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Announcement of fatality

It is with immense sadness that the British Army announces the death of a Sergeant from 1st Battalion Welsh Guards. Sergeant Gavin Hillier died in a non-operational training incident at Castlemartin Ranges on 4 March 21. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this tragic time.

Sergeant Hillier served a distinguished career, deploying on operations in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan; he was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct medal by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2019 in recognition of his outstanding contribution.

He was universally loved across the Battalion, renowned for his prowess on the rugby field and his keen sense of humour. His professionalism and dedication to service was outstanding. As the Motor Transport Colour Sergeant, Sergeant Hillier added enormous value and corralled a tight-knit team with his amiable nature and willingness to help others across the Battalion.

Sergeant Hillier’s wife Karyn and sons Declan and Connor said:

“I thank you for the day you came into my life and made me your wife and became the father to our two beautiful boys. We are absolutely heartbroken and can't express how proud we are of you. Our boys will continue to make you proud and you will forever live on through them. 

Daddy we are not ready to say goodbye just yet so until we meet again, we love you always. 

Love your heartbroken wife and boys.”

Sergeant Hillier’s Mam Karen and her partner Malcolm said:

“You made me so proud of you from the day you were born and we will be proud for always. Rest in peace my son you will always be my little boy.”

Captain R Beckett CG, Sergeant Hillier’s Platoon Commander said:

“I am proud, grateful and honoured to have had Sergeant ‘Gav’ Hillier as my CSgt. Gav’s style of leadership always got the best out of the Platoon and his personality was infectious. He was my rock when I needed guidance, never afraid to offer me advice and a fierce Welshman”

Lt Col H Llewelyn-Usher, Sergeant Hillier's Commanding Officer said:

“Sergeant Hillier’s tragic death has sent shockwaves across the Battalion. He was extremely popular and widely respected, drawing on his significant experience to lead and develop his subordinates; he was truly one of my best Sergeants. Our thoughts are with his family and friends following this heart-breaking incident.”

WO1 D Cope, the Welsh Guards Regimental Sergeant Major said:

“Sergeant (Gav) Hillier and I have worked side-by-side throughout our careers; he was an outstanding soldier, and a close friend. A larger-than-life character, he did everything with a smile on his face, and was a pillar of the Sergeants’ Mess. I am lucky to have served with him, but most of all to call him my friend. My heart goes out to his family and friends.”

Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace said:

“I am deeply saddened by the news of Sgt Gavin Hillier’s death. The dedication and distinction he demonstrated through his long Army career is evident in the testimony of those who served with him.”