WHITEHALL has been blasted by an SAS veteran after the army was forced to evacuate soldiers from a damp-infested military barracks this week.
About 10 people have had to leave their accommodation at Baker Barracks, on Thorney Island, after mould was reported in one of the buildings.
A whistleblower at the military base - which is home to hundreds of troops from 12th and 16th Regiment Royal Artillery - said the evacuation was sparked after a soldier ‘fell ill’ with a ‘damp-related’ condition.
The source, who The News is not naming, said: ‘This is outrageous. You’ve got guys coming back from operations and they’re coming to live in squalor like this. It’s a joke.’
Now, prominent Hampshire soldier and ex-special forces hero, Phil Campion has hit out and demanded action at the ‘highest level’ to address the shocking state of Britain’s military accommodation.
He said: ‘This is criminal. We’re causing our own troops to fall ill. That’s ridiculous.It’s a blue-on-blue.
‘This needs to be looked at the highest levels and sorted. Soldiers coming home from deployment shouldn’t have to be worrying about their own health here. They need somewhere to relax.’
A number of specialist air defence troops from 30 Battery (Rogers’s Company) of 16th Regiment are returning to Thorney Island this week after a six-month stint defending the Falklands.
The shock revelation of the base’s barracks comes just days after an influential group of MPs on the public accounts committee slated the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the state of its military accommodation, saying it was leading to a morale crisis.
Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP who also sits on the committee, was outraged at the state of the base’s barracks.
He said: ‘It seems highly unjust the same government asking brave service people to step into harm’s way for the good of the nation cannot even house them in safe and suitable accommodation. What message does this send out to the forces community?
‘It is not just the individual soldiers at Baker Barracks who are affected, this government has allowed soldiers to become non-operational through sheer negligence and indifference, this type of incident puts the whole nation at risk. This is a serious failing that must be addressed.’
The MoD said it was ‘aware of damp affecting a number of bedrooms’ and that a survey of the building was being carried out before action is taken to rectify it.
A spokeswoman added: ‘We take the safety of our personnel seriously and all soldiers in the building have been moved to alternative accommodation until the matter is resolved.’
In January 2017, The News revealed how soldiers at Thorney Island had been left ‘furious’ after being left without heating for months.
An investigation by The News in February, 2017, showed a backlog of 2,000 repairs to military homes in Hampshire was causing some families to live in squalid conditions.