‘I was bullied in the army, they pointed guns at my head’ | UK News
Mark Holder, 37, is an Iraq veteran. He was forced to leave the armed forces because of bullying by members of his own unit who pointed loaded guns at his head.
Mark was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was seven, and he says it was the main reason he was bullied.
Here, he tells Sky News how it got so bad it almost drove him to suicide:
I was in the army for 15 years and it was all I ever wanted to do with my life.
I joined because my grandfather was in the Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) and it was my dream to follow in his footsteps.
But my career was cut short because of bullies.
I joined the RLC as a chef and I had no problems, I passed all my training.
I went to Germany in 2004, from there I went to Iraq and had no problem there, but the harassment started in Windsor.
I was called “stupid”, “idiot” and “thick”.
I was told “you shouldn’t be in the army, people like you should be locked up” – all the names you can think of that someone can call you.
Then in 2010 I transferred to the Royal General Corps and it just carried on.
The last straw was when I suggested we take a picture after we had come off the firing range.
They’d all gone off and were talking and told me, “Oh, we are just discussing something, you’re not needed”.
They had planned it.
When I looked at the picture I saw all their loaded rifles pointed at my head.
I still have flashbacks to that day.
I finally decided to make a formal complaint even though I was shut down.
As soon as you make a complaint your career is over – they close ranks around you.
Every year you get a report which looks at your strengths and weaknesses and whether you are recommended for a promotion.
I had always received great evaluations but after I complained I started getting bad ones.
They did everything possible to get me out. They painted me badly on purpose to get rid of me.
I’m a carer now, working with people who have learning difficulties, but I have lost so much money because I would have been in the army for the rest of my career, it’s all I ever wanted to do.
All I want is my pension and for things like this to stop happening.
At times I have felt like all I want to do is take one of those rifles and turn it on myself.
I’m 37 now, by this point I would have finished 22 years in the army, but I’ve been robbed of it all because of these bullies.
:: Sky News has reached out to the Ministry of Defence for comment.