THE names of the Tidworth soldiers who died following an incident at a military firing range in Pembrokeshire have been released.

The Commanding Officer of The Royal Tank Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Simon Ridgway, confirmed Corporals Matthew Hatfield and Darren Neilson died as a result of the injuries they sustained at Castlemartin Ranges on Wednesday afternoon.

In a statement from the MoD, Lieutenant Colonel Ridgway said: "They were both exceptionally talented soldiers who loved what they did.

"The Regiment has lost two real characters and feels truly honoured to have served with them; they will both be sorely missed.

"The two other soldiers involved in this incident remain in a serious condition; our thoughts and prayers are with all their families and friends at this incredibly difficult time.

"We request that their privacy is respected."

As previously reported, the range is used for tanks and armoured units to carry out direct-fire live gunnery exercises.

Paramedics were called to the scene shortly after 3.30pm on Wednesday, taking two men to Morriston Hospital, Swansea, one to Heath Hospital in Cardiff and air-lifting a fourth to a Birmingham hospital.

The two other soldiers hurt were said to be in a critical condition.

A 48-hour worldwide ban was subsequently imposed on the ammunition which had been fired during the fatal training exercising.

A statement from the Royal Tank Regiment said its investigations were continuing.