16 BRITISH SOLDIERS JAILED FOR MUTINY – It is almost unheard of that anyone serving in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces would reject a lawful order from a commanding officer.
Under the Armed Forces Act 2006 2001 no military personnel may refuse a direct order from a commanding officer unless such an order breaches the act and anyone refusing to comply is liable for detention, a court marshal and being discharged from the armed services. See Armed Forces Act 2006 / 2011
Despite the known ramifications of refusing an order some 16 soldiers staged a sit-down protest during a military parade on the command of Corporal Anthony Brown, the ringleader in the revolt.
During a parade whereby top military brass attended in front of a crowd of more than 1,000 people the order was given to stand to attention, however Corporal Anthony Brown countered the order by ordering troops to sit down; which they did.
To the astonishment of the drill sergeant major the soldiers refused to get up on his command; all 16 soldiers were arrested and duly charged with disobeying a direct order.
After yesterday’s trial at a military court in Bulford, Wiltshire, the judge order 15 of the personnel to be jailed for a period of 40 days whilst the ring leader, Corporal Anthony Brown, was ordered jailed for 60 days and to be dishonourably discharged after completing his prison sentence.
During his summation judge Alan Large told the soldiers that each of them had ‘brought shame and embarrassment’ on themselves, their regiment and indeed the Army.
The question as to why these soldiers refused an order stems from growing tensions within the regiment. Colonel Clive Whitwham, prosecuting told the court that the members of the battalion’s recce platoon, all who had fought against the Taliban in Afghanistan, had been seething at being badly managed and ‘not appreciated’.
According to Colonel Whitwham the initial problems arose when their commanders, Captain Stanton and second-in-command Sergeant Scott Dyson, got drunk and decided to sleep off their hangovers at the finish line of a training march across the Brecon Beacons in March.
It was stated that the conditions were freezing and the troops were understandably furious that the two commanders were sleeping instead of being ready to greet the troops.
The animostity began during another training exercise, this time in Askari on the plains of Kenya in February due to yet more mismanagment and that this point it was noted the troops were feeling used and abused.
No military personnel within Her Majesty’s Armed Force must be allowed to rebel without following the letter of military law; which in this case they clearly broke.
However, it is easy to see why our troops are beginning to feel as if they are mismanaged and feeling abused.
We continuously see the MoD cutting back on personnel and essential equipment; often due to not having sufficient funds beause of the MoD’s incompetency.
It is little wonder why such an act took place and indeed why it has occurred before? It is, as we stated, wrong to take such action but shouldn’t this be considered as a wake up call for the Government to seriously look at the way our troops are being treated?
Maybe it is time that we removed the cancer, that being the incompetent civil servants, from the MoD and started spending the funds in areas that benefit our troops, such as higher pay packets and better equipment.
On the MoD’s existing course of cost cutting it’s likely the next major conflict our troops will be ordered into will consist of little more than a stick with a white flag atop for they certainly won’t have the equipment to adquately defend themselves.
The judge’s summation was perfectly correct but what was missing from all of this was any mention to the conduct of either Captain Stanton or second-in-command Sergeant Scott Dyson.
If these two individuals have not been court marshalled then the sentencing of the 16 soldiers will be little more than a farce and will do far more damage to the reputation of the regiment and army than Judge Alan Large currently perceives.