Soldiers in the Household Cavalry are under investigation since it emerged that they had sent pictures accompanied by racist slurs about fellow servicemen in a private WhatsApp group.
One soldier appears to have used the pejorative N-word to describe a group of black soldiers who were secretly photographed while eating in a mess hall.
The messages, seen by the Sun newspaper, shows soldiers branding the group a “band of brothers,” suggesting they were complaining about their pay and quipping that whatever their income is now it is “better than being back home walking 20k for water.”
One soldier in the conversation also refers to them as ‘F****** NNNNNiii — N*****s.‘
The conversation continues with another soldier suggesting that the black soldiers “sort the pay out anyway,” in an apparent suggestion they were pay clerks in the Adjutant General’s Corps (AGC).
Other comments in the group pointed out that the uniformed group was not wearing trainers – normally the sign that a soldier has been medically downgraded for lower limb injuries – or woolly gloves, as Commonwealth soldiers often wear gloves due to colder weather in the UK.
In 2009, Commonwealth soldiers filed a legal case over poor equipment that had led to cold injuries. Doctors at the time said people from hot countries were particularly susceptible to Nonfreezing Cold Injuries (NFCIs).
A friend of one of the photographed soldiers, himself a veteran, told the Sun newspaper he had been subject to similar kinds of abuse.
“It is exactly why I left the Army. I loved my job, and all of these guys do, but I could not stand the racist remarks,” he said.
In a blog on the military’s media website, Brigadier John Donnelly, head of the Army Personnel Services Group, said: “This is a very serious allegation which is subject to an ongoing Service Police investigation.
“The Army will not tolerate this type of behaviour, and anyone who is found guilty of committing such an offence will be punished in accordance with our disciplinary processes, which can include dismissal,” he said.