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Tributes paid to moorland training run death soldier
2:21pm Friday 30th August 2013 in News
TRIBUTES have been paid to a courageous 26-year-old soldier who died a day after celebrating his 26th birthday during a training run across a North Yorkshire moor.
Private Michael Ihemere, from Umuodo, Nigeria, had been taking part in a three-mile run with his unit near Leyburn, North Yorkshire, across rugged terrain on the Catterick Garrison training area, when he collapsed on Wednesday.
Despite efforts to resuscitate Pte Ihemere, who returned from a tour of Afghanistan earlier this year, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Pte Ihemere’s widow, Blessing, and members of the The 1st Battalion, The Mercian Regiment, attended a memorial parade led by by Padre Ben Archibald at Marne Barracks, Catterick Village, this morning.
Pte Ihemere, who was based at the largest military base in Europe, joined the British Army in November 2011 and after successfully completing infantry training was posted to The 1st Battalion, The Mercian Regiment in September.
He deployed to Afghanistan in October 2012 serving with C Company, based in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province.
His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Ellwood, said: “Pte Ihemere quickly established himself as a valued member of his platoon.
“He proved to be a reliable, talented and popular soldier, respected by all across the company.
“His likeable and kind nature immediately endeared him to those he worked with.
“Whilst on operations, he was involved in some fierce fighting but always remained calm, did his job well and supported his friends and colleagues with resolute loyalty.
“Pte Ihemere showed early signs that he had the potential to progress in the Army and had a bright future. “His loss will be keenly felt across the battalion and the thoughts, prayers and sympathies of all those that had the pleasure to know Private Ihemere are with his wife and family at this difficult time.”
Although a police and an Army investigation is under way, a police spokesman said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.
Pte Ihemere’s death came weeks after the deaths of three soldiers during an SAS training exercise, on one of the hottest days of the year, in the Brecon Beacons.
However, the Met Office said the temperature in the Leyburn area at the time of the latest death was 17C and there had been a light breeze.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said last night that as the incident was being investigated, it could not comment on whether the soldiers had been carrying weighted packs.
He said: "Our thoughts remain with the soldier's family at this time."
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