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07th May 2019

British soldier killed by elephant during anti-poaching operation

The Ministry of Defence confirmed a British soldier died in Malawi

Oli Dugmore

Guardsman Mathew Talbot was killed in Malawi by an elephant, it's reported

The Ministry of Defence confirmed a British soldier died in Malawi

British soldier Guardsman Mathew Talbot died in Malawi on May 5 during an operation targeting poachers, the Ministry of Defence said.

It’s reported Talbot was killed by an elephant and no one else was injured in the incident.

He served in the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards. British soldiers are deployed across Africa to help prevent illegal poaching. In Malawi the elephant population has halved since the 1980s.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Guardsman Mathew Talbot, who died while carrying out vital counter-poaching work in Malawi.

“This tragic incident is a reminder of the danger our military faces as they protect some of the world’s most endangered species from those who seek to profit from the criminal slaughter of wildlife.

“Throughout his career with the Coldstream Guards, Guardsman Talbot served with great courage and professionalism, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones at this terrible time.”

Lance Sergeant Louis Bolton said: “It’s hard to find words at a time like this but I can honestly say he will truly be missed and remembered.

“Mathew was a unique character and genuine guy. Loved and trusted by all who cared for him. I can honestly say that no matter the time of day or situation he was in, he was always laughing and cracking jokes – we loved him for it.”

Lieutenant Hugo Cazalet, Gdsm Talbot’s Platoon Commander, said: “Guardsman Talbot was an exceptional and unique personality, possessed of a quick and dry wit.

“He was a proud ‘brummie’ with an epic work ethic, he always worked hard for his mates and put the needs of the team before his own. He was a constant source of morale, even in the direst situations and his infectious humour ensured that his team were constantly smiling too.”