Six soldiers have been disciplined after racially abusing a black female soldier who has been the face of British Army Equality and Diversity campaigns.
The Royal Artillery troops have been given formal warnings after posting offensive remarks about Corporal Kerry-Ann Morris on social media.
In a Facebook discussion over recent weeks, the six soldiers from 159 (Colenso) Battery accused the 28-year-old of using her skin colour to secure promotions and of branding white colleagues as racists in a bid to sabotage their careers.
The troops faced being kicked out of the Army but were only reprimanded after Cpl Morris intervened on their behalf and persuaded senior officers to soften their approach.
Cpl Morris, from Nottingham, recently appeared in the controversial ‘Your Army Needs You’ recruitment campaign, which launched last month. Her face was seen on posters next to the slogan ‘Me, Me, Me Millennials, Your Army Needs You and Your Self-Belief’.
The message of the £1.5 million campaign was that character traits seen as flaws in young people could be turned into strengths by the Army. The campaign generated a huge response and, when Cpl Morris’s picture was circulated online, a group of British soldiers based in Gutersloh, Germany, posted a series of racist and offensive remarks about her on Facebook.
The junior-ranking troops accused Cpl Morris, who is of Jamaican descent, of ‘playing the race card’ at work and of accusing others of being prejudiced against her because she is black.
The Facebook posts received multiple ‘likes’ and were shared among other soldiers. Cpl Morris, who is a leading promoter of BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) causes in the Armed Forces, is said to have found them deeply upsetting.
She brought the post to the attention of the Army’s BAME Network – a support group for ethnic minority troops set up in 2017. An Army investigation then concluded that the messages were racially abusive. Soldiers who wrote and ‘liked’ the comments were interviewed by senior officers, as a defence source confirmed last night.