Page last updated at 09:27 GMT, Wednesday, 27 May 2009 10:27 UK

Anger over '21st Century Dad's Army'

Kaylee McIntosh
Kaylee McIntosh had her career in the Army mapped out

When war games on an island sea loch went wrong a catalogue of errors by those responsible for a group of Army cadets soon emerged.

It led to a withering attack on the Army Cadet Force (ACF) by Kaylee McIntosh's family lawyer.

Following the release of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch report of the incident, Glen Millar described the ACF as a "21st Century Dad's Army".

Further damaging revelations were heard during the fatal accident inquiry.

On 3 August 2007, confusion appeared to have reigned the moment the training exercise on Loch Carnan, on South Uist, took an unforeseen turn.

Kaylee, 14, was one of 34 cadets on three high speed boats known as Rigid Raiding Craft 2.

'Harrowing reading'

Her craft capsized leaving her pinned underneath.

The findings of the marine accident investigation were published in March last year, ahead of the FAI.

The teenager's parents, Derek and Lesley McIntosh, said the report made harrowing reading and said it detailed "an unbelievable catalogue of terrible mistakes and misjudgements that cost Kaylee her life".

The report told how the teenager had been wearing the wrong kind of lifejacket - it was for an adult and not someone of her age.

It said the jacket's extra buoyancy would have pinned her under the upturned boat.

It is tragic that the only way she will now serve the Army is if lessons are learned from her death so that this never happens again
Kaylee McIntosh's parents

There was an error in the headcount taken of youngsters, officers and instructors after the incident meant she was trapped under the boat for an hour-and-a-half before it was noticed she was missing.

It was thought that a young female instructor may have been identified as a cadet or counted twice.

As the cadets came from different detachments across the country and were seated in the boats on a first-come-first-served basis, nobody noticed Kaylee was missing.

The investigation identified other failures.

They included the boat being "ill-prepared and ill-equipped" to navigate safely through the loch and a lack of proper planning.

A general purpose machine gun with blank ammunition - a weapon not authorised for the ACF to use according to marine accident investigators - was fitted to Kaylee's craft.

Her parents said she should not have been on an assault boat, as they had only given permission for canoeing and kayaking.

Overturned craft

The FAI was held at Inverness and Stornoway sheriff courts during 2008.

Its first day heard from a 14-year-old cadet who said he could not remember seeing any instructors taking names as he prepared to board his boat.

The following day, instructor Vicky Lorimer said she had told Kaylee she would come back for her.

She said she managed to get two other youngsters out from under the overturned craft, but once on the surface was gasping for breath, was panicky and "quite hysterical".

Ms Lorimer said Major George MacCallum, who was in charge of the training expedition, was also on the surface. He inflated the instructor's lifejacket and she floated out to sea.

She said she had expected the major to go to Kaylee's aid.

'Let down'

Another officer on the exercise, Charles Milne, admitted to the FAI he had been in unknown waters, had no maps and did not know the weather forecast.

On the 10th and final day of the inquiry, Major McCallum said he was not solely responsible for the girl's death.

He said his part in the accident would "stay with me for the rest of my life".

But he insisted more could have been done by the Ministry of Defence and "certain individuals".

For Kaylee, the Army had been her life.

Her parents said she loved being in the cadets and jumped at the chance of adventure.

Following the publication of the marine accident report, they said in a statement: "She had her career in the Army all mapped out and was determined to serve her country. The report shows she was badly let down."

On its website, the ACF encourages youngsters to "make your mark".

In their statement, Kaylee's mother and father said: "It is tragic that the only way she will now serve the Army is if lessons are learned from her death so that this never happens again."



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SEE ALSO
Parents' disgust over cadet death
27 May 09 |  North East/N Isles
Cadet death officer accuses MoD
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Cadet organiser admits mistakes
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Cadet team 'had safety assurance'
12 Aug 08 |  North East/N Isles
Cadet officer 'not told' of boats
11 Aug 08 |  North East/N Isles
Captain admits cadet death error
30 May 08 |  North East/N Isles
Boat officer was 'ill-prepared'
29 May 08 |  North East/N Isles
Family's tears over cadet search
28 May 08 |  North East/N Isles
Cadet probe hears of rescue hope
27 May 08 |  North East/N Isles
Fatal boat trip names 'not taken'
26 May 08 |  North East/N Isles

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