TWO men have been charged with negligence after the deaths of three soldiers during an SAS selection march in the Brecon Beacons.

Cpl James Dunsby, from Trowbridge who was a reservist with Swindon-based A Squadron The Royal Yeomanry, died in hospital two weeks after falling victim to a heat illness near the end of a 16-mile (26km) test march in South Wales on July 13 2013. 

L/Cpl Edward Maher, L/Cpl Craig Roberts died during the exercise and a coroner ruled that the cause of the death of three, who suffered from hyperthermia, was neglect.

The Service Prosecution Authority has now confirmed charges had been brought against two soldiers involved at the time.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "Any decision to prosecute any personnel, veteran or serving, is made by the Service Prosecution Authority (SPA), an independent body."

The soldiers collapsed during the march while carrying 50lbs (22kg) of equipment.

An inquest held in 2015 heard a failure of basic medical care contributed to their deaths, and the Army said it accepted it did not carefully manage the risks involved in the exercise.

It is understood the two men who have been charged were responsible for the soldiers' training - one being  a training officer and the other a chief instructor. One man has since left the service.

During the inquest the two charged were known only as 1A and 1B. They could face up to two years in prison and dismissal if convicted at a military court.

Initially, the SPA decided charges were not going to be directed against the two but relatives of the soldiers who died asked for the case to be reviewed.

Clare Stevens, a lawyer and director of Hilary Meredith Solicitors which represented L/Cpl Roberts' family at the inquest, said: "They're disappointed by this outcome and will continue to push for further recognition of what went wrong, those that are at fault, and also make sure changes happen."

She added: "They're disappointed that only these two (soldiers) are facing charges and they're very keen that there should be complete accountability for those higher up the chain of command that either had responsibility on the day or could have stopped it (the exercise)."

The law firm, which also represented Cpl Dunsby's father David at the inquest, and provided evidence at a subsequent parliamentary inquiry into military training exercises, said the Ministry of Defence had refused to accept corporate responsibility for deaths in training, exercises and selection events.

Hilary Meredith, the law firm's chairwoman and visiting professor of law and veterans' affairs at the University of Chester, said the MoD was "ignoring the will of a parliamentary inquiry and flying in the face of public opinion in the process.

"In any other corporate environment the employer, in this case the MoD, would take corporate responsibility and face a manslaughter charge," she said.

Ms Stevens added it should be the MoD in the dock and accused it of "looking for scapegoats".

She also said L/Cpl Roberts' family would "continue to fight".

"This has been a very slow process, which isn't great - neither for the families or the two soldiers who've been charged," Ms Stevens added.