained a serious head wound from a gunshot and was pronounced dead on the scene. Police and MOD Accident Investigators have launched an investigation into the death of the soldier, and no comments can be made on the incident at this point.

In April 2016, Unite (the union) warned that the removal of range wardens increased risk on several ranges, including Otterburn, but it is not yet clear if this was a factor in this unfortunate incident. Click here to read their article.

Deaths in Training

In April this year, the Defence Sub-Committee published a report ‘Beyond Endurance Military Exercises and the Duty of Care Inquiry’. The report was partly in response to alarming statistics that between January 2000 and February 2016, 135 Armed Forces Personnel died whist on training and exercise. Eleven of those deaths occurred during live firing training.

Whilst the report did not find systematic failures, it did find that the Ministry of Defence:

has not always got the correct balance between adequate training and reducing risk resulting in life-changing injuries and deaths in training and selection events.”

You can read the full report here.

What happens next?

Following a fatality in military exercises, certain procedures must be followed by the Ministry of Defence. You can find more information on our website here.

We hope that a quick conclusion can be found in the case of the soldier killed in Northumberland for the sake of his family. Regardless of the outcome of any investigation, we reiterate the words from the’ Beyond Endurance Report’:

“There is no room for complacency. Every such death is a tragedy”.

Family and loved may be able to bring claims for financial dependency or on behalf of the deceased’s Estate. Strict time limits apply to claims. If you have been affected by a military fatality, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our specialist team.

I am a Partner at Bolt Burdon Kemp specialising in Military claims. If you think you may have a claim, contact me free of charge and in confidence on 020 7288 4845 or at Rhichakapila@boltburdonkemp.co.uk for specialist legal advice. Alternatively, you can complete this form and one of the solicitors in the Military team will contact you. You can find out more about the team.

Posted by: Rhicha Kapila

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