Flags at half mast after soldier dies at army barracks

The Union Flag flies at half-mast at 47th Regiment and 12th Regiment Royal Artillery based at Baker Barracks Thorney Island near Emsworth   Picture: Malcolm Wells (131458-6769)
The Union Flag flies at half-mast at 47th Regiment and 12th Regiment Royal Artillery based at Baker Barracks Thorney Island near Emsworth Picture: Malcolm Wells (131458-6769)

FLAGS were flown at half mast at Thorney Island barracks after a soldier died.

The soldier has not been officially named by either Sussex Police or the Ministry of Defence, but is believed to have been a bombardier based at Baker Barracks.

He was a serving member of 12th Regiment Royal Artillery, known as The Lancashire and Cumbrian Gunners.

Officers from Sussex Police were called to the barracks, near Emsworth, at around 8pm on Wednesday after a man’s body was found in a car within the base itself.

The incident is not being treated as suspicious, and no-one else is believed to have been involved.

The circumstances leading up to the death are unclear, and police will now investigate the death on behalf of West Sussex coroner Penelope Schofield.

It is anticipated the inquest into the soldier’s death will be opened and adjourned either today or early next week.

However, a spokesman for the Army said: ‘It is with great sadness we can confirm that a member of 12 Regiment Royal Artillery has been found dead on Thorney Island.

‘Next of kin have been informed and while the death is not believed to be suspicious the matter is in the hands of Sussex Police.

‘As such we are unable to comment further at this stage.’

12th Regiment Royal Artillery has been based at Baker Barracks on Thorney Island since 2008 when it returned to Britain from Germany.

A source close to the barracks, who did not want to be named, said: ‘The flags are flying at half mast, and I initially thought someone had been killed in Afghanistan, as 21 Air Assault Battery has been deployed there.

‘But then we were given a briefing and found out what had happened.

‘I didn’t know him, but it’s not something you expect on home soil. My heart goes out to his family. They must be devastated.’

It was the second tragedy for the Royal Artillery in the space of a week.

Drummer Lee Rigby, of 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, who lived and worked at the Royal Artillery’s Woolwich barracks in south-east London, was murdered last Wednesday.

Michael Adebowale, 22, appeared in court yesterday, charged with his murder.

A second man, Michael Adebolajo, remains under arrest in hospital.