Ten soldiers serving in the army’s new £ 120million experimental battle group have been fired after being caught taking cocaine, the Daily Mail can reveal.
In one of the biggest cocaine abuse cases in military history, troops failed drug tests at their main security base in Cyprus.
Yesterday evening, frustrated senior officers confirmed that the soldiers “could expect to be fired”.
They laughed at the Class A drugs at a party at the resort town of Paphos, 30 miles from their base at Episkopi Garrison. It is understood that they returned to the base in the early hours of the morning and were then confronted with military drug testers.
Party people: The soldiers took drugs at a party at the resort town of Paphos, 30 miles from their base at Episkopi Garrison (file photo)
Sight: A 2 York soldier on a firing range in Cyprus. The battle group is said to be at the forefront of the army’s approach to “prototype war”
Military police have now opened an investigation into drug use by soldiers on the island, which the Mail said is “widespread”.
Defense sources said the drug test took place at the end of April. All members of the group of 500 serving at the base were tested.
The 2nd Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (2 Yorks) was given the role of an experimental battle group two months ago, with Special Forces officers enlisted to oversee the transition.
The battle group is said to be at the forefront of the military’s approach to “prototype warfare,” which involves new technologies such as drones and robots.
The British RAF Akrotiri base – which is guarded by battalion troops – near Limasson, Cyprus. 2 Yorks was founded in 2004 as part of an infantry restructuring (file photo)
300 years on the front line
The 2nd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment arose from a military line dating back to the late 17th century.
It was formed in 2004 when a number of regiments with centuries of service were brought together, including the Green Howards.
The Yorks later served in Helmand, Afghanistan, where troops earned honors for their bravery, but some lost their lives. The battalion, which was suffering from understaffing, was fired this year.
But 2 Yorks was given a new role as the Army’s Experimental War Battalion. Its 500 troops have been based in Cyprus since 2020 and are expected to stay on the island until next year.
The Department of Defense website states that the role is to “pit soldiers, new equipment, technology and tactics against hybrid and conventional threats posed by terrorists, proxies and state adversaries.”
Excessive drug use by soldiers is particularly troublesome for department heads given the battalion’s leading role and the investments made in it. The new unit was formed as a result of the government’s Integrated Defense and Security Review.
At the time of its launch, Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said: “With every great technological advance comes a breakthrough in the way we fight. The British Army has a proud tradition of experimenting and innovating with new technologies during each of the previous industrial revolutions.
“As we enter this new era of big data, automation and artificial intelligence, it is important that the new experimentation battlegroup can build on this tradition and integrate these latest advances into our force structures,” our equipment requirements and tactics.
2 Yorks was founded in 2004 as part of an infantry restructuring. It was previously known as the 1st Battalion, Green Howards. Battalion troops are responsible for guarding RAF Akrotiri on the island.
Hundreds of bombing missions against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have been launched from the base. Earlier this year, the Mail revealed that nine soldiers, including two women, of the Royal Horse Artillery were kicked out of the military after taking cocaine.
Last night, a Defense Ministry spokesperson said: “The military does not tolerate drug abuse in its ranks because it is incompatible with military service and operational effectiveness. Army personnel caught using drugs can be expected to be fired.