Troops get back the medals they lost for being gay: Former soldiers who were stripped of their honours will have them returned following legal battle
- Ministry of Defence to restore medals of those discharged because of sexuality
- Made decision after being taken to High Court by former sailor Joe Ousalice, 70
- Served as radio operator in Royal Navy for 18 years, including the Falklands War
- He was dishonourably discharged in 1993 for being bisexual and medal was cut
Troops who were stripped of their medals for being gay are to get them back after a lengthy legal battle.
The Ministry of Defence is to restore the medals of all personnel discharged because of their sexuality before a ban on gay people serving in the military was lifted in 2000.
Until then anyone found to be gay or bisexual faced being booted out of the forces.
Defence chiefs made the decision after being taken to the High Court by former sailor Joe Ousalice, 70.
Defence chiefs made the decision after being taken to the High Court by former sailor Joe Ousalice, 70 (pictured)
He served as a radio operator in the Royal Navy for 18 years, including the Falklands War and six tours of Northern Ireland, before being dishonourably discharged in 1993 for being bisexual.
Mr Ousalice’s Long Service Good Conduct medal was cut from his chest with scissors following a court martial.
He was stripped of his rank when he left the Navy which he says costs him £100 a month in reduced pension entitlements.
Last night he said: ‘It is long overdue and the suffering they’ve caused to people like me continues.
Ousalice (right) served as a radio operator in the Royal Navy for 18 years, including the Falklands War and six tours of Northern Ireland, before being dishonourably discharged in 1993 for being bisexual
‘This is not just about medals, they’ve ruined lives.’
Defence Minister Baroness Goldie said: ‘I am very pleased to address this wrong and to invite any personnel affected, or the families of those who are deceased, to apply to have their medals returned.’
In another case Emma Riley was arrested at dawn by military police in 1993 just hours after confiding to a friend about being gay.
She too lost her career but fought back by taking the MOD to the European Court of Human Rights in 1999.
This case led to defence chiefs lifting their ban on homosexuals the following year.
The MOD has now set up various support groups for LGBT+ personnel and been praised for its progress as an equal opportunities employer.
The Army and the Royal Air Force were included in the Stonewall Top 100 list of employers for 2020.