TWO separate car crashes within four days claimed the lives of two promising young soldiers.
Trooper Martin Hayes, 20, of Ellesmere Port, who was serving with the Queen's Dragoon Guards, died on Monday evening of last week when the Golf GTi in which he was a passenger left the road before colliding with a tree in North Yorkshire.
The driver, Corporal Peter Griffiths, 24, of Shrewsbury, also died in the crash at Hauxwell, near Sandale Camp, which is part of the Catterick Garrison.
And police in Cyprus are investigating the crash in which Lance Corporal Jason Taylor, of Great Sutton, died early last Thursday morning after the civilian car he was driving left the road.
A spokesman for the Cheshire Regiment said Corporal Taylor was believed to have been returning from Ayia Napa to the Dhekelia Barracks when the accident happened.
The regiment has not yet named a second soldier who was a passenger in the car and suffered serious injuries.
Captain Matt Hurley, of the Queens Dragoon Guards, said of Trooper Hayes:
'He was a dedicated member of the regiment who had served on two operational tours in Bosnia and Kosovo.
'It was his urgent commitment, loyalty and enthusiasm that made him the man he was.'
Trooper Hayes, a former Sutton High School pupil, was featured in the Pioneer in January after he discovered a stockpile of weapons while on tour in Bosnia.
This week his mother, Ursula Hayes, said the family wished to be left alone to grieve in peace.
The Cheshire Regiment paid a moving tribute to Lance Corporal Taylor who joined in May 1997.
A spokesman said: 'Jason will be missed by everyone in the battalion and our hearts go out to his parents, family and loved ones. As a measure of his ability he attended and passed a junior NCO's cadre which led to an early promotion to lance corporal after just two years' service.
'He was a keen mountain biker who could readily turn his hand to other sports, especially orienteering.'
Jason's mother, Elizabeth Taylor, said: 'He was everything a mother would want from a son. We are still trying to arrange his funeral but unfortunately Jason's body won't be flown home until later this week.
'We will all miss him so much and life will never be the same again.'