Mont Blanc

Captain Zachary Speakman

Captain Zachary Speakman Died 26 July 2005 A Fusilier Officer killed in training accident on Mont Blanc

Royal Regiment of Fusiliers

Captain Zachary Speakman of the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, died in an accident while climbing on Mont Blanc on 26 July 2005. Two others received minor injuries. The soldiers were part of a group of six on an adventurous training expedition. Capt Speakman, aged 28, was from Manchester. Lt Col John Whitwam commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, said: "Captain Zachary Speakman was the most charming, popular and professional Fusilier officer. He was loved by his fellow officers and admired by his men for his dedication to their welfare. He died leading his men on an expedition to climb Mont Blanc, something that was entirely in keeping with his sense of adventure and desire to meet physical challenges. We in the regiment feel his loss most acutely, but our sadness is nothing compared to that felt by his close and loving family and his beautiful wife-to-be."

The Secretary of State for Defence, John Reid, said: "It is with deep sadness that I learned of the death of Captain Speakman. I would like to extend my sympathies, and those of the entire Ministry of Defence and the Army, to Zachary's family and friends at this very difficult time. I would also like to thank the French authorities for their support and practical assistance in dealing with this sad event."

Capt Speakman's family have released the following statement: "Everyone loved Zachary it was impossible not to love him. He was the life and soul, such a bubbly character. He loved being in the Army, mainly because it appealed to his strong and determined sense of adventure and he took every opportunity that came his way. He was looking forward to a long Army career. "We are all still in state of shock, but take comfort from knowing that so many people clearly thought so much of him as we have already received lots of messages and visits from family and friends. We will all miss Zachary very much."