Iraq veteran dies on duty
By KRYSTEN BOOTH and AAPbooth@gladstoneobserver.com.au
A FORMER Gladstone school student has died in an army training exercise in Darwin.
Trooper Angus James Lawrence, a 25-year-old from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Darwin, died in Royal Darwin Hospital on Wednesday night, hours after he was evacuated from the Mt Bundey training area, south-east of Darwin, where he complained of heat exhaustion. Trooper Lawrence's father, Graeme Lawrence, last night told The Observer his son attended Chanel College and still had friends in the city. Mr Lawrence, who still lives in Gladstone, said it didn't seem right that his son would die training after having served in Iraq.
"I can't believe it,'' he said. "I'm still in shock. He seemed fit and healthy to me.
"All I know is he died doing something he loved.''
Trooper Lawrence had been involved in a simulated attack with his regiment at the training area for about an hour when about 5pm he started to feel ill.
"He turned to his instructor and said; 'I'm not feeling all that flash','' army spokesman Captain John McPherson said.
"And as soon as the instructor saw him, they realised he might have been suffering from heat and they started to rehydrate him.
Trooper Lawrence continued to deteriorate and civilian ambulance was called to meet an army vehicle carrying Trooper Lawrence into Darwin.
He died at 8.25pm, less than three hours after he was admitted to hospital.
Trooper Lawrence served in Iraq between May and September last year.