More than 2,000 soldiers drafted in to help guard London Olympics venues have to sleep in a cramped and poorly lit concrete bunker that used to be the underground car park of an old shopping mall in Tobacco Dock.
The space is filled with rows and rows of cots for all the soldiers. The worst part is, its location also means it is near enough for the soldiers to smell the stench from a row of overflowing portable lavatories.
This is the sleeping condition of the British heroes from the 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (1PWRR) who are in London to help keep the Games safe.
Many of the troops had to cancel their annual leaves, which they are entitled to after serving six months straight on the front line in Afghanistan. The troops had to fill in the security gap caused by the shortcomings of private security firm G4S.
According to the fuming mother of one soldier, the lodgings were ‘absolutely disgusting’ and were ‘worse than Afghanistan’.
“They were treated better in the desert,” said Simon Lynch-Garbett, 56, whose son James, 28, was part of the troops deployed to the Olympics. “They’ve spent months in Afghanistan fighting for our country and this is the way they’re being treated.”
A soldier, who refused to disclose his identity, also said: “Everyone’s feeling really miserable about it. Morale is really low.”
Another military source also added: “It’s nightmarishly hot in some of the rooms because they heat up all day and then are crammed full of the lads.”
The MoD, however, responded that it was ‘working hard’ to make the soldiers’ accommodation as comfortable as possible.
To ease their conditions, local businesses and shops have decided to add to the soldiers’ rations from the army, offering them pizzas and fast food at half price.
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