Falklands veteran ‘forced out of Navy over sexuality’ to have medal returned

A Falklands veteran who said he was forced to leave the Royal Navy because of his sexuality is to have his medal returned to him.

Joe Ousalice said he had a medal for long service and good conduct confiscated when he was discharged after revealing his bisexuality before a court martial in 1993.

He was “treated in a way that would not be acceptable today” and will have the medal returned to him, said a Ministry of Defence spokesman, who also apologised for his treatment.

He added: “We accept our policy in respect of serving homosexuals in the military was wrong, discriminatory and unjust to the individuals involved.”

Joe Ousalice sues MOD due to sexuality
The Ministry of Defence has apologised to Joe Ousalice over the incident (Liberty/PA)

Gay people were not allowed to serve in the military until a rule change in 2000.

Mr Ousalice, who had an 18-year naval career,  is a former radio operator who served in the Falklands War and the Middle East, as well as six tours of Northern Ireland.

He has previously told the BBC that he was forced to live a “double life” while he was in the Navy, and was careful not to associate with other sailors whom he knew were gay.

“I was watching every day what I was saying, what I was doing,” he said.

Joe Ousalice sues MOD due to sexuality
The medal will be returned to Joe Ousalice in person, according to the MoD (Liberty/PA)

“After the court martial was completed, a guy came in with a pair of scissors and said ‘Sorry, mate, I need your medal’, and just cut the medal off me.”

At the 1993 hearing he was cleared over accusations that he had had been in bed with another sailor.

The MoD said the medal will be returned to Mr Ousalice in person.

It is understood that the MoD is putting in place a scheme to return other medals to veterans who were stripped of them in similar circumstances.

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