Fred Holroyd: ex-intelligence officer who says he was forced to leave the British army when he raised concern about a shoot-to-kill policy.

Fred Holroyd: Ex-surgeon backs ‘false mental illness’ case

A former military surgeon is backing legal action by an ex-intelligence officer who says he was forced to leave the Army because he raised concerns about an alleged shoot-to-kill policy.

Fred Holroyd said he was falsely diagnosed with a psychiatric illness for political reasons.

These allegations have now been backed by Dr Hugh Thomas, who was working in a hospital where Mr Holroyd was admitted.

The Ministry of Defence is expected to robustly contest the claim.

Fred Holroyd, is suing the Ministary of Defence (MoD).

Mr Holroyd, a former Army captain who served in County Armagh in the 1970s, is suing the Ministry of Defence.

Who is Fred Holroyd?
He has said he was unlawfully detained in the military wing of Musgrave Park Hospital in south Belfast and an Army hospital near Southampton in May 1975.

“I have evidence, through the recent disclosure of my British Army medical file, of a tortuous malicious conspiracy to unlawfully detain me in a military psychiatric institution and to force me to resign from the British Army,” he said.

He has said he was targeted because he made allegations about collusion between Army units and loyalist and republican paramilitaries, and alleged some soldiers were operating a shoot-to-kill policy.

Former Military Surgeon Dr Hugh Thomas will give evidence in the case

Dr Thomas, a major with the Royal Army Corp who was based at Musgrave Park, said he believes the Army ordered doctors to diagnose a mental health condition.

“I think it (the Army) had made its mind up to have a diagnosis that they wanted,” he told the BBC.

He remembered the day Mr Holroyd was admitted because a consultant with no psychiatric qualifications complained that he had been ordered to diagnose a psychiatric condition.

“The first I knew about it was when a senior physician colleague of mine came into the theatre and sought sanctuary, and he sought sanctuary because he had been ordered to section Fred, and had found that an abhorrent request, which it was,” he said.

The retired consultant believes military law and medical ethics were breached and he said he was willing to go to court to give evidence on Mr Holroyd’s behalf.

“It was an appalling thing to ask someone to section someone for a political reason, and I believe this was a political reason,” he said.

Captain Fred Holroyd, pictured in 1974 ‘I was in the way’ Mr Holroyd resigned from the Army in 1976.

He has claimed on many occasions that he was victim of an internal war between elements of the British intelligence services.

Lawyers representing Mr Holroyd in his writ against the MoD say his claims are supported by military medical records released in 2016, which state he “presented without any material psychiatric symptoms and remained entirely rational at all times”.

When asked why be believed the military authorities would act in the way he has alleged, he said they wanted to get rid of him.

“To keep me quiet about my complaints about what had been going on in Ireland,” he added.

“I was in the way and I think the policy was eased in over me and I had to be got rid of.”

Mr Holroyd is claiming damages from the MoD for unlawful detention, and is also seeking compensation for loss of pay and military pension.

His lawyers claim that no one with any qualifications in psychiatry assessed his mental condition.

‘Inappropriate to comment’
“I have always said that there was nothing wrong with me and that I was not mentally ill,” Mr Holroyd told the BBC.

He is also seeking an apology.

“All I’ve ever said is just say ‘we made a mistake, we’re sorry, and what can we do to make it right’. They’ve never said that.”

In a statement the MoD said that “as legal proceedings are ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment at this stage”.

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the origional story.

British Royal Navy in trouble once again as major leak found on £3.1bn new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth

HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed into Portsmouth in August following preparations at the naval base

HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed into Portsmouth in August following preparations at the naval base

The UK’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is leaking because of a faulty seal.

The Royal Navy’s future flagship, which was commissioned by the Queen earlier this month in Portsmouth, has a problem with one of its propeller shafts.

The fault on the £3.1bn carrier was first identified during sea trials.

A Royal Navy spokesman said the ship was scheduled for repair and the fault did not prevent it from sailing again early in the new year.

According to the Sun newspaper, HMS Queen Elizabeth has been taking on up to 200 litres of sea water every hour because of the fault.

BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale said the problem was “highly embarrassing” for the Royal Navy and just one of a number of snags still to be rectified.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: “An issue with a shaft seal has been identified during HMS Queen Elizabeth’s sea trials; this is scheduled for repair while she is alongside at Portsmouth.

“It does not prevent her from sailing again and her sea trials programme will not be affected.”

Presentational grey line
Analysis

The commissioning ceremony took place on 7th December

The commissioning ceremony took place on 7 December
By Jonathan Beale, BBC defence correspondent

The Royal Navy is trying to play down the problem, after first trying to hide it.

It is clearly embarrassing.

They have known about the problem for some time but they did not want it to get in the way of the commissioning ceremony in front of the Queen.

The truth is similar leaks in other warships are not unusual and can be fixed relatively easily.

The difference this time though is the scale of HMS Queen Elizabeth and the fact she has just been handed over to the navy.

bbc.co.uk/…ews/av/embed/p05rhxd5/42406138

The big question is whether the leak can be fixed while it is still in the water.

The navy insists the job can be done without her going back to dry dock, which would be costly and add to delays.

Either way, the navy insists the fault will have to be rectified and paid for by the contractors, along with a list of other “snags”.

Presentational grey line
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the cost of the repair would be funded by the contractors that built it.

He added: “This is the reason why we have the sea trials, to make sure that everything is working absolutely perfectly. This is something that work is currently ongoing to deal with.”

‘Expect to take on water’
HMS Queen Elizabeth was built by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a grouping of BAE Systems, Babcock and Thales.

Blocks were completed at six yards – Govan and Scotstoun in Glasgow, Appledore, Cammell Laird in Liverpool, A&P in Newcastle and Portsmouth – before being assembled at Rosyth Dockyard in Fife.

BAE Systems, which confirmed the affected section was built at its site in Govan, said the repair would be done in the new year and take a few days.

The company said: “It is normal practice for a volume of work and defect resolution to continue following vessel acceptance. This will be completed prior to the nation’s flagship recommencing her programme at sea in 2018.”

Graphic showing location of leak from propeller shaft on HMS Queen Elizabeth
The maximum amount of water the carrier is said to be taking on every hour is 200 litres – the capacity of fish tank measuring 100cm x 50cm x 40cm.

Rear Admiral Chris Parry, a former director of operational capability at the Ministry of Defence, said the headlines were “very embarrassing” but the leak “in reality is no big deal”.

“You expect to take some water in when you’re operating a warship at sea,” he told the BBC, adding that was why they are equipped with pumps.

He said: “It’s been out for sea trials, it’s been under pressure. They’ve been testing all their systems to the extremes and I’m afraid to say this is what happens at sea.”

The 900ft (280m) long HMS Queen Elizabeth entered its home port of Portsmouth for the first time in August after starting two months of sea trials from Rosyth.

It is the first of the UK’s new generation of aircraft carriers.

A second carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, is externally complete but it will take 18 months to fit its internal systems at Rosyth and it will be 2019 before the ship can begin sea trials.

No planes
News of the leak comes after MPs raised concerns over the costs of the F-35 jet aircraft that will fly off HMS Queen Elizabeth.

HMS Queen Elizabeth takes to the sea

The UK has begun a £9.1bn programme to buy 48 of the F-35s by 2025 from US giant Lockheed Martin.

But the Commons defence select committee said there had been an “unacceptable lack of transparency” over the jets, with one estimate suggesting each plane would cost more than £150m.

HMS Queen Elizabeth cannot currently deploy planes but the Lightning fighter jets are due to make their first trial flights from the carrier’s deck next year, with 120 air crew being trained in the US.

A new national shipbuilding strategy was unveiled by then Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon in September.

The government has said it plans to buy at least five new Type 31e frigates by 2023, and share the work between shipyards across the country.

The first batch of new ships will bolster the Royal Navy fleet, but it is hoped foreign navies will buy ships from the UK in future.

HMS Queen Elizabeth
The Royal Navy’s largest ever surface warship
65,000

Tonnes

£3.1bn

Cost

280m Flight deck length

700 Crew currently on board

155,000 miles Length of electrical cable inside the ship

162db Volume of foghorn

With many thanks to: BBC England for the origional story

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