Soldiers finally have hot water after army agrees to fix boiler

Amanda Morby, Portsmouth

WEATHER: Will the city see more thunderstorms this evening?

  • About 60 troops at Thorney Island base had been without heat for eight months
  • Military fixes the problem after The News raises the sorry state of Baker Barracks
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DEFENCE chiefs have forked out cash to fix a broken boiler after scores of soldiers were forced to sleep in freezing army barracks for months.

About 60 soldiers based at Thorney Island’s Sergeants’ Mess had been left without heat for eight months.

The repairs come just days after The News stepped in, pressuring the government to fix 16 Regiment Royal Artillery’s HQ.

Just days after the state of the barracks was revealed, the situation worsened when the base’s regimental restaurant was closed for two days.

The move left soldiers crammed into the Sergeants’ Mess to eat their meals.

Speaking at the time, an insider – with more than a decade of service in the army – said: ‘Everyone is just so fed up with things not getting fixed, but there is nowhere to turn when nothing seems to be getting done.’

But army officials have today confirmed the restaurant’s closure was in response to the outcry to repair the base’s broken heating system.

A spokesman said: ‘The hot water and heat is up and running and we’ve installed a new boiler. The kitchen was unavailable for 48 hours while this work took place.’

The base’s whistleblower has since praised The News’ involvement in raising the state of the base.

The Afghanistan veteran – who did not wish to be being named – said: ‘Had you not highlighted this then I am sure this probably would have dragged out – probably until March, when they switch the heating off anyway.’

Last year, The News raised the plight of naval families in Rowner living in homes with holes in their ceilings, mould on walls and leaking pipes.

It prompted furious Tracy Stinton to leave married quarters in Owen Close, starting a new life in Wales.

The situation prompted an apology from defence minister Mark Lancaster.

CarillionAmey, is contracted to maintain the military properties, said they have since repaired the problems at Mrs Stinton’s former home.