UK

Tribute Paid To 'Talented' SAS Soldier Craig John Roberts Who Died On Brecon Beacons

08/08/2013 15:29 BST

The commanding officer of a soldier who died during SAS selection training in the Brecon Beacons has paid tribute to a "talented young man with a bright future ahead of him".

Lance Corporal Craig John Roberts collapsed on July 13 - one of the hottest days of the year - while climbing South Wales's highest mountain.

craig john roberts

He was one of three soldiers who died after taking part in the exercise.

His funeral, with full military honours, is taking place at Holy Trinity Church in Llandudno, North Wales, today.

Speaking outside the church, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Morris, Commanding Officer 3rd Battalion, The Royal Anglican Regiment, said: "Craig was a talented young man with a bright future ahead of him, both as an army reservist and in his civilian life.

"Craig was the epitome of the can-do volunteer ethos."

Lt/Col Morris added: "Craig will be missed dearly by everyone who knew him; his family, his friends, his colleagues. We will miss him greatly and we will remember him."

L/Cpl Roberts, 24, of Penrhyn Bay, and Edward John Maher died while taking part in the aptitude training element of the course to become SAS reservists.

Corporal James Dunsby, 31, fell ill during the same training exercise and died two weeks later in hospital.

They were climbing Pen Y Fan, the highest mountain in southern Britain.

It is known as the location for the "Fan Dance" where soldiers hoping to join the special forces march over the mountain carrying a heavy pack and a rifle, then do the route in reverse in a set time.

L/Cpl Roberts joined the army in 2007 and served in UN operations in Cyprus and around the UK.

Read more:

Third Soldier Dies After SAS Selection Exercise In The Brecon Beacons

Dead Brecon Beacons Soldiers 'Were On Territorial Army SAS Training'

Could Soaring Temperatures Have Killed Two During Military Exercises?

The former teaching assistant lived in London and had been due to start a job in the office of the Secretary of State for Education.

The funeral will be followed by a private cremation service for close family and friends at Colwyn Bay Crematorium.

Around 100 members of the public stood outside the church and clapped as the funeral cortege approached.

L/Cpl Roberts' coffin was draped in a Union Flag.

Members of his family, including his parents Kelvin and Margaret, aged 53 and 54, stood outside the entrance of the church and watched as the coffin was carried in.

His mother and father stood linking arms as they struggled to contain their emotions.

Emotional tributes were paid by Major Mark Bevin, from the East Midlands Universities Officers Training Corps, and by four of L/Cpl Roberts' closest friends.

Mr Bevin said he was a man of "integrity" and a "role model" for the younger cadets in his platoon.

He said he would be "sorely missed", adding: "We are stronger and better people for knowing him and we can assure you that he will never be forgotten."

Friend Richard Falconer said L/Cpl Roberts was "on a quest for perfection".

"His main aim in life was not to accumulate wealth or power but simply to become the ultimate man."

He said his friend was "optimistic, relentless and determined to succeed".

He added: "Craig Roberts was simply the best man I have ever known."