Falklands base fight provokes new discipline

A brawl between rival units of British troops stationed in the Falkland Islands left one soldier with a broken ankle, and prompted tough disciplinary action from the garrison commander, it emerged yesterday.

The battle, between 150 men from the Irish Guards and the Royal Engineers posted to the bleak military garrison known as the Death Star, ended in a "bloodbath", witnesses said.

Many casualties required medical treatment and several were taken to hospital with injuries ranging from broken noses to concussion. One soldier, who suffered a severely broken ankle, had to be flown back to the Haslar military hospital in Gosport, Hampshire, for urgent treatment.

The fight, which broke out on Christmas Day last year, but which has only just come to light, "all started as a traditional bunfight at lunch", a witness said. "But someone threw a potato and a can was thrown back. Then all hell broke loose.

"There were pools of blood on the floor. The military police were summoned and went in with dogs to break it up." Brig-adier Ian Campbell, the British commander at the garrison, immediately imposed tough disciplinary measures to clamp down on violent behaviour.

Limits have been placed on the opening hours of bars on the Mount Pleasant base, and weekend training exercises have been instigated. It is understood that at least one soldier was jailed for 28 days and others received shorter sentences.

Details of the incident underlined the long-standing morale problem of troops sent to the Falklands on four-month postings. Hundreds of soldiers and airmen, deprived of female company and unwilling to venture far from the mass of drab green buildings that make up the British base, often fall prey to a ghetto-mentality. Sources said petty squabbles assumed enormous significance and traditional loyalties became magnified.

The maze of bars, clubs, messes and accommodation blocks are linked by a bleak, two-and-a-half-mile, concrete-floored corridor. Accommodation Block 38 has been dubbed "the Bronx" because of its reputation for fighting and violent crime.

Senior officers freely admit their biggest headache is not maintaining a viable military deterrent to attack by Argentine forces, but how to maintain the men's morale 8,000 miles from home.

The traditional four-month posting is viewed by many troops as equivalent to a spell in prison. Pride of place often goes to "gozzomie" (goes home) calendars so that the days to their return to Britain can be marked off.

But the Ministry of Defence stressed it could not tolerate the type of "misbehaviour" seen at Mount Pleasant, which it viewed as a "very serious matter".

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?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

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...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

£16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

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
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map