In 2016 the number of UK armed forces deaths on operations was zero

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Monday 02 January 2017 15:00

According to figures released by the Ministry of Defence there were zero deaths in the UK Armed Forces on operations in 2016.

The last time a year without such a death occurred was 1968, before rising again due to military actions taken in Northern Ireland and subsequent conflicts.


Currently the UK is engaged in 25 operations around the world in over 30 countries.

2016 did see the deaths of two military personnel on training excises.

Lance Corporal Joe Spencer, 24, of 3rd Battalion The Rifles was shot dead on a training exercise at RAF Tain, and Private Conor McPherson, 24, of 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland was shot dead in a night time exercise at Otterburn, Northumberland.

The most recent fatalities in operations were Flight Lieutenants Alan Scott 32, and Geraint Roberts 44 who died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan in October 2015.

Including data for service personnel killed outside of operation theatres, land transportation accidents have consistently been responsible for a high proportion of military deaths in recent years.

In 2015, cancer was actually the biggest killer of members of the Armed Forces, responsible for 27 per cent of deaths.

However focusing only on deaths that occur during operations, the numbers have dropped significantly since the 1960s.

The last sharp increase in fatalities was 1982 and the Falkland's War.

2009 has been the worst year so far of the 21st Century, when 109 service personnel were killed on operations.

HT Telegraph

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