North West Wales

SAS soldier training funeral hears tributes to Craig Roberts

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Media captionThe funeral service was held with full military honours

Tributes have been paid at the funeral for an Army reservist who died after SAS selection training in Powys.

L/Cpl Craig Roberts, 24, from Penrhyn Bay, Conwy, collapsed and died on 13 July with Edward Maher, 31.

His commanding officer praised him as a "talented young man" before the service at Holy Trinity Church in Llandudno.

A coroner has also opened an investigation into the death of Cpl James Dunsby, 31, who also collapsed on the day and died on 30 July.

'Role-model'

Holidaymakers and locals applauded as L/Cpl Roberts's body was driven through the seaside town to the funeral on Thursday afternoon.

On top of the Union Flag-draped coffin was his military cap and belt.

Emotional tributes were paid to the "outstanding soldier" at the funeral, where he was described as a "determined, conscientious, team-player who relished all the challenges military life brought to him".

Image caption L/Cpl Craig Roberts' coffin is carried into Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno
Image caption Kelvin and Margaret Roberts (centre), the parents of L/Cpl Roberts, arrive for their son's funeral
Image caption Mourners watch as the coffin is carried into church
Image caption L/Cpl Roberts' coffin is carried out of the church
Image caption The funeral cortege leaves Holy Trinity Church after the funeral

At university he joined the East Midlands Universities Officers Training Corps and he served with the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Anglian Regiment.

Six Army pallbearers carried his coffin into the packed church, watched by crowds in the street.

Major Mark Bevin, of the training corps, said L/Cpl Roberts had been a "role-model."

He had trained with the US National Guard in Texas and in January 2011 had been mobilised for United Nations peacekeeping duties where he showed his "natural yet unassuming leadership style".

Army chaplain, the Reverend Paul Whitehead, told mourners: "Our hearts and thoughts and prayers are also with the families of Edward Maher and James Dunsby as well."

Image caption L/Cpl Roberts was one of three soldiers who died

The men were on a 40-mile (64km) hike in the Brecon Beacons when temperatures reached 29.5C (85F).

They had been taking part in a four-week trial for the SAS reservists ending in the hike across the beacons.

They were among six men rescued after collapsing in the hot weather.

L/Cpl Roberts was pronounced dead on the beacons on 13 July at 17:15 BST. Almost three hours later, Mr Maher died at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil.

L/Cpl Roberts had served with the Territorial Army for more than five years and he is understood to have served in Afghanistan and Iraq as a reservist.

He had worked as a teaching assistant in London and was due to take up a job in Whitehall in the office of Education Secretary Michael Gove.

'Can-do' volunteer

Lt/Col Paul Morris, commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Anglian Regiment, paid tribute to L/Cpl Roberts before the funeral began.

"Craig was a talented young man with a bright future ahead of him, both as an army reservist and in his wider civilian life," he said.

"He was the epitome of the can-do volunteer ethos, and successfully managed the demanding commitment of an army reservist, initially with his university studies and latterly with his employment within the teaching sector.

"Craig will be missed dearly by everyone who knew him - his family, his friends, his colleagues and his comrades in the wider army.

"We will miss him greatly and we will remember him."

An inquest in Brecon, which was opened and adjourned last month, heard the cause of Mr Roberts's and Mr Maher's deaths remained "unascertained".

At the hearing Powys coroner Louise Hunt warned that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) could face investigation under the Human Rights Act.

She said "right to life" would play an important part in the inquest.

Ms Hunt reiterated those comments on Thursday at the opening of an investigation into the subsequent death of Cpl Dunsby.

The Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has announced a full inquiry into the deaths.

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