Gay UK solider Trooper James Wharton in his new book Out In The Army, talks about a serving in the military alongside Prince Harry and about a confrontation where Harry stepped in to save him after he was confronted by six soldiers threatening to ‘batter’ him .
Homosexuality had been legal in the British Forces since 2000, but there was still a long way to go. I found this to my cost just few years later when I woke badly injured in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, the result of a vicious attack by a fellow soldier at my Knightsbridge barracks.
He had kicked, punched and battered me with an iron pole as he screamed words like ‘queer’. I looked horrific. The blood was oozing out of me. If he’d continued, he’d have faced a murder charge.
But 12 months later, when one of my officers in the Household Cavalry looked at a photograph of me and my boyfriend on my barrack room wall – and told me we looked good together – I knew I had made the right decision to be open about my sexuality.
That officer was Prince Harry, and he was to prove one of my greatest protectors.
The following morning, I made a fatal mistake. Some of the boys were in competition as to who had got ‘laid’ the most while in Canada
I stupidly said, very proudly, that I’d scored the night before. Everyone knew who I was talking about. (No, it wasn’t Harry it was another solider) I knew it wouldn’t take five minutes for the story to swoop the tank park.
Harry found the whole thing quite amusing. He jokingly referred to me as a dirty dog before walking off to do something on our vehicle.
When the news reached the infantry, things went into overdrive. Some of them circled the poor lad, taunting him. I’d caused the whole thing by opening my big mouth. I’d practically outed the poor guy.
Panicking, I dropped down into the turret of the tank I was working on and began carrying out some maintenance on the gun.
Then my mate Danny appeared, panic on his face, too. ‘Mate, you need to come down here, it’s all kicking off,’ he said.
Standing in front of me were six extremely angry infantry sergeants. ‘Have you been spreading rumours about our Martin?’ I was asked.
I didn’t even know his name.
‘Why have you been lying? He’s no faggot!’
This was turning into a bit of a situation. Danny told them everything he’d seen and to back off. Under huge pressure I went back to my vehicle to find Prince Harry.
‘Sir, I need to talk to you.’
‘Why? What’s up? Are you OK?’
Harry instantly looked concerned. I told him: ‘I think I’m about to be murdered by the infantry.’
I climbed into the turret and talked Harry through exactly what had happened. He had a complete look of bewilderment on his face.
I didn’t hold back: I told him everything that had gone on. I couldn’t stop the tears from welling up in my eyes.
He said: ‘Right. I’m going to sort this s*** out once and for all.’
Harry climbed out of the tank and started having a go. I worried he was about to make the whole thing worse, but he wasn’t holding back. Prince Harry was sticking up for me and putting a stop to the trouble. I had been on track for a battering and had been rescued.
He came back ten minutes later and told me the problem had been ‘sorted’.
He told me: ‘I knew one of his officers and we cleared everything up. I also told those other lads to back the f*** off, too.’
But Wharton’s book isn’t all seriousness when it comes to the handsome ginger Prince. He also lets it be know Harry is well aware of his gay “sex symbol” image.
As we bobbed along, Harry and I occasionally banging our hips on the hatches to our turret, the three of us bantered over the vehicle’s intercom system, the only way we could talk because of the noise of the engine.
Harry mentioned that he and his brother had been informed some time ago that they were both gay icons, which made me laugh.
He replied: ‘What? What? We are!’
‘I don’t think you are, sir!’ I said.
‘Why? We are! Our press people told us!’ Harry insisted.
I said: ‘Honestly, I’m sure you’re not . . .’
And he replied: ‘Is it because I’m f***ing ginger?’
So head on over to the DailyMail to read more excerpts from Wharton’s book Out in the Army and learn more about the brave, handsome, ginger sex symbol Price Harry.
Or as I like to refer to him the man who should be my husband.