A sergeant who was shot dead during a live fire exercise was an Iraq and Afghan war hero awarded a medal by Prince Charles.

Sergeant Gavin Hillier, of 1st battalion Welsh Guards, was on Thursday pronounced dead after being accidentally shot at the Castlemartin Training Area in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

The decorated 35-year-old soldier was named on social media after being wounded during training under the cover of darkness, the Mail Online reports.

Sergeant Hillier was pictured receiving his Long Service Good Conduct medal from the Prince of Wales in 2019.

The Welsh Guards at the time dubbed Sergeant Hillier a "stalwart" who displayed "the highest standards of behaviour" since joining the forces.

Sergeant Gavin Hillier, of 1st battalion Welsh Guards, was pronounced dead after being accidentally shot at the Castlemartin Training Area in Pembrokeshire, Wales

His next of kin have been informed and his father, Mark, said in a Facebook post that his son had died "doing the job he loved".

He wrote: "Absolutely devastated to be writing this post, probably the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

"At 3.45 this morning I received a phone call that will forever change my life.

The Queen sits for a regimental photo with the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards in 2015

"My eldest son was in a fatal accident, in the army, the job he loved. Sleep tight and rest in peace son. I'm so proud of you. Goodnight and God bless. Love you're heartbroken dad, xxx."

The sergeant, from Pontypool, was shot at the gunnery ranges at the Castlemartin training area within the Pembrokeshire coast national park.

Soldiers were training as part of their build-up training to go to Iraq on Operation Shader.

The sergeant had served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was in the motor transport platoon prior to his death – which is being investigated by military and civilian police.

The exercise using live ammunition came ahead of his planned deployment to Iraq later this year, reports suggest.

The Prince of Wales is the Colonel in Chief of the Welsh Guards. The regiment protects the Queen at Buckingham Palace and at Windsor.

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The Welsh Guards protect the Queen at Buckingham Palace and Windsor, where they are based. They have a "dual role" as a "light role infantry" and "world class ceremonial soldier", says the Ministry of Defence website.