RM dies during SF selection


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Sep 19, 2007
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Marine dies after punishment run on hottest day

Exclusive by Richard Smith And Chris Hughes 31/07/2008
Signaller Benjamin Poole, 26

A Royal Marine died on a gruelling training exercise as he tried to fulfil his dream of becoming a crack SBS commando, it was revealed yesterday.
Signaller Benjamin Poole, 26, collapsed from heat exhaustion during a 18-mile yomp on one of the hottest days of the year.
Just hours earlier he and other special service trainees had been forced to complete a punishment drill for dropping litter.
Determined Benjamin was carrying his rifle and 55lbs of kit across the Brecon Beacons as the temperature hit 81F (27C).
He was reported missing after failing to arrive at a checkpoint on Monday afternoon. An Army search team found his body after tracking down his personal location device.
The superfit squaddie was nearing the end of four weeks of rigorous physical and mental selection tests for the SAS and SBS.
As police launched an investigation yesterday, defence ministers called for an "urgent and thorough" inquiry.
It is believed Benjamin was among dozens of soldiers on the selection course who were given a dawn punishment run before setting off on the hike.
They were ordered by an instructor to do two laps round their camp in Mid-Wales at 6am after one of them dropped a chocolate wrapper on a 14-mile march the previous day. Last night fellow soldiers backed calls for an inquiry - and claimed Benjamin may have been pushed too hard.
One source said: "Everyone is absolutely gutted about Benjy's death. He was just a good solid guy - a good lad. I believe he served in Afghanistan.
"There should definitely be an inquiry. They didn't take into consideration the fact that the weather was so hot. We know the selection process has to be hard - that's why the SAS and the SBS are the best in the world.
"But all the lads on the selection exercise had already proved themselves in theatre - and they're all fit. The chief instructor would have had the power to stop this exercise.
"Benjy was absolutely exhausted. He should not have started the walk. The recruits were all f*text deleted**text deleted**.
"There were up to 40 soldiers taking part and they were absolutely knackered after three weeks of day and night exercises.
"But the mentality is you have to crack on. The Royal Marines have a different way of thinking and nobody is going to give up." The source described the hike as "a really stiff test". He added: "The lads had to go over a series of hilltop checkpoints using only rough ground. They were not allowed to use paths.
"They had to average 4kms an hour, which is really tough. The maximum time allowed is seven hours. During the selection process you are allowed one red - you can fail one task but on the second red you are out." Around 200 soldiers from Army and Royal Marine units began the latest selection process. Only a handful will be chosen for the SAS or SBS.
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Most of those who join the Special Boat Service are from the Royal Marines, while the Special Air Service generally comprises ex-Paras.
Around 40 soldiers who passed the initial stages have spent a month at the Sennybridge Army base in Mid-Wales being given a daunting series of "Hill Phase" tests. The source said: "The instructors are a mixture of experienced SAS and SBS servicemen.
"They have ambulances and medics on stand-by and army personnel man the checkpoints along the route.
"The recruits were wearing boots, either jungle trousers or combat 95 trousers, a shirt and carried a bergen (back pack). Some were wearing floppy jungle hats.
"The hill phase selection process is due to finish today with a final 40 mile overnight endurance march across the Beacons.
"Then the remaining recruits will have to undergo jungle exercises - and that is the last phase before final selection."
Signaller Poole, who had already qualified for a lesser role as a special forces communicator, was based at Hamworthy Barracks in Poole, Dorset.
He is believed to have spent six years in the Marines.
A Royal Navy spokesperson said last night: "We are very saddened at the death of Marine Benjamin Poole and our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.
"Marine Poole, a Royal Marines Signaller, died while undertaking a routine UK military training exercise on 28 July 2008.
"The cause of his death is not known at this time and it would be inappropriate to comment further until the postmortem has concluded.
"We are fully co-operating with the investigation that is currently being undertaken by Dyfed-Powys police and the health and safety executive."
The Royal Navy's Special Boat Service is the lesser-known sister unit of the British Army's Special Air Service regiment - the elite SAS.
The SBS specialises in operations at sea.
However, it is also highly skilled on dry land.
Operations have taken place in the mountains of Afghanistan and deserts of Iraq .



Valuable Contributor
Sep 19, 2007
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Lesson in this for us all, this man was a 6 year service bootneck, he had passed the SFC course, he had been out in Iraq/Astan, yet he died on selection, maybe that will give some of us(myself included) pause in thought when we go on about getting into SF ect....it's a hard game.