Marine Jonathan Wigley of Zulu Company, 45 Commando Royal Marines, died as a result of injuries sustained on Tuesday 5 December 2006, in southern Helmand, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained while on an Afghan and UK Task Force force operation on the outskirts of the village of Garmsir. The patrol was attempting to dislodge Taliban forces who had been responsible for attacks on the town in recent days.
Marine Wigley was killed in a “blue on blue” or friendly fire incident, ruled by a coroner to have been caused by human error.
Marine Wigley, 21, was engaged in a gun battle with the Taliban in Helmand province when he was hit by gunfire from an American F18 aircraft as he lay in a ditch. He died almost instantly from severe chest wounds.
The coroner said the American jet mistook members of Zulu Company, 45 Commando Royal Marines for insurgent forces, which were situated 430 metres (1,400ft) away. Their positions, near a strip of trees and Taliban compounds, were very similar, he told the inquest.
He said: "Pilot One misidentified the target, in part due to similarities in the tree lines and their proximity to building complexes, and in part due to human factors."
The coroner added that the process of strafing ground targets from a low-flying, fast-moving aircraft was very complex.
The inquest had heard evidence from the American investigation into the death, which described how the pilot made the mistake.
Jonathan Wigley was born in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, on 5 July 1985, and joined the Royal Marines in 2002, aged 17. After passing out of training in early 2004, he went direct to 45 Commando Royal Marines.
Before deploying to Afghanistan, Marine Wigley had served in Northern Ireland and with the Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines before attempting selection for 45 Commando’s Reconnaissance Troop. He excelled in this, showing immense determination and tenacity to pass the course despite sustaining a broken foot during the selection process. Throughout his service, Marine Wigley’s soldiering skills were of the highest standard.
A keen outdoor enthusiast, Marine Wigley particularly enjoyed hill walking and climbing. Prior to joining the Royal Marines he had been a competitive gymnast, already well-used to the frequent and hard training that he so evidently enjoyed in the Royal Marines. He approached everything he did with impressive dedication, not least his motorcycle test. His bike was his pride and joy as he commuted to and from Arbroath with his friends.
He was a fantastic character to be around and extremely popular among those with whom he served. Above all, Marine Wigley was full of life and a friend to all of the many members of 45 Commando who knew him well. He will be sorely missed by all those who were privileged to serve alongside him.
He leaves behind his parents Clive and Sharon. Rest In Peace Royal, fall out.
2 Rounds of:
Within 12 minutes:
85 Calorie Row
In the remaining time complete as many rounds as possible of:
5 Handstand Push Ups
12 Kettlebell Swings (32/24kg)
No rest between rounds, continue the AMRAP on round 2.
Please write completed rounds to the whiteboard…