Brecon Beacons soldier Craig Roberts strove for perfection, mourners hear

Lance corporal given full military honours day inquest opened into death of soldier who also took part in SAS selection exercise

One of the three army reservists who died after taking part in a gruelling SAS selection exercise had striven for perfection and aimed to be the “ultimate man”, mourners at his funeral were told.

Lance Corporal Craig Roberts was given full military honours at his funeral on Thursday almost a month after he collapsed on the Brecon Beacons in 30C heat.

One of his closest friends, Richard Falconer, told the congregation that Roberts’ aim in life had not been to accumulate wealth or power “but simply to be the ultimate man” who was on a “quest for perfection”.

Before the service at Holy Trinity church in Llandudno, north Wales, his commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Morris, of 3rd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, said Roberts was a talented young man who had been looking forward to a bright future as an army reservist and in civilian life, where he was about to start a job working with the education secretary. He said: “Craig was the epitome of the can-do volunteer ethos.”

At the inquest opening yesterday into the death of one of the other soldiers, Corporal James Dunsby, a coroner heard that initial postmortem findings indicated he had suffered multiple organ failure though more tests are being carried out. The cause of death for Roberts and the third soldier, Edward Maher, remains unascertained.

It was confirmed officially for the first time that the men collapsed on Pen y Fan, the highest peak in southern Britain and setting for the notorious “fan dance” where soldiers hoping to join the special forces march over the mountain carrying a heavy pack and a rifle, then do the route in reverse in a set time.

Roberts, 24, Dunsby and Maher, both 31, were among a group of five or six men who collapsed last month as they tried out for the territorial arm of the SAS on the mountains in south Wales.

At the brief inquest hearing in Aberdare, the Powys coroner, Louise Hunt, was told that Dunsby died at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham last week more than a fortnight after collapsing.

Hunt told the court that a full inquest would look at whether article two of the Human Rights Act – the right to life – had been contravened and whether there had been any failings by those in charge of the soldiers.

She said: “It is important that the full circumstances are addressed so the family can fully understand what happened to their loved ones.”

Detective Sergeant Carole Williams, who is running the incident room into the men’s deaths, said Dyfed Powys police were working with the Heath and Safety Executive to establish whether any criminal offences had been committed.

Williams said Roberts was certified dead at 5.10pm on the day of the incident – 13 July – and Maher at 8pm.

Dunsby died on 30 July. Williams said the police investigation included interviewing witnesses, members of mountain rescue teams …read more  

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