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Anguish of crash soldiers.

Byline: By Lisa Hutchinson

This is the first picture of death crash soldier Daniel Whinham.

Today his pal Raymond Robinson relived the Cyprus crash which killed his best friend and left another comrade critically injured.

Fusilier Daniel Whinham, 22, from Gateshead, died in the road accident while L-Cpl Marc Dryburgh, 23, of Ashington, was seriously hurt.

Fus Robinson, 22, of Morpeth, was also involved in the crash and is being treated in Larnaca General Hospital.

Today he spoke of the moment he was told his pal and room-mate had died.

In an exclusive interview from his hospital bed, Fus Robinson, said: "I was lying in bed feeling very, very tired and in pain when the commanding officer came into the ward.

"He told me Danny had died, my friend didn't make it. He died of his injuries and that's all I know.

"I haven't spoken to the other lads in the regiment. I don't know what the feeling is but I'm sure they'll be sad.

"The whole accident is a blur. The Land Rover left the road and rolled over. I can't remember what else happened. It's under investigation. I was brought to the hospital and I'm recovering from bruises to my back and arms. I'll be OK but Danny was killed.

"Marc is seriously injured but he's stable. I haven't seen him but he's in the same hospital as me."

Army chiefs told how Fus Whinham was an outstanding soldier and a gentleman.

They made a moving tribute and released this proud photograph of the popular young man in his prime.

Lieutenant Colonel John Whitwam, Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, said: "Fusilier Danny Whinham was one of our most impressive, professional, and popular young soldiers. He had proved himself on operations in Northern Ireland and now in Cyprus.

"Every member of the Battalion feels his loss most strongly. We send our condolences and respects to his loving parents and family. We share their pride in an outstanding soldier and gentleman."

Fus Robinson added: "Danny was a good friend. We met in Northern Ireland in July. He was a good laugh, a real character, and we just clicked.

"Danny and I shared a room along with two others.

"It will be strange going back to the barracks and seeing Danny's bed empty. It hasn't really sunk in as yet. I don't suppose it will until I see the others."

A fourth soldier, from Coventry, was also injured in the accident and has been moved to another hospital.

L-Cpl Dryburgh's parents have flown out to Cyprus to be at their son's bedside.

The soldiers, serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, were stationed in Dhekelia on Cyprus' south east coast.

They had only just arrived from Northern Ireland to replace the Queen's Lancashire Regiment.

Fus Robinson joined the Army earlier this year and is a former pupil of King Edward VI School, Morpeth.

He is now planning on visiting Fus Whinham's parents when he returns home on leave.

Fus Robinson added: "My heart goes out to Danny's parents. I have never met them before but when I come back home I will visit them to offer my condolences. He was a great lad and I will miss him."

The sister of Lance Cpl Dryburgh said she was too upset to comment on her brother's condition but her parents had travelled out to be at his bedside. A relative of Fus Whinham, who was single, said the family was too upset to speak about his death. "Everybody's devastated," he added.

Capt Crispin Coates, spokesman for the British bases, said: "This is a very tragic incident and the thoughts of all personnel in Cyprus are with the soldiers' families and friends at this difficult time.

"We are working closely with the Cypriot authorities who are endeavouring to treat the injured parties the best they can and offer comfort and support."

The soliders' Land Rover was making its way from a garrison at Dhekelia to Ayia Nicholas when it hit a tree at 7.10am local time on Tuesday, 5.10am British time. MoD chiefs insist the accident will be thoroughly investigated.

An Army spokesman said Fus Whinham's death was believed to be the 97th fatal road traffic accident in Cyprus this year.

It comes less than two weeks after that of a 19-year-old British soldier on the island.

Local members of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers held a minute's silence for Fus Whinham.

In later edition's of last night's Chronicle we told how Fus Robinson's mother spoke about the horror crash.

Wendy Robinson, 45, told how her son had been flung from an Army Land Rover when it careered off a road and crashed into a tree.

She said: "Ray telephoned me and said God must have been with him for him to survive."

The divorced mother-of-three added: "The lads are all close and they will be really cut up about Danny.

"My heart really goes out to Danny's parents, they must be devastated.

"Ray is coming home on December 28. It is his Christmas leave and I will be looking forward to seeing him.

"Ray will be okay, he got away with it lightly. But it's the others who I feel sorry for."

As Fus Robinson recovers in his hospital bed he added: "I haven't cried as yet. I can't believe Danny is dead. It won't hit me until I walk into our room and realise that he's never coming back in."
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 15, 2005
Words:917
Previous Article:Children's work award.
Next Article:Lesson from death.


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