A soldier who served in Afghanistan was killed after crashing his bicycle into a lorry as he swerved to avoid a 15ft-long pothole.
Tragic Captain Jonathan Allen, 29, suffered severe head injuries as he tried to dodge the waterlogged ‘trench’ in the rain.
Locals say the roads are in a ”shocking” condition after the cold winter, which has left a series of huge potholes in the A338 near Tidworth, Wilts.
It is thought Cpt Allen, of the Royal Fusiliers, did not see the crater until the last minute and then swerved into the path of the articulated lorry which was passing him.
The hole, which is eight miles from his home in Burbage, Wilts., was filled in by the council two days after the crash.
Tidworth town councillor Andrew Connolly, 51, said: ”This hole was more like a trench than a pothole.
”There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this crater was a direct causal factor behind this young man’s tragic death.
”The accident happened in the evening, when it was pitch black and will have been filled with water.
”He either ploughed into it without seeing it and then fell in front of the lorry or swerved at the last minute to avoid it.
”Either way, the pothole was undoubtedly to blame.
”It’s a real problem around here and the state of some of the roads are shocking.”
Cpt Allen, who had served in the army for eight years, was cycling home northbound on the A338 when the accident happened on Wednesday night (24/3).
The driver of the lorry was a 55-year-old man from the Bromsgrove area in the Midlands.
Cpt Allen’s girlfriend, who is also believed to be in the forces, was too upset to comment on his death.
A statement released by his comrades in the 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, based in Mooltan Barracks, Tidworth, paid tribute to ”a very dear colleague and friend”.
It said: ”Jon was an energetic and utterly professional Officer with a bright future ahead of him.
”His death has come as a very great shock to us all and we mourn his early passing.
”We have lost a very dear colleague and friend and the thoughts and prayers of the Regiment go out to his family and girlfriend at this very difficult time.”
An inquest into his death was opened on Friday and was adjourned until a date to be fixed.
PC David Cooper, from Wiltshire Police’s serious collision investigation team, said: ”We were alerted to an accident in which a cyclist was killed after being hit by a heavy goods vehicle.
”The collision occurred in a stretch of road where there is a pothole, although it is too soon to say whether this was to blame.
”We are not ruling it out as the cause and our investigation is continuing. The findings will be sent on to the coroner.”