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NO CHANCE; Scots training death in Iraq.

Byline: KRISSY STORRAR

ARMY chiefs last night launched an inquiry after a Scots soldier was killed yesterday in a "tragic incident" on a military training range in Iraq, near the second city of Basra.

Ministry of Defence officials refused to name the man until they had contacted all of his family.

Senior officers were last night desperately trying to contact the soldier's family in Scotland to break the devastating news.

But a source said that the soldier was serving with C Company of the 1st Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "We regret to confirm that a British serviceman died following a tragic incident on a training range near Basra on January 7. His family are being informed and no further details will be published until this is complete."

He added: "The incident is now under investigation."

The 1st Battalion of the Argylls, which are currently based in Canterbury, Kent, was first deployed last month to help maintain order in Basra.

It is thought the casualty was part of an advance party which had travelled to the area ahead of colleagues who ship out sometime around the 15th of this month.

The troops' regimental HQ is in Stirling.

Most of them are recruited from the west of Scotland - especially around Paisley, Greenock Stirling and Oban, the Isles of Tiree, Mull and Islay.

They have just joined up with other Scots troops - including the Royal Scots - who have spearheaded operations around the southern city of Basra as part of an overall British force of 10,000.

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said the 600 Argylls would serve a six-month tour of duty which would focus on training Iraqi police and soldiers to run their own security services.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 8, 2004
Words:290
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