Brit soldier killed in Ukraine by mortar fire 'showed Commando spirit until end'

Brit soldier killed in Ukraine by mortar fire 'showed Commando spirit until end'

Updated: 2 months, 16 days, 23 hours, 12 minutes, 53 seconds ago

Oxford Coroner’s Court heard the inquests on Tuesday of two British men who died in Ukraine and concluded their tragic deaths by a Russian sniper and a mortar attack

The inquests into the deaths of two British men who died fighting in Ukraine have concluded their deaths by Russian sniper and drone.

Scott Sibley, 36, of Immingham, Lincolnshire, died on April 22 in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, after a drone strike on his regiment.

Jordan Gatley, 24, from Sandbach, Cheshire, was shot by a Russian sniper on June 10 in the eastern city of Severodonetsk.

Mr Gatley handed in his notice to the British Army and joined an international unit of fighters in the weeks following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Three months after quitting the third battalion of The Rifles he travelled to Ukraine.

Oxford Coroner’s Court heard their inquests on Tuesday.

Dad-of-three Mr Sibley had been working as an HGV driver when Russia invaded and having served in Afghanistan with the Royal Logistic Corps he felt he had to help.

The Grimsby-born fighter travelled to join the frontline on 13 March, travelling from Manchester to Poland before crossing the border into Ukraine.

Mr Sibley was the first Briton to die in the conflict and his former squadron posted on Facebook that he “showed Commando spirit until the end”.

The HGV driver's cause of death was listed as "penetrative fragment injuries" to his chest and abdomen, including damage to his left lung and a ruptured kidney.

A statement from a consular official was read to the court by the coroner and described Mr Sibley's final moments from his position in a small military pit, known as a foxhole.

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It said: "A drone was seen overhead. Moments later, one mortar landed on the side of the foxhole where Scott was, compromising the foxhole. He ran to another foxhole, and while he was running, another mortar hit him, killing him instantly."

He was formally identified through dental records and by a distinctive tattoo on the back of his left shoulder.

Mr Gatley was shot in the head by a Russian sniper as he checked a bombed-out building for Ukrainian casualties.

A Russian tank was then prevented from firing on his comrades after a fighter he had trained in anti-tank weaponry managed to deploy a weapon against it.

“They felt that Jordan ultimately saved everyone else’s lives,” his mother Sally Gatley said.

She continued: "He always wanted to be a soldier from a young age. He told us he was going to Ukraine to do whatever he could to help the people of Ukraine."

Mrs Gatley said a member of her son's regiment told her what happened: "Jordan was coming down the stairwell of one building, he was ahead of his crew when he was shot."

Senior coroner Darren Salter ruled Mr Gatley was "killed while on active service for the Ukrainian army".

In the early days of the war, then-Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she supported individuals from the UK who might want to go to Ukraine to fight, but the government later advised against that.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, tweeted that Mr Gatley was a “true hero”.

The UK has also confirmed the deaths of medic Craig Mackintosh and ex-paratrooper Simon Lingard, who was killed near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine this month.

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