Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2005, Fusilier Daniel Whinham, 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was killed when the army Land Rover he was travelling in rolled and hit a tree at Dhekelia in Cyprus. He had sustained broken bones and a collapsed lung as well as head and chest injuries; three other soldiers were injured, one paralysed from the neck down, and the driver suffered brain damage which left him with slurred speech and poor memory.
Fusilier Whinham had wanted to be a soldier since he was three years old. His father said that he had been elated to have passed his sniper course so early on and was “flying up in his career”, that nothing could have stopped him from achieving his dream. He had only arrived in Cyprus from Northern Ireland ten days earlier.
At the inquest the coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death, but said that Fusilier Whinham was a victim of systemic failure. Evidence showed that the driver was ordered to drive the vehicle despite it being known that he was not only untrained and unfamiliar with the Land Rover, but not licenced by the D.V.L.A.. The vehicle had failed an inspection two months earlier, there were no seat belts in the back, and the investigation showed that the vehicle was being driven at a speed well above the legal limit. The coroner stated: “Accidents occur when systems designed to prevent their occurrence are not complied with. Hopefully Daniel Whinham has not died in vain if these lessons are noted and properly learnt.” Fusilier Whinham’s parents took legal action against the MoD, which accepted full liability and paid compensation and legal costs.
Lieutenant Colonel John Whitwam said of him: "Fusilier Danny Whinham was one of our most impressive, professional, and popular young soldiers. He had proved himself on operations in Northern Ireland and now in Cyprus. Every member of the Battalion feels his loss most strongly. We send our condolences and respects to his loving parents and family. We share their pride in an outstanding soldier and gentleman."
Daniel, from Gateshead, was 22 years old.