Army

British Soldier Killed By Elephant In Malawi Died Doing Job He 'Loved'

Guardsman Mathew Talbot, of 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, died on counter poaching operations in Malawi on 5 May.

Guardsman Mathew Talbot volunteered to deploy to Malawi in support of the counter poaching mission in the country (Picture: MOD).

A British soldier has died during counter poaching operations in Malawi.

Guardsman Mathew Talbot, 22, of 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards was killed by an elephant on 5 May.

Malawi was Gdsm Talbot's first operational deployment where he was working as a Counter Poaching Operator.

Last year, the UK expanded its deployments in the African country to Nkhotakota and Majete Wildlife Reserves after a pilot scheme in Liwonde National Park.

Prior to serving with 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, Gdsm Talbot was posted to Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards in London conducting ceremonial duties.

He had also completed overseas training during an exercise in Kenya.

Guardsman Mathew Talbot
Malawi was Gdsm Talbot's first operational deployment (Picture: MOD).

During his time in Malawi, Gdsm Talbot had quickly built a rapport with local people and learned their language.

He had also been learning Nepali after becoming friends with Gurkhas attached to the counter poaching team.

Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Ed Launders said he was "honoured" to have served alongside Gdsm Talbot and that the soldier's "humour, selflessness and unbeatable spirit" will be missed.

Guardsman Mathew Talbot
Gdsm Talbot joined the Army in 2013 and had an interest in military history (Picture: MOD).

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said she was "deeply saddened" by Gdsm Talbot's death:

"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."

Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith said she was "very sorry" to hear the news.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood said Gdsm Talbot died doing "an important job" that he "loved".

"We do incredible work across Africa in the counter poaching arena," Mr Ellwood told Forces News.

"It shows you that there's dangers inherent right across what our Armed Forces do."

Defence minister: soldier's death 'truly sad'