Tributes paid to Scots soldier who died in training exercise

Private Conor McPherson, who was aged 24 and from Paisley, enlisted into the Royal Regiment of Scotland in May 2014. Picture: Contributed

Private Conor McPherson, who was aged 24 and from Paisley, enlisted into the Royal Regiment of Scotland in May 2014. Picture: Contributed

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Tributes have been paid to a soldier who died after being shot during a live-firing exercise on Monday night.

Private Conor McPherson, 24, from The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, died after suffering a serious head wound at the Otterburn Training Area in Northumberland.

His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Alasdair Steele, said: “Private McPherson was a capable young soldier who had previously trained in both Kenya and France.

“He was hugely committed about his career in the Army, he had aspirations to join the machine gun platoon and attend a junior leadership course at the start of next year.

“He constantly drove to develop himself physically and was well liked among his peers for his sharp wit and sense of humour.

“However, Private McPherson’s true passion was to his parents and his older sister – he was part of a very close-knit family and his great joy was spending time with them at the weekends and over leave.

“The entire battalion’s thoughts are very much with his family and friends.”

Private McPherson, from Paisley, Renfrewshire, enlisted into the Royal Regiment of Scotland in May 2014 as a combat infantryman.

Police and Ministry of Defence investigators are looking into the circumstances surrounding the incident. Armed Forces Minister Mike Penning said: “The safety of our personnel is our absolute priority and, while deaths in training don’t happen often, any death is a tragedy.”

The death came little more than a month after another soldier died on a training exercise in Brecon, South Wales, on the hottest day of the year. Joshua Hoole, from Ecclefechan near Lockerbie, died on 19 July while on training for the Platoon Sergeants’ Battle Course, taken by infantry soldiers who want to progress to the rank of sergeant.

The 26-year-old collapsed after taking part in a fitness test near the Dering Lines infantry training centre at 6.30am, when temperatures later peaked at just above 30C.

Cpl Hoole’s death came just three months after the Defence Select Committee published a report calling for the MoD to become liable for prosecution for the deaths of Armed Forces personnel.

The report found that since the start of 2000, 134 military personnel had died while taking part in training exercises – 89 from the Army, 22 from the RAF, 15 Royal Marines and eight from the Royal Navy.

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