independent

Friday 18 April 2014

British soldier who survived massive bomb blast in Afghanistan found hanged

A SOLDIER who survived a massive roadside bomb blast while driving a light tank in Afghanistan has been found hanged while home on leave.





Trooper Robert Griffiths, 24, was one of three soldiers who walked away unhurt from a potentially deadly roadside blast in November 2011.



The soldier, with the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards, later described surviving the blast from the improvised explosive device (IED) as a "buzz".



At the time he was driving an upgraded 35 ton Scimitar Mk2 light tank, boasting new heavy armour, on routine patrol in Nahr-e Saraj, Afghanistan.



Trooper Griffiths, who serves in what is known as the Welsh cavalry, went on to praise the role the new Scimitar played in protecting them.



He was found hanging at his parents' home in the pretty Gower village of Bishopston, near Swansea, south Wales, last Saturday evening.



South Wales Police have confirmed they are investigating the death of a 24-year-old man at the location.



A spokesman said the soldier's family had been informed and the death was not being treated as suspicious.



"Police are investigating the death of a soldier who was serving with 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards," an Army spokesman told BBC Wales online.



"Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time," he added.



Trooper Griffiths finished a gruelling seven month tour of duty in Afghanistan in April last year.



His regiment is based in barracks in Paderborn, Germany, but he was back in the UK on leave over the Christmas period.



Trooper Griffiths's encounter with the potentially fatal IED was highlighted at the time in a Ministry of Defence online news release.



Headlined: "Soldiers survive IED strike thanks to Scimitar," the story goes on to chronicle the vehicle's lifesaving armour upgrade.



It followed a period in Afghanistan when British patrol vehicles were perceived as under-protected and putting the lives of soldiers at risk.



The MoD article continues: "Trooper Robert Griffiths, the Scimitar's driver, said the crew were in high spirits on returning to camp, but appreciated that their survival was due to the vehicle, which has been in service for just over two months.



"I'm massively impressed with the amount of protection the upgraded armour provided. It was obviously a shock, but I've never had such a buzz in my life," he said.



Press Association

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