Out in the Army: My Life as a Gay Soldier
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Seeking escape from the quiet Welsh countryside, James Wharton joined the British Army. Along the way, he faced a battle of his own: finding the courage to tell his fellow soldiers he is gay.
Written with searing honesty, James charts his incredible journey from punch bag to poster boy, along the way describing the tribulations of coming to terms with his sexuality. Late nights in the clubs of Soho to early mornings guarding the Queen; rocket attacks in Iraq to tank rides with Prince Harry on the plains of Canada—this is James's life out in the army.
come by this footage and had filled their pages with its images. Some of the lads were quite young but others were much older and perhaps should have known better. One was even a married senior corporal of horse. The colonel blew his top big time over what he was reading and gave us all a huge telling-off on the main square, but it didn’t stop the behaviour. A week later there was another front-pager, this time about some of us Blues and Royals buying cocaine off an undercover reporter one night
the next few weeks, months and years had in store for me. Though I was probably more prepared than most, I still had no idea what I was letting myself in for. I didn’t know that I was about to embark on the greatest journey of my life, a journey that would see me visit some of the darkest holes earth has hidden away from the majority of its people. I didn’t know that in ten years’ time I’d be the happiest I’d ever been, openly gay and married to the love of my life, living in London with the
hard-earned wages in. A British soldier is used to having his three square meals a day; the Americans had four and the option to just turn up as and when they felt like just in case they were still hungry. We’d never seen so much food. Of course, it was all free! The place was just incredible – it was like a big holiday camp. Our first morning in Kuwait was spent sorting out our belongings and trying to track down our weapons. We had all been placed in huge white canvas tents for our week of
like I saw last night. It was AMAZING! Mum would have had a heart attack though. When we were just passing time I’d lie on my camp bed outside of the cam net and look up at the stars. I was awestruck by them in the desert. You could see millions and millions. Gibbo, who was a bit of an expert when it came to astronomy, spent hours pointing out various constellations and planets to the rest of us. We could even see satellites orbiting the earth. It was hard to put into perspective what we were
vehicles. I imagined the pride of marching out and collecting our medal. It was my first time in the turret and I might be awarded from the start. Out of absolutely nowhere, our sirens started to sound and our lights began to flash. We’d been hit. I dropped down into the turret to read the display screen. We’d been destroyed. Our fight was over. I stood back up and saw Harry swearing at someone. A sneaky enemy Challenger Two tank had crept up on us from behind a hill. It took one shot. Our