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?
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin