Teen troops `degraded' by NCOs

TEENAGE SOLDIERS were subjected to a "bullying" and "degrading" regime by instructors, which included a mock execution, being ordered to simulate sex acts and forced to eat mud and soap, a court martial was told yesterday.

The Army apprentices were kicked, shot at with pellets and told to eat cake doctored with tabasco sauce and curry powder, said the prosecution.

A sergeant and four corporals, responsible for ensuring the youngsters' welfare as well as their training, face 17 charges between them.

The court martial, in Aldershot, Hampshire, was told a soldier had to perform locker- cleaning with a pubic hair on his tongue, after the hair was found on soap during an inspection.

Another was ordered to take a cold bath and had scouring powder poured over him; a third had a plastic straw pushed up his nose until blood poured from his nostrils.

The apprentices were at the Army Training College in Winchester, Hampshire, from September 1996, when they were all aged 18 or under.

Major Justin McClelland, for the prosecution, said the instructors overstepped the mark and engaged in bullying. He added: "The behaviour was not of a violent and vicious type but of a degrading and humiliating type, with the instructors mis-using their position."

The court martial panel also heard how one recruit was forced to eat mud from an instructor's football boots, and a young soldier was ordered to wipe brown camouflage cream from the backside of one NCO during a lecture on hygiene.

Sergeant Karl Dakin and Corporals Brian Gildea, Mark Hey, Kevin Hosford and Trevor Gray deny the charges, brought under the Army Act. Major McClelland said that during an exercise, instructors staged a mock execution of the trainees, using weapons with blank rounds. The recruits were lined up and the instructors carried out the "execution". Tthe instructors stood so close the muzzle-blasts "scorched" the soldiers' helmets.

Trooper Craig Reast, one of 10 cadets who said they suffered at the hands of their instructors, said he had been instructed to clean his locker with a pubic hair placed on his tongue.

"On one inspection Corporal Hey looked at the soap and it had a hair on it. He asked me to open my mouth then he told my to put the hair in. I did it because he was an NCO," he said. "It was quite disgusting. It made me feel sick."

Trooper David Bull, now 20 years old, said he saw the same corporal beating up one of his comrades for "being an idiot".

The recruit was subjected to a "20 to 30-second treat", beingpunched in the body with "quite a bit of force", because he had pointed his rifle at the NCO and pulled the trigger.

The court martial was also told the young cadets had no complaints about their commanding officers, and many of the incidents were conducted with "laughter and fun", even the mock execution.

During cross-examination, Trooper Martin Godfrey, who was forced into the cold bath, agreed he had not felt either humiliated or demeaned by Corporal Hey.

The defence asked: "Now you have joined a regiment, are you glad they helped you in the way they did?" Trooper Godfrey replied: "Very much so." The court martial continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Content Leader

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role requires a high level...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent