A terribly sad story and I feel very sorry for the soldier and his family. But this demonstrates one of the serious problems that arises when you deploy soldiers with a background in counter-insurgency in Afghanistan or trained as combat soldiers to anti-poaching training roles in southern Africa. British soldiers are not bush-trained, they are not game rangers and they will be vulnerable in the bush because of their lack of knowledge, experience and awareness of the very different dangers in areas inhabited by dangerous wildlife. The British army deployment to train rangers/APUs is entirely inappropriate. KS


British soldier dies in Malawi during anti-poaching operation

Mathew TalbotImage copyrightMOD

A British soldier has died in Malawi during counter-poaching operations, the Ministry of Defence has said.

Mathew Talbot, of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, was on a patrol on 5 May when he was believed to have been killed by an elephant.

His commanding officer, Lt Col Ed Launders, described Gdsm Talbot as “determined and big-hearted”.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said he served with “great courage and professionalism”.

She added: “This tragic incident is a reminder of the danger our military faces as they protect some of the world’s most endangered species from those who seek to profit from the criminal slaughter of wildlife.”

In a statement, the MoD said Gdsm Talbot had “was not unfamiliar” with Africa and had volunteered to support counter-poaching in Malawi.

“With his keen interest in military history he was proud to have joined a regiment with such a rich and long lineage,” it added.

His company commander, Maj Richard Wright, said that while he had only known Gdsm Talbot for a short time, “he never failed to make me smile”.