David Glanville has described the ordeal he went through – and has urged that lessons are learned to prevent others suffering in the future.
Mr Glanville, 30, of Craven Arms, and formerly of the Royal Signals Corps was injured two years ago despite telling an army training instructor that he felt unwell.
It happened on September 4, 2018, when he was required to undertake an annual fitness test featuring an eight-mile weighted exercise across roads, tracks and hills.
He recalled that he started to struggle after about four miles and told his physical training instructor. After further complaining of dizziness and nausea after about six miles he claimed he was told to “man up and crack on”.
Under the regulations, as soon as a symptom such as dizziness is reported, a heat illness should be presumed and the soldier should be cooled down. However, this was not done and he continued.
At the 7.5-mile point Mr Glanville, who joined up in 2015, collapsed and it was only at this time that he was actively cooled, before being taken to hospital by ambulance. As a result of the heat injury, he has lost the ability to control his body temperature in hot conditions such as during exercise and subsequently was forced to leave the Army. He continues to suffer symptoms.
Mr Glanville said: “I lost the career that I loved and have had to start over again. My life has been completely turned upside down. It’s been almost two years since I collapsed during the fitness test, and it is still having a huge impact on my life. This has hit me hard, not just physically and emotionally, but also financially. I lost the career that I loved and have had to start over again.
“I believe this could have been prevented if my training instructor had followed regulations. When I complained of feeling unwell I was basically ignored.
“While nothing can change what has happened, I hope that lessons can be learned and others don’t have to suffer.”
Now the law firm which represented him is calling on the Armed Forces to ensure that staff were following protocols relating to the prevention of heat injuries.
His lawyer Alexander Davenport, of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, said: “The regulations are in place for a reason. We are calling on the Ministry of Defence to ensure all supervising staff are trained in how and when to act when these red flags are present and to remove the toxic ‘crack on’ attitude that currently prevails.”
The MOD has admitted liability. Spokesman Rob Clark said: “The safety and wellbeing of our personnel remains a top priority and we regularly review our policy on heat illness. As litigation remains ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further.” The ministry added that its heat policy had been amended six times since 2015.
In July 2013 three SAS reservists died as a result of severe heat stroke during a 16-mile selection march on the Brecon Beacons in Mid Wales. The inquest five years ago concluded that there was a failure to provide basic medical care which in turn contributed to their deaths.