War heroes without heating at Suffolk base

SOLDIERS who have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq were last nightleft without central heating in their homes for a second night after a Suffolk army barracks ran out of gas.

Anthony Bond

SOLDIERS who have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq were last nightleft without central heating in their homes for a second night after a Suffolk army barracks ran out of gas.

The problems on the Sutton Heath Estate in Rock Barracks, Woodbridge, which is the home of 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault), began on Sunday evening.

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer said the situation was a “real blow” to the soldiers and their families.


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It is believed that one of two gas tanks which supply almost 260 homes with heating ran out, with another also running dangerously low.

Last night, as temperatures plummeted to -2C, families were told they would be given two portable heaters each.

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The wife of one serving soldier said her house was so cold that she could see her breath in front of her face. She said she believed at least 75 homes for soldiers and their families had been left without heating.

The mother-of-two, whose husband has served in Afghanistan and Iraq, also launched an attack on the facilities at Rock Barracks.

“I have been with the Army for a number of years now and this is the worst place that I have ever been,” she said.

“My heating went off on Sunday night at about 9pm and I was just told to wear extra layers of clothes and use blankets. My children went to bed on Sunday night in sleeping bags.

“Things like this are always happening. I think the conditions should be a lot better. We do not get much support from the barracks which I find really frustrating.

“These are big American houses and take a lot to heat up. This is not how we should be living but I get told 'it is the Army, do not worry about it'. When it is like this you think 'what is the point?' There are so many people that do not want to be part of this life because it is rubbish.”

Last night, Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer said he had been told that the problems began because a contractor failed to fill up a gas tank before Christmas. He was told that every property would need to be reconnected to the system, which would begin today.

He said: “I think it is a real blow to the soldiers' families and we owe them a great deal at this time. I am determined to discover whether it is one of those unfortunate accidents or if it could have been avoided. “The most important thing is to get the gas back on before we start recriminations and I am determined to make sure this happens over the next day.

“It is hugely damaging and extremely unpleasant for these people but it does not seem to me as though it is the Army's fault.”

No one could comment from the Ministry of Defence.

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