Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 2004, Lance Bombardier Robert Wilson, 39 Regiment Royal Artillery, died in an accident while in service at Albernarle Barracks in Northumberland.
He had been doing vehicle mainenance work when he was crushed after becaming trapped between a Multiple Launch Rocket System vehicle and a large lift truck. He was taken by air ambulance to the Newcastle General hospital, but he could not be saved.
One of a family of five children, Lance Bombardier Wilson had wanted to be a soldier since he was a small boy, and so joined the army in 1996. He served in the Gulf and Sierra Leone. Before being posted to 39 Regiment Royal Artillery in July of 2003, he had served in the Royal Logistics Corps and 7 Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery.
The Health and Safety Executive brought a Crown censure against the Ministry of Defence. It was discovered that the throttle stop was missing from the multi-launch rocket system, and that all similar vehicles had been checked with the result that a “worryingly high number” were not properly maintained. The HSE regional director also commented that there was poor communication between those using the vehicles and those maintaining them. The Ministry of Defence accepted the criticisms and a review of procedures was promised.
Lieutenant-Colonel Andy Shepherd, the Regiment's Commanding Officer, said: “Robert was a key member of 176 Battery and a proficient operator of the Multiple Launch Rocket System launchers. His kind-natured positive and cheerful approach to life was always evident and respected. Robert was a very popular member of the regiment and had a promising career ahead of him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time and he will be sadly missed by the regiment."
Lance Bombardier Wilson was given a military funeral at St. Nicholas’ Cathedral in Newcastle, and lies buried in the Saltwell Cemetery in Gateshead. From Gateshead, he was 29 years old and engaged to be married.