Monday, May 11, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: James Gray & the Photo of a Dying Soldier

Tory MP James Gray seems to have developed a habit of embarrassing himself in matters military. Following on from Saturday night's revelation that he tried to recoup the cost of a Remembrance Sunday wreath, I have now learned of something which further illustrates just how crass and insensitive he can be.

Two months ago Gray was part of a cross party delegation visiting Afghanistan to learn about the British military operations there. During the visit, the MPs were present at an airbase as a very badly wounded soldier was transferred from a Hercules to another plane which was taking his back to a military hospital. The MPs did their best not to get in the way as the very poorly soldier was wheeled across the tarmac to the plane. It was a very sombre moment. Suddenly, James Gray took out his camera and proceeded to take photos of the soldier. His colleagues looked on aghast. They were so shocked that none of them could react quickly enough to tell him to stop it.

The MPs were then summoned into a sideroom by the Brigadier in charge who yelled at them and told them that taking photos on such an occasion was totally unacceptable. He ordered whoever was taking the photos to delete them from their camera. Needless to say, Gray failed to step forward and own up. Whether he did delete the photos is not known.

The other MPs on the trip were most concerned that his behaviour would damage the prospects of future trips, as the military would think that MPs just couldn't be trusted to be present on such sensitive occasions.

James Gray is chairman of the All Party Army Group. He has brought shame to the group on two occasions now. Perhaps they ought to seek a new chairman.

The soldier, whose photograph James Gray was so keen to take, sadly died.

UPDATE 11.48am: James Gray has just issued this statement, which I am happy to publish in full.
During a recent parliamentary trip to Afghanistan, the army were keen to demonstrate the process by which wounded soldiers are flown in to Kandahar on a Hercules (based at RAF Lyneham in my constituency) and swiftly transferred across the runway to a C-17 fully equipped with the latest medical equipment. We were all shown on to the C-17 and posed for photographs with the medical staff on board, many of whom come from North Wilts. I press released those photos. We were then ushered back to the terminal to watch the incoming Hercules and the transfer operation, of all of which we all took photographs.

The Brigadier who was then flying on with us to Camp Bastion did indeed tell all of us that if any of us had taken photographs of the wounded we should delete them, which we were all of course delighted to do.

I am by no means certain that I had done, since were were 500 yards away at all events, and of course my interest was in the plane, not the wounded. But I and my colleagues were happy to reassure the Brigadier that if there were any such photographs, we would of course be very pleased to delete them.

The story is a gross distortion and exaggeration, and clearly designed to be a personal slur and smear of the worst kind.

My story is 100% correct and comes from a witness to the events. This witness has said he will go on the record if Mr Gray disputes it. Ignoring the hyperbole of the last sentence, Gray's statement merely confirms what I wrote, so far as I can see.

I don't make a habit of slagging off Conservative MPs. Indeed, I am fully aware that by writing this story, and the one on Saturday, I could be thrown off the Conservative candidates list. I have no agenda. I've never met James Gray, but this seems to fit with everything I have ever been told about him. In my opinion he is not fit to be a Conservative MP and I do not regret saying so. No matter what the consequences are.

UPDATE 11.51: I have just had an email from another MP on the trip who has confirmed everything I said was totally accurate. In case you were wondering...

UPDATE 22.55: The Daily Mail is now running the story. It ends... "Mr Gray yesterday flatly denied taking pictures of the soldier, but three MPs who were on the trip said this was 'utter rubbish'."

96 comments:

Charon QC said...

A - Honourable Artillery Company. he should know better.

As you say - crass and insensitive. I agree.

Simon Harley said...

Just how reliable is this story? It's very convenient that it is released to you at this time rather inopportune time for James Gray.

Letters From A Tory said...

*put head in hands and proceed to shake head slowly from side to side*

Unbelievable.

Armchair said...

Miserable little shit

Sam Ellis said...

This is truly shocking Iain, absolutely disgusting. David Cameron, or even his Constituency Party can't ignore this and action should be taken against him. He has no right to sit in our Parliament.

Anonymous said...

Put this insensitive clown into a uniform and send him overseas to fight the Queen's enemies.

The Rifle said...

James Gray is a f*cking disgrace from start to finish.

To his local Association: please PLEASE de-select him.

Matthew Dear said...

What a prat. It's the failure to step forward to own up that gets me. Spineless waster. A senior officer has asked for someone to admit to something, and he's kept quiet. Member of the HONOURABLE Artillery Company!? Don't make me laugh/cry...

Why didn't his colleagues just dump him in it? I would have done. "James, that was you, wasn't it old chum? Be a good chap and give the nice Brigader your camera."

Anonymous said...

Put this insensitive man into a uniform and send him abroad to fight the Queen's enemies.

Philipa said...

Why do these people keep their jobs?

Ed said...

Why is he still in the party, let alone an MP? He needs to go and never come back.

Montague Burton said...

Why would a sentient being even consider doing that? Was Mundell of Kandahar on this trip? He does claim for his wreaths.

John McClane said...

The man's a disgrace.

Rebel Saint said...

Would I be correct in thinking you don't like James Gray?!

If this is how low our MP's can go, it isn't even worth contemplating how low the pond-life I call "journalists" must be. [BTW - I'm one of those who think claiming for a wreath isn't an abuse].

Whilst it is good & proper that the abusers of the system be exposed & brought to account, I do think there is something to be said for make sure we exalt those who have indeed proved to be "honourable members".

neil craig said...

And according to that story the other MP's refused to clipe on the one who had been taking the photos.

Such things happen where, whatever the public fights, all members believe themselves part of a group who must protect each other from outsiders. his applies whether we are talking about schoolboys, the Bullingdon club or, it appears, our elected representatives.

Rab C. Nesbitt said...

What a complete knob.

Nick said...

Probably bought the camera on expenses.

Oliver Drew said...

*looks aghast*

I didn't think it got much more crass than asking for a wreath to be paid on expenses. Guess I was wrong.

Odious little individual.

Nick Thornsby said...

Perhaps North Wiltshire ought to find a new MP.

Unsworth said...

Real soldiers are not impressed by the Hoorays. The HAC is a sort of exclusive club extension of the public school CCF (Combined Cadet Force). As such it has little soldiering ability. But they do have quite elegant uniforms - witness the Lord Mayor's Show - to ponce about in.

Frankly it's just the sort of behaviour one would expect of such an idiot. Complete insensitivity and no real understanding at all. God help his constituents. Had he been in any of the regiments in which I have been privileged to serve he would have been returned from Afghanistan as a CASEVAC after such behaviour. I think the Brigadier - whoever that might be - let him (and probably his colleagues) off remarkably lightly.

Unsworth said...

@ Rebel Saint

Name these 'honourable members'.

Anonymous said...

"I have now learned of something which further illustrates just how crass and insensitive he can be."

Don't forget that this is also the guy who had an affair with Rupert Mayo QC's wife whilst his own wife was fighting breast cancer. Nice guy, hey?

Guthrum said...

I would like to say unbelievable- but I cannot because it is believable.

Brown/Cameron/Clegg should now be thinking of the good standing of Parliament and agree a general election, and they purge all parties of venal wasters like this.

Thatsnews said...

Yes. I am quite certain that the Brigadier would want things like that kept out of the public eye.

"What on Earth would happen to my promotion? Err... I mean, what would the soldier's family think?" I can imagine the thoughts flashing through his mind.

Nicholas J. Rogers said...

There's no a shortage of decent people looking to get into Parliament - I know several myself - and it is frankly unjust that ghastly arrogant people like James Gray (who is obviously utterly devoid of self-awareness) should be sitting at their expense.

Clear the way, Gray!

Shinsei said...

Why is claiming for a wreath on expenses an abuse if the wreath is being laid in the MP's official capacity ?

If the wreath is being laid in a personal capacity then obviously to claim it on expenses is disgraceful. Similarly claiming for any charitable donation. But if the MP for North Wiltshire is presenting a wreath (or wreaths) ex-officio on behalf of the constituency then it seems a reasonable expense.

I notice that James Gray is, like Gordon Brown, a "son of the manse" as his father was the Moderator of the Church of Scotland.

Faceless Bureaucrat said...

"Corpral, akix the Blindfold to the Prisoner.

Company, Present Arms,

Ready,

Aim..."

Rebel Saint said...

"Name these honourable members" - Unsworth

The ones that the Telegraph doesn't end up naming.

Of course we should be grateful that we have such righteous and incorruptible journalists who know nothing of excess expenses!

The Apiarist said...

Obviously there are two arguements to make here. Firstly, we will all agree that taking a photograph of someone in this situation is a rather distasteful thing to do; however, if Kevin Carter had never taken his famous "make the world weap" photo (http://jj2570a.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/2077028.jpg), or Eddie Adams' had failed to photo the vietcong soldier at his moment of death, these tragic events would be forgotten.

I'm not defending Gray per se but I don't think we should question his right to want to document an event which must have moved him.

Jonathan Cook said...

Iain,

I trust your views on most matters, however, I hope that there is no Conservative equivalent of Damian McBride out there spinning to destroy people and reputations.

Iain Dale said...

Jonathan, I don't make a habit of attacking Tory MPs unless I am very sure of my ground. As you can imagine, this sort of thing is unlikely to go down well with certain people.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Ok so the guy was a terrible James Blunt, but...

Where are the pictures of wounded, dying hideously disfigured soldiers?

Why aren't they plastered over every page of every newspaper and blog?

They effing should be, to remind the leisure suited, fat arsed voters who think Afhanistan is where fluffy coats come from.

Remember how powerful the Napalm Girl picture was?

Or the one of the Vietcong fighter being shot in the head?


War is shitty and horrible and an affront to the dignity of man. I say, show it like it is, not give us sanitized pictures of Gordon Brown in front of a tank surrounded by soldiers in their best battle dress.

Let's just remind all those young men, the ones who are recession recruits, who will return like aged philosophers and the mothers who shed tears for their sons and the sweethearts and wives, alone with their memories - just what it is all about.

davidc said...

'---but if the MP for North Wiltshire is presenting a wreath (or wreaths) ex-officio on behalf of the constituency then it seems a reasonable expense.'

if he were laying a wreath on behalf of his political party i would expect the constituency party to pay for the wreath from their own funds

Julian Bray UK said...

I am certain the Honourable MP will say that it was within the rules

Alan said...

@Weasel:
"Remember how powerful the Napalm Girl picture was?
Or the one of the Vietcong fighter being shot in the head?"


Those were very different circumstances, where the images were shot under duress by war photographers or correspondents.

Not by a twat on expenses.

Get your brain in gear.

Jonathan Cook said...

Iain,

Thanks for your note... sorry I wasn't clear previously, I trust you on this story too.

I was meaning to say, I'm just sat here fingers crossed that there is no Tory 'attack unit' out there leaking information into the public domain....

I genuinely hope that the Conservatives are going to clean up politics and make a major positive impact on the management of the country.

Anonymous said...

Better start the whip round now?

Someone bagsy Carter Ruck.

Tin hats on.

The lads are right behind you, Iain.

Simon Harley said...

"We were then ushered back to the terminal to watch the incoming Hercules and the transfer operation, of all of which we all took photographs." That suggests that other people were photographing the transfer. Do your sources confirm or refute that, Iain?

When the Brigadier supposedly ordered any photos of the incident to be deleted, how does that translate into "I want whoever did it to stand up and be recognised," which seems to be what you were expecting.

This isn't a defence of Gray himself, as anyone who has an affair has automatically lost my respect. Since you're obviously leading on this story though I would hope for it to be laid out in an iron-clad manner.

strapworld said...

Iain,

He sums it up himself, doesn't he!

"and of course my interest was in the plane, not the wounded"

What kind of mindless fool is this? NOT interested in the wounded!

Cameron has to sack this grade 'A' SHITE!

Anonymous said...

Iain, You have been accused of smearing Mr Gray - perhaps you should sue him?

strapworld said...

I would agree with wicked weasel, but this is completely different.

We ARE being excluded from the true facts of this war. We are not being told the truth on injuries to our personnel.

For every death their are many injured and the extent of their injuries is never revealed.

That is for another day when we have a responsible House of Commons full of Honourable people and concerned about the welfare of those they send to fight wars. AND not line their own pockets and act in such a disgraceful way as this man Gray!

He is beneath contempt

Icarus said...

"...and of course my interest was in the plane, not the wounded." Of course!

Wrinkled Weasel said...

please note, nowhere do I support this man's action on bit, in fact my original comment begins by calling him a c... (on my blog I describe his actions as "inappropriate".

so my brain is in gear thank you, and my point is exactly that what we do not want is a sanitized view of war.

If there were more Vietnam style photographers and correspondents, instead of correspindents, people might wise up.

Thatsnews said...

If it was as the MP described it, why did he not say something at the time?

Or is he now using the opportunity to give Gray a bit of a kick? Why? Is he trying to deflect something from himself?

Or is he genuinely remorseful that he id nothing at the time and is trying to make amends for his dereliction of duty at the time?

albertmbankment said...

ZoneAlarm tells me that the tinyurl.com link you posted in your Twitter lines up ^ there at the top, re. the James Gray story, is a site hosted in the Netherlands which is a notorious placer of spyware. So, I didn't click it. What's it all about, then?

Norm said...

I don't know about him which is maybe why I don't really get the fuss... people seem to hate him by default and are just looking for excuses to slag him off.

With this and the wreaths thing on CH the other day there seems to be a total over-reaction - and why post this now?

It may be true but also his statement may also be true.

Wurzelgooner said...

Your tale is a pile of tosh, being blunt.
How you can possibly say Gray's statement backs up what you said originally beggars belief. Your version gives the impression he was:
a) in the face of the dying soldier - not true, he was "500 yards away"
b) the only one taking photos - not true, most MPs were too.
c) the brigadier bawled them out - not true either.

It must be wonderful to spread vicious tittle tattle without checking things out first or at least trying to be balanced. Say what you like about whether Gray is fit to be an MP - his constituency members thought so, despite a strong campaign from upon high to oust him - but the unreliable nature of this tale leads one to believe YOU'RE not fit to be an MP either.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Iain - I'm not sure about this one. Your first story appeared to suggest, and this may be my vivid imagination at work, that Gray was acting like a paparazzo. If he was 500 yards away - which you seem to accept - then this isn't much of a story surely.

I've no doubt that Gray isn't a very nice man as the wreaths episode seems to show, but I think you may have painted some broad strokes here which don't quite give the full story. Essentially your contention that his version of events confirms your version of events is not really true and I suspect you've gone too far with this to admit this.

moorlandhunter said...

Reminds me of The Falklands War when a group of photographers were taking photos of dead British soldiers. A Tom walked up to them and said in no uncertain terms that if they did not stop and remove the film they would be lying next to the dead, because he would shoot them.
Quickly the film in their cameras was removed and cameras had their lens caps put on in two rapid movements.

Anonymous said...

You just have to look at the oaf's choice of language in his response. 'Delighted, very pleased'? Not, 'most concerned' to delete photographs which should never have been taken in the circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Well, if the story is true then I would guess that he is lucky that he was caught by a senior officer.
If a squaddie had caught him then he may have found out that an SA80 can fit into orifices of the brown kind.

subrosa said...

What are these MPs doing in places like Afghanistan. They have little interest in the military or they would have joined up themselves and these visits cause a great deal of disruption in war situations.

No respect for the military of course, just posturing and it's sickening. Are any of this All Party Army group ex-military? If not then they shouldn't be there.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are being set up to do the dirty work by someone who has a grudge against James Gray, Iain.

AD627 said...

If he was '500 yards away', your allegations that ‘The MPs did their best not to get in the way’ that ‘James Gray took out his camera and proceeded to take photos of the soldier’ and that ‘The soldier, whose photograph James Gray was so keen to take, sadly died’.

To state that ‘Ignoring the hyperbole of the last sentence, Gray's statement merely confirms what I wrote, so far as I can see’ is clearly absurd.

Perhaps you can stand your story up, but to pretend it is consistent with Gray’s statement is quite absurd.

De-Wip Gray! said...

I think the party should take the wip away from this man, but I can not help think he should have the guts to resin or even bett take a bottle of brandy and a revolver into his office. He could put the brandy and gun on his expenses.

dalesman said...

Why hasn't this s**t had the whip whithdrawn and been de-selected? He's a bloody disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same James Gray who admiited an affair while his wife was suffering from breast cancer? (Telegraph 15th Sept 2006)

Hanglemez Pallaccini said...

His reply says it all. Pompous idiot. Well done for sticking up to your principles, even if it is against your own side. But will you remember to do this when you get elected as well? Or will you be slavishly loyal to your colleagues?

Rightwinggit said...

I've voted Conservative all my life, but if that hoon was my MP, I wouldn't.

And God help him if he knocked on my door.

sobers said...

I think the James Gray case proves my theory that people who commit acts of infidelity in their private lives are not to be trusted in their working lives also.

A total c**t.

Anonymous said...

Iain,

Difficult to understand why you are gunning for James Gray when you say you have never met him or have any agenda. With everything that is going on in terms of expenses and the general laziness and uselessness of our Parliamentarians at the moment, it seems extraordinary that you are deriving political significance from these tell-tales.

He was on a Parly trip to Afghanistan to listen to the concerns of our troops and their commanders; he's since spoken out in debates on Afghan while many in the HoC and this country have forgotten about the sacrifice of our troops. This is an MP doing is job, and frankly your focus on whether or not he took at photo at the wrong moment is bollocks.

disgusted said...

Anon 2:20pm.

That is bollocks. I am glad Iain is gunning for the idiot because

1. what he did was idiotic.

2. Either
a. Gray is lying or both
b. the two independent witnesses are and
c. the brigadier is an idiot.

My money is on 2a.

Anonymous said...

Are MPs subject to the Official Secrets Act?

Unsworth said...

@ Rebel Saint

So, do we elect journalists to be our representatives?

Just because one grouping in society are a bunch of chiselling crooks stealing our money does that mean that we should therefore condemn the activities of others who may or may not be stealing their employers cash?

We're dealing with (condemning) MPs rather than journalists - and their responsibilities and privileges are entirely different. But perhaps you don't understand the difference.

Anonymous said...

i think james gray should sue you,

Anonymous said...

Not one of the nice guys by the sounds of things, but should he not have had the opportunity to respond to what is a fairly serious accusation before this was put on-line for thousands to read?

Anonymous said...

Get a grip Iain. The way you have it in for this guy you'd think he was a kiddie fiddler. Two people can look at the same events and see two different things. The guy might be a prat but to say more is starting to sound like you have a hidden agenda.

Roy said...

Iain, just a thought. If "Earl Gray" was deselected, would Dan Hannan be available?

Anonymous said...

sounds like a McBride-type smear to me. Iain, I thought you were better than this...

Anonymous said...

Interesting, Iain, that after Gray made his rebuttal the more serious comments have turned against you. A response from you, I think, suggesting how you think that your version and Gray's version are the same would be a start. Put it this way, either Gray is lying or your source is lying. Time for you to decide which and put your money where your mouth is.

Anonymous said...

Just sent this letter to the Editor of the local newspaper;

"James Gray shames the Conservative party", that was the headline on Conservativehome on the same day that Iain Dale, influential Tory blogger, demanded that Gray should have the whip withdrawn. This comes after the revelation that James Gray raised a Parliamentary question, about having to pay for his own wreath for remembrance day.

Lord Carey (former Archbishop of Canterbury), said over the weekend , “Let us not forget there was a time when to become an MP was seen as a noble and honourable way of serving your country,” .. “Ask yourself now whether men or women of integrity from whatever walk of life will want to touch political office.”

I don't need to remind people of North Wiltshire of the sacrifices made by the Armed Forces through many wars and campaigns and Gray attempted to avoid sacrificing 20 pounds out of his own pocket for a wreath to honour the war dead. He wanted you, the tax payer, to pay it for him.

How dishonourable was this request?

Isn't it time we had an alternative Conservative candidate at the next election who would stand for and promote;

Honour,
Integrity,
Principle,
Morality,

And an appreciation of the needs of all people in all walks of life.

It is time for James Gray to do the honourable thing and stand down at the next General Election.
. Yours sincerely,
Lids

neil craig said...

Wrinkled Weasel's question is a valid one. Who decides that we shouldn't see war pictures nowadays. I have previously objected to the way the Dradogdan Massacre of 210 unarmed civilians by our police a few hundred yards from the British military HQ in Kosovo has gone completely unreported.

Compared with the publishing of Vietnam photos & reporting of the My Lai Massacre it is obvious our MSM is much more controlled indeed now.

Henry Mayhew said...

Only Iain could make people feel sympathetic to James Gray.

It seems to me:

1. He hasn't abused expenses
2. He acted appropriately in taking the pics and in agreeing to delete any that may have imposed on a wounded soldier.

Iain has been swinging wildly without landing a blow. Remind you of his campaign for North Norfolk?

AndrewJK said...

Iain, I agree with you most of the time but I really think you've made a bit of a boo-boo over this one.

You've picked a fight with James Gray over his expenses for a wreath (which he has given an explaination for at the time it happened) and what people have told you about him privately and during a trip to Afghanistan. How would James Gray know the soldier was dying if he was so far away anyway. You've painted Mr Gray as an uncaring, unpleasant individual without even knowing him or giving the courtesy of speaking to him first. You've also said he is not fit to be a Conservative MP. That is going very far. I'd expect this sort of reaction from people like Jon Gaunt, not your good self.

Anonymous said...

This is a link to the army rumour network for a thread discussing James Gray;

http://www.arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums/viewtopic/t=122735.html

The Grim Reaper said...

Utter, utter twat.

Why has Cameron still not kicked him out of the party?

Ximénes said...

Sigh... it makes you wonder how far from common decency some people are, what makes it even worse is that he is an ex-service himself.

Paleo said...

Unsworth, I trust you will explain your chippy ignorant comment:

"Real soldiers are not impressed by the Hoorays. The HAC is a sort of exclusive club extension of the public school CCF (Combined Cadet Force). As such it has little soldiering ability."...

to Trooper Jack Sadler's family.

Arma Pacis Fulcra

Anonymous said...

It would appear that James Gray is a walt of the highest order, anyone confirm what rank he reached in the TA and why he appears to be wearing brigadier slides in Afghanistan?

There are plenty of people in North Wilts who agree with Iain, we would dearly love to see the back of him.

James Manning said...

Horrific story.

One question, though, Iain. You criticised Steve Richards a few weeks ago for not disclosing sources more often - i think Lance Price described it as 'client journalism'? Would you consider naming your sources in this story to end this lying disgrace's career once and for all?

Unsworth said...

@ Paleo

Yes, you're absolutely right about this one member of the HAC, and believe me, I grieve for such men and their families and am enraged at their loss. However, that does not change the generalities, does it?

One speaks as one finds, and I have found that the HAC as an organisation is exactly as I have described. You may regard that as chippy - as no doubt you do all criticism and comment with which you disagree. Perhaps you judge the overall quality and attitudes of all regiments by the (brave) actions of a single one of their ranks, though? I do not.

As for Trooper Sadler, may he rest in peace and may his family some solace in their grim loss.

Cath said...

Not sure about this Iain. I AM sure that Gray has an unfortunate turn of phrase - "delighted" to remove the photos and "got away with" claiming for wreaths before. He sounds like much that I despise in the old Conservative Party and yet, this all strikes me as a bit too concerted. Would love to know what, or who, is behind this.

Anonymous said...

He is the sort of tory who risks keeping the tories out of office.

Kate. said...

I agree with you entirely Iain, and applaud you for taking this stand.

Philipa said...

Blimey. Taxi for James Gray..

Span Ows said...

Apologies if another poster has written this but...Iain, I'm sorry to say this but phrases like

"They were so shocked that none of them could react quickly enough to tell him to stop it."

...just won't wash. JG may be a cad but don't let's start airbrushing what happened. They did nothing, let them admit they did nothing but purleeeze don't write such tripe as

"They were so shocked that none of them could react quickly enough to tell him to stop it."

Paleo said...

No Unsworth I do not,

During my TA years I served two years in the Intelligence Corps, two years in the Infantry and six years in the HAC; so I "know" your comments are pure green eyed bilgewater. The HAC have had troops continually on operations in the Balkans, Iraq and now in Afghanistan.

Gray 'is' a shit mind.

Osama the Nazarene said...

I agree with previous commenters this is beginning to look like you are being set up by someone with a grudge against this Gray character.

Thatsnews said...

Iain, some years ago a be-medalled pillar of the local community gave me -in my capacity as a stringer for an evening paper- a story that put a Labour politician in a very bad light indeed. The story was written up by the news editor.

It was a fantastic story. The only problem was that it was as totally fictional as the pillar's war record and collection of medals. In short, he had made it up.

Upon establishing this fact I was able to have the story spiked and the potential libel was avoided.

AndyR said...

I have never heard of the guy before now, and his actions don't strike me as particularly callous or thoughtless. He was there as part of a fact-finding mission, and he wasn't actually standing over the soldier(s) with his camera. Nor would I describe transport of injured soldiers as a "sombre moment".

But the tone of his rebuttal seems a little undignified.

"The Brigadier [told] us that if any of us had taken photographs of the wounded we should delete them, which we were all of course delighted to do."

Not sure that "delighted" is the appropriate word to use in this context.

"... of course my interest was in the plane, not the wounded."

Erm... again, very poor choice of words in the circumstances.

Unsworth said...

@ Paleo

So, a total of ten years in the TA, of which six were with the HAC?Well, I'm not comparing reproductive equipment here, but you'll also understand - I hope - that other regiments have also continously served in those theatres - and others. I'd just observe that length of service is simply that - length of service.

Gray is a shit? Take a look at the comment on ARRSE, if you haven't already: http://www.arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums/viewtopic/t=122735/postdays=0/postorder=asc/start=0.html

Interesting choice of uniform, it seems.

Anonymous said...

This man should be deselected asap. He has nothing to commend him - neither brains nor charm.

Robert Harper said...

I served for seven years in the Army, and saw action in The Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the weekend I met up with a friend who was the officer who escorted these MPs on their latest trip to Afghanistan. He was with them at all times as their visit coordinator. He is adamant that this allegation is completely false, he says it simply never happened. Whoever is inventing this rubbish needs to take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror. Pathetic.

Unsworth said...

@ Robert Harper

So, three MPs are lying - or is it that one MP is lying? Gray's comments do not amount to a full denial of this incident happening. Is it likely that Gray would simply allow such allegations to be made without a full detailed rebuttal? What he says is that it is an exaggeration and a distortion - not quite the same as your position of it 'never' happening.

Anonymous said...

As the mother of Trooper Jack Sadler I can only say that one man's unfortunate behaviour should not sully the reputation of the whole. My son was proud to belong to HAC and I have no doubt that HAC is proud of him.
My experience tells me that each man is responsible for his own actions and that any blame cannot reside with any group to which he may belong, whether that group be political, military, religious or secular. Trooper Jack Sadler's Mother

Anonymous said...

As the mother of Trooper Jack Sadler I know that my son was proud to belong to HAC and I have no doubt that HAC are proud of him.
My experience of life informs me that each individual is responsible for his or her own actions. We dilute that responsibility by projecting it upon a group or groups to which that individual belongs. It matters not whether the group is military, political, religious or secular, the fault, if it be such, lies with the individual and his own conscience. Trooper Jack Sadler's Mother