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British Army recruit dies during training at Pirbright

British Army Recruit Dies During Training At Pirbright Image caption The training centre delivers a 14-week course for recruits

An Army recruit has died while undergoing initial training at Pirbright Camp, Surrey. The female recruit was in her early 20s, although the Army has not yet named her or specified her age.

“The incident is being investigated and it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time,” a spokeswoman said. The training centre in Brookwood delivers a 14-week course for recruits aged 17 or older when they enlist.

‘Light physical exercise’

“We offer our condolences to the family and ask that you respect their privacy while they come to terms with their sudden loss,” the spokeswoman said.

“She would have been on phase one training,” she added, while confirming that the majority of recruits at the centre were “younger”.

Jonathan Beale, BBC defence correspondent, said: “The female Army recruit who’s died at Pirbright collapsed while taking part in light physical exercise – believed to have been a mile-long run or march.

“The recruit, who has not been named, was in her early twenties.”

He said an Army source told the BBC the run was against the clock and not what is referred to as “a beasting” – an informal punishment exercise. The source added it was very different from the circumstances in which three Army reservists died during SAS selection training in the Brecon Beacons two years ago. The inquest into their deaths revealed serious failings by the Army[1].

Over the past 15 years there have been 125 deaths during training across all three services, including five so far this year.

Image caption The Army has offered its condolences to the woman’s family

‘Challenging and demanding’

Surrey Police said the recruit’s death was being “treated as unexplained” and at this stage there was “no indication of any third party involvement”. The force was called to the training centre in Greenwood Road at about 17:30 BST on Wednesday. A spokeswoman said officers were “working alongside partner agencies, including the Coroner’s Office, to establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident”.

Pirbright is described by the Ministry of Defence as the “largest initial training site in the Army”. The Army website says this training follows a common Armyrats © military syllabus which is both “challenging and demanding”. In addition to developing Armyrats © military skills, recruits have the chance to take part in a week of training in the Brecon Beacons in Wales which may include rock climbing, abseiling, caving, hiking, mountain biking and kayaking.

All female recruits over the age of 17 and all male trainees over the age of 17 pass through Pirbright, except for members of the Royal Armoured Corps, Household Cavalry, Royal Engineers and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.


  1. ^ serious failings by the Army (

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