Family Of Hanged Soldier, Robert Griffiths, Speak Of Devastation At His Death

The family of a solider who was found hanged at his home while on leave from Afghanistan have spoken of their devastation at his death.

Trooper Robert Griffiths, 24, who had survived a Taliban bomb blast on the frontline, was found dead at his home in the village of Bishopston, near Swansea on December 29.

His family said Trooper Griffiths had enjoyed Christmas at home with his family before tragedy struck.

Trooper Griffiths drove an upgraded 7.8 ton Scimitar Mk2 light tank in Afghanistan

Father Paul Griffiths told Wales on Sunday: "He was on top form over Christmas. He was a chap who really came alive when we had lots of people at the house and the rest of the time he was a typical young bloke. His behaviour was pretty much as we expected.

"We are not speculating at all as to why it happened. We have not yet had an opportunity to discuss matters with his actual brigade. It was completely out of the blue."

The soldier's mother, Mary Griffiths, added: "All I can say is that we are absolutely devastated. I was beating myself up, blaming myself as mothers do. We will never know fully what was in his head."

South Wales Police have confirmed they are investigating the death of a 24-year-old man at the location.

A spokesman said the soldier's family had been informed and the death was not being treated as suspicious.

"Police are investigating the death of a soldier who was serving with 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards," an Army spokesman said.

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time," he added.

Trooper Griffiths was one of three soldiers who walked away unhurt from a potentially deadly roadside blast in November 2011.

The soldier, with the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards, later described surviving the blast from the improvised explosive device (IED) as a "buzz".

At the time he was driving an upgraded 35 ton Scimitar Mk2 light tank, boasting new heavy armour, on routine patrol in Nahr-e Saraj, Afghanistan.

Trooper Griffiths, who serves in what is known as the Welsh cavalry, went on to praise the role the new Scimitar played in protecting them.

His encounter with the potentially fatal IED was highlighted at the time in a Ministry of Defence online news release.

Headlined: "Soldiers survive IED strike thanks to Scimitar," the story goes on to chronicle the vehicle's lifesaving armour upgrade.

It followed a period in Afghanistan when British patrol vehicles were perceived as under-protected and putting the lives of soldiers at risk.

The MoD article continues: "Trooper Robert Griffiths, the Scimitar's driver, said the crew were in high spirits on returning to camp, but appreciated that their survival was due to the vehicle, which has been in service for just over two months.

"I'm massively impressed with the amount of protection the upgraded armour provided. It was obviously a shock, but I've never had such a buzz in my life," he said.

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