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  • Christina Drummond

Lance Corporal David Kenneth Wilson, 9 Regiment Army Air Corps

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2008, Lance Corporal David Kenneth Wilson, 9 Regiment Army Air Corps, died in Iraq.

He was found at his desk in the Joint Helicopter Force stores at Basra air base with a gunshot wound to his head. The coroner ruled that he was intoxicated, that he fired the fatal shot himself, and that the gun had not malfunctioned; he said that the intoxication “would have had an effect on his decision-making ability and perception of risk". An open verdict was returned, the coroner saying that to return a suicide verdict he would have to be sure Lance Corporal Wilson intended to kill himself: “Even on the balance of probabilities, I would struggle to meet that test. The evidence does not fully disclose the circumstances in which David came by his death." The coroner had contacted the Defence Inquest Unit with "concerns about the investigation that had been carried out into David’s death and that progress of the case was painfully slow"; at the hearing it was disclosed that military police investigators “botched elements of the inquiry, meaning a full picture of what happened that night has been obscured”. Lance Corporal Wilson’s father told the inquest: "I have difficulty squaring the horseplay with the weapon in drink. There is a disconnect there." His brother said: "From the discovery of David’s body there was an incompetent crime scene investigation, followed by an at best substandard attempt by the MoD to consider the probable causes of David’s death in circumstances where those directing the investigation wrongly closed their minds to there being anything other than one explanation. This inquiry has shown all how David was and all that he had to live for."

Lance Corporal Wilson had joined the Army in 2003, after which he took specific training as an Army Air Corps Ground Crewman. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2006, and later to Iraq as Stores Corporal, on Operation Telic 12. Colleagues praised him for his kind-hearted nature, his positivity and willingness to help others; he was popular and respected both as a friend and as a colleague.

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Green said: “Lance Corporal Wilson embodied exactly what is best about soldiers in the British Army; he was a jolly, friendly and selfless character who was wholly respected by his peers and friends alike. He was a committed family man and recently became a proud father. Lance Corporal Wilson was an excellent soldier who will be deeply missed. We have all had the privilege to serve with him and will fondly remember him as a chatty, affable individual who was always at the front of the queue to help others.”

David, from Huddersfield, was 27 years old and left behind his fiancee and eleven-week-old baby daughter.

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