Former Durham School head pupil killed in military training exercise was a ‘star who burned alive’


A young and talented army officer who was killed when he was hit by an armored vehicle during a training exercise was a “star who shone”, his commanding officer has said. Second Lieutenant Max George won the Queen’s Medal – awarded to the best cadet – when he passed out from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in December 2021.

The 26-year-old, a former head pupil at the prestigious Durham School where his parents taught, was seriously injured on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire on Tuesday morning. Police say the 5th Battalion The Rifles officer was struck by a Warrior infantry fighting vehicle while on foot and suffered a serious head injury.

Its commanding officer, Lt. Col. Jim Hadfield OBE, said: “Max was a shining star. Effortlessly impressive, he was a natural commander, exuding fierce determination matched by selfless compassion. We loved him for it.

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“He stood out and still stands out; we are so much poorer for his loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. »

Her father Martin was headmaster at Durham School where her mother Vivienne also taught, and her sister Claudia was a pupil. They said in a statement: “Max was killed in a training accident on Salisbury Plain early on Tuesday June 21, 2022 while serving with 5th Battalion The Rifles, having achieved his life’s ambition by joining the regular army.

“The whole family is very proud of his outstanding accomplishments and his loss is heartbreaking for all of us.”

After winning academic awards at school, he studied politics with Russian at Newcastle University where he graduated first, then went on to earn distinction in his MA in Eastern European Studies and Eurasians with Russian at the University of Glasgow.

Kieran McLaughlin, current principal of Durham School, said: “Durham is mourning the loss of a much loved former pupil. Max was a bright, friendly and talented young man who had so much to give the world.

“He led life from the front, including his time here where he was headmaster of the school in his final year. Our thoughts and prayers are with Max’s family.

Wiltshire Police said they were leading the investigation alongside the military and the Health and Safety Executive.

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