THIS WEEK IN 1997: Sailor was victim of shameful assault

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It is 1949 and HMS Implacable has her heart ripped out as her main mast is lifted from her hull.  'Picture: Robert James Collection

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A young sailor was taped to a table, half-stripped and assaulted with a vaccuum cleaner, a court martial in Portsmouth was told.

It was part of a campaign of bullying which began when Michael Whitesman joined his first ship, the frigate HMS London, at the age of 19 and continued for nearly a year, he told the hearing at HMS Nelson.

Reports alleged he was also routinely slapped around the head, had cans of beer thrown at him and was racially abused.