letter on Deepcut from the herald

Today in the herald
Has any officer ever been tapping the boards on this subject??

OVER many months I have followed with interest, concern and deep sympathy the efforts of the bereaved parents to obtain from the Ministry of Defence a satisfactory explanation as to how their loved ones came to be killed at the Princess Royal Barracks, Deepcut.
Questions that have never been addressed concern the failure of the Army authorities to explain why the commissioned officers were not aware of what was going on under their noses. Anyone who has served in the armed forces must know that in certain circumstances they offer an environment in which bullying, sadism and thuggery can thrive unless these traits are spotted early and steps taken to stamp them out. These poor youngsters apparently could not complain without "going through the proper channels" which would mean reporting in the first instance to the very NCOs who may well be their tormentors.
Nowhere have I seen any suggestion of blame being attached to the commissioned officers from the brigadier down. When interviewed on TV at the time I recall that he seemed to display complacency rather than real concern.
Officer postings to such establishments as Deepcut and Catterick are often regarded as something of a sinecure and complacency can easily become endemic. I hesitate to suggest that such depots are often staffed by "second-raters" but a well-known method of getting rid of chaps who did not measure up was to give a glowing report and recommend to brigade a posting elsewhere! Events leading up to the Gulf war suggest that this is still much practised and many such ended up as "intelligence officers"/advisers in various branches of our MoD!
These young soldiers should have been able to approach their platoon commanders, education officer or padre in complete confidence as a last resort. I consider that the brigadier and all his staff deserve to be castigated for their failure to give the care and support due to them. Why should Deepcut staff escape punishment when more recently a chief constable was sacked because of the inadequacies of the officers under his command?
Over the years I have become increasingly cynical and disenchanted by the ineptness so often evident at all levels of government. Not the least of these has been the MoD which I consider to be unworthy of our fine armed forces. I congratulate the bereaved parents on their persistence and determination to force the government to hold a long-overdue public inquiry into the entire tragic business. As further examples of abuse emerge we, the public, must ensure that the government does not use events in Iraq and elsewhere, or forthcoming elections, as an excuse for doing nothing.
Tom Simpson

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