Shock at death of soldiers from Thiepval

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There was shock and sadness at Thiepval Barracks this week when two soldiers from 2 Rifles were killed in a tragic accident.

Lance Corporal David Gwilt and Rifleman Dale Harris, who are from England but are based at the Lisburn barracks, died after the car they were travelling in collided with a tractor last Friday evening (August 1) at about 8.15pm on the Ballyconnelly Road in Cullybackey.

It is understood the two men, who were both aged 24, were going fishing at the time.

The Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion The Rifles, said the battalion was “shocked” at the deaths.

“David and Dale were much liked, professional and hugely competent soldiers who had fantastic futures ahead of them,” he said.

“The whole battalion is deeply saddened by their loss and our heartfelt condolences go to their families and friends at this most difficult time.”

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson offered his sympathies to the mens’ families.

“Our prayers are with the families and comrades of two soldiers based in Lisburn with 2 Rifles and tragically killed in a collision in County Antrim,” he said.

Lisburn Councillor Stephen Martin also extended his sympathy to the friends and colleagues of the two men.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families, friends and colleagues of Lance Corporal David Gwilt and Rifleman Dale Harris of the 2nd Battalion The Rifles at this incredibly sad time,” said Mr Martin.

“For two young men who signed up to serve their country to be taken so early in their promising lives is a tragedy for us all.

“Lisburn is proud of our long association as a garrison city and proud of our links with the 2nd Battalion The Rifles.

“We stand with those who are suffering whilst trying to come to terms with from this unspeakable loss.”