An Army instructor is facing a court-martial after he filmed a female recruit and reduced her to tears in a shocking video that has been watched more than 250,000 times online.
Last night furious top brass were trying to track down the corporal, who may be booted out of the Army after using a phone to record the moment he subjected the distraught trainee to a torrent of verbal abuse during a bayonet exercise.
Defense sources said the instructor should not have filmed the recruit during her training, with or without her consent.
She is named in the footage which has been shared and ‘liked’ thousands of times over the past three days.
The instructor’s behavior was described as ‘totally unacceptable’ by Lord Dannatt, the former head of the Army.
The disturbing footage is particularly embarrassing for defense chiefs as it comes just weeks after an advertising campaign aimed at prospective female recruits which said they were welcome to get emotional or even cry.
But the instructor’s video, which appeared on the ‘Forces Bible’ page on Facebook, suggests otherwise as it appears to show the instructor punishing the recruit after she bursts into tears.
He even appears to feign sympathy and hoodwink her into thinking she has completed the exercise successfully.
She cries uncontrollably and is reduced to a quivering wreck before the instructor launches another verbal attack.
Last night, The Mail on Sunday showed the video to Lord Dannatt.
His response was withering: ‘I hope the identity of the corporal is discovered very quickly and that he is removed from the Army at the earliest possible moment.
‘Tomorrow would be a day too late. This kind of behavior is totally unacceptable.’
Every Army recruit is taught to use a bayonet – a short knife which can be attached to a rifle – as part of basic training.
Recruits are expected to show aggression and thrust their bayonets repeatedly into mock enemy targets.
There are about 7,000 women serving as regular full-time soldiers.
Controversially, women are also expected to start training later this year to join infantry regiments.
Critics say it could cost lives on the battlefield because women are not suited to roles which require them to kill the enemy at close quarters.
After wading through a stream, the exhausted recruit is seen standing in front of the instructor, who tells her repeatedly that she is ‘f****** weak’.
She is marched towards a pile of sandbags which represent an enemy soldier and stabs them, but the unimpressed instructor dismisses her efforts.
Tory MP Johnny Mercer, who as an Army officer fought the Taliban at close quarters in Afghanistan, said bayonet training had to be brutal, but he criticised the instructor’s decision to record the exercise.
He said: ‘I used to run commando training, and it was a deep privilege to go with people to their darkest places and realize what their characters were actually made of.
‘I would never think about filming it and putting it online, though, which is a deep breach of trust and respect for that individual.’
Earlier this year the Army launched its latest recruitment campaign focusing exclusively on women and ethnic minorities.
Using the slogan, ‘This is Belonging’, potential soldiers were told that the Army was now a touchy-feely environment where they could express themselves and show weakness.
‘The series of animated TV adverts were criticised for being too politically correct.
It is unclear who edited the instructor’s footage and posted it online.
In an apparent bid to mock the recent adverts, ‘This is Belonging’ appears at the end of the film.
An Army spokesman said the footage was being investigated.
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