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AN ARMY sergeant and four corporals accused of bullying recruits were simply demonstrating the "lighter side of the army", their former CO said yesterday.

The five are alleged to have made youngsters put soap and hair in their mouths, forcing one to simulate sex in front of colleagues and others to wipe chocolate from an NCO's bottom. A mock execution A mock execution is a method of psychological torture, whereby the subject is made to believe that they are being led to their execution. This usually involves blindfolding the subject, making them recount last wishes, or making them dig their own grave, and sometimes it can go as  is also said to have been staged. But ex-lieutenant Hugo Smyth, 29, called the incidents at a training college at Winchester, Hants, "just a bit of fun".

He told a court-martial: "Soldiers have personalities too." Mr Smyth, now a civilian, said: "We were trying to get the schoolboy out of the recruits and put the soldier into them." Cpl Kevin Hosford used a Mars bar The Mars Bar is a chocolate bar manufactured by Mars Incorporated. It was first manufactured in Slough in the United Kingdom in 1932 as a sweeter version of the Milky Way bar which Mars produced in the USA.  melted between his buttocks buttocks /butĀ·tocks/ (butĀ“oks) the two fleshy prominences formed by the gluteal muscles on the lower part of the back.  to show the consequences of defecating in a sleeping bag, it is said.

Mr Smyth said the reaction from recruits was one of amusement and they did not mind wiping away the chocolate. He added: "As a lesson, it got the point across in an enthusiastic manner." Referring to allegations that instructors put soap and hair in recruits' mouths to punish untidiness, he said: "You have to employ a method they will remember."

He could not recall a mock execution, but said blank ammunition from an exercise would be "fired off" at the end of the day. Mr Smyth added: "On this particular occasion, rounds were aimed in the general direction of the recruits.

"They would roll down the hill and play `dead ant' like in the television programme Blackadder. They would shake their arms and legs in the air."

Cpl Hosford and Cpl Mark Hey, of the Royal Dragoon Guards The Royal Dragoon Guards is a cavalry regiment of the British Army. It was formed in 1992 by the amalgamation of two other regiments:
  • 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards
  • 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards
, Sgt Carl Dakin, of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards Dragoon guards was, in some armies, particularly the British Army, the designation used to refer to heavy cavalry regiments from the 18th century onwards. Dragoon guards usually wore cuirasses and helmets and carried heavy sabres, and were similar to cuirassiers in other armies. , Cpl Trevor Gray, of the Queen's Royal Hussars The Queen's Royal Hussars (The Queen's Own and Royal Irish), (QRH), is the senior United Kingdom light cavalry regiment. It was formed on 1 September 1993 from the amalgamation of The Queen's Own Hussars and The Queen's Royal Irish Hussars. , and Cpl Brian Gildea, of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys) (SCOTS DG) is a cavalry regiment of the British Army, and the senior Scottish regiment. It was formed on 2 July 1971 at Holyrood, Edinburgh, by the amalgamation of the 3rd Carabiniers (Prince of Wales's Dragoon Guards) , all deny ill-treatment charges.

Yesterday at Aldershot, Hosford, Hey and Dakin were each cleared of one of the charges against them. The court-martial continues.
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 7, 1999
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