The regimental details that do not add up for military experts

The
Daily Mirror says it received the photographs two weeks ago and conducted inquiries to establish whether they were genuine before publishing. But their authenticity was in doubt yesterday as elements of the photographs were called into question by military experts and soldiers.

The Daily Mirror says it received the photographs two weeks ago and conducted inquiries to establish whether they were genuine before publishing. But their authenticity was in doubt yesterday as elements of the photographs were called into question by military experts and soldiers.

The rifle

The rifle appears to be an SA80 Mark One, known as an A1. This is the original version of the standard-issue assault rifle, before it was found to be prone to malfunction, taken out of service and redesigned. All British soldiers currently serving in Iraq were issued with a Mark Two, or A2, version. Many of the differences are hard for the untrained eye to spot, but sources close to the Queen's Lancashire Regiment (QLR), which is at the centre of the scandal, insist the weapon in the photographs is an A1. In any case, it is usual practice for a rifle to have a carrying sling attached. The same sources pointed out that the rifle is also missing a "press to talk" switch on the butt which, connected to a headset, allows soldiers to use their radio while holding the weapon.

The boot

It is traditional for soldiers to tietheir laces in a parallel fashion rather than the criss-cross pattern shown in the pictures. "The British Army do not cross lace their boots," said a retired Territorial Army soldier with experience in the QLR. Instead, one end is laced diagonally from top to bottom and the other threaded horizontally between each pair of eyelets. "The rationale was that if you got an injury to your foot one slice of your jackknife gets the boot off," the soldier said.

The hat

In one of the photographs, the soldier can be seen wearing a camouflaged floppy hat. QLR sources said soldiers in the regiment are only allowed to wear berets or helmets while on duty. But a Ministry of Defence spokesman said that all soldiers in Iraq were issued with the hats; whether soldiers were allowed to wear them was up to the commanding officer of each regiment, but such an item would be among their "desert kit".

The truck

The vehicle in which the photographs were taken is thought to be a Bedford truck of a type not deployed in combat zones "for years", the QLR source said. Another source close to the regiment said the truck looked "too clean" to be in service and did not resemble any vehicles currently used in Iraq, raising the possibility that the photographs may not have been taken there. The British Army uses a four-ton Leyland Daf vehicle.

The victim

The Mirror reported that the alleged victim had endured an eight-hour beating and broken jaw. Yet there were few marks on his body or his clothing. Colonel Bob Stewart, who commanded British forces in the Balkans, told the BBC: "The shirt looks like a football shirt. Is that the sort of shirt that a captive might be wearing, slightly silky with an Iraq flag [on it]? Why is it not dirty and dishevelled, why is the man not showing some signs of damage after eight hours of beatings?"

The uniform

It is "very unusual" to see a soldier on active duty with pockets unbuttoned or webbing undone, said the retired QLR soldier. "Infantrymen especially are meant to be mobile, ready to move fast and they need to be well set up," he said. Unfastened webbing means magazines of ammunition or rations can easily be lost. "They tell each other off for things like that. It's basic soldierly discipline. Soldiers haven't many responsibilities but they do have total responsibility for their own gear."

The photographs

Unlike the grainy pictures released last week showing American soldiers abusing Iraqi POWs, these are of an unusually high definition. David Sandison, a photographer for The Independent, said: "My initial reaction when I saw the picture on the front page of the Mirror was that it didn't look like they had been shot with a 'happy snappy' camera; the depth of field is too great." The photographs were taken with black and white film, which an ordinary soldier is unlikely to use. But intelligence units are known to use monochrome film, which has increased speculation that they were "set up" or taken with army equipment.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Publishing

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst - High Wycombe - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst role...

Guru Careers: Talent Manager

£30-35k (P/T - Pro Rata) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienc...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn