Two young Army officers set fire to a mess during a boozy dinner after they tempted to settle a disagreement by shooting flares at each other.
A room and corridor in the officers’ mess at Allenby Barracks in Bovington, Dorset, were gutted by fire after the incident at a “fathers and sons” dinner to celebrate the end of a training course.
Flares were fired after the unnamed officers decided to settle an argument by taking a kayak into the swimming pool outside and firing at each other on Friday night, Forces News reported.
The Army confirmed there had been a fire and said it was the subject of investigation.
The incident happened during a dinner to celebrate the end of a three-month course for young tank troop commanders of the Royal Armoured Corps officers who had recently graduated from Sandhurst.
One of the flares, which were not military ammunition, was fired through a window in a seven story block and managed to set the room alight.
When personnel tried to put out the fire, sources said the base’s fire hoses had been shut off due to fears over Legionnaires’ disease following an outbreak on the base in January.
The whole block was left empty for the weekend until the fire alarms could be reset.
Army sources suggested the incident was being viewed as “high jinx rather than criminal damage”.
One former officer told the Telegraph: “They wouldn’t be the first to fire flares at each other at the ‘Bovvy Hilton’. This sort of thing used to happen all the time in my day.”
An Army spokesperson said: “We can confirm a fire occurred on Friday evening at Bovington Camp, Dorset Fire & Rescue attended the fire. There was some damage but no one was injured, while an investigation is taking place it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
Original source: The Telegraph