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Last Updated: Friday, 9 December 2005, 11:30 GMT
'Naked' marine denies bully claim
Marines fighting in footage obtained by the News of the World
Marines fighting in footage obtained by the News of the World
A Royal Marine shown in footage leaked to a newspaper lying naked and unconscious during an initiation ritual has denied he was bullied.

Ray Simmons, 23, told the Daily Mirror newspaper the colleague who hit him was a "good mate", saying "it was just a game that went too far".

The footage, handed to the News of World, sparked widespread condemnation.

A criminal inquiry is being carried out into the incident at 42 Commando's Bickleigh Barracks near Plymouth.

The footage showed two naked men fighting during an alcohol-fuelled "new joiners'" party - one of them Mr Simmons.

Mr Simmons, of Letchworth in Hertfordshire, then appeared to be kicked in the face by a third marine.

"The bloke who kicked me in the head is one of the nicest guys in the company," he said.

"He's going through hell for one mistake, but we all make mistakes and I don't hold a grudge.

"It's been claimed I was the victim of ritual abuse, but that's untrue ... It's just marine humour."

'Not tolerated

The Ministry of Defence has said bullying in the military would not be tolerated.

It also said it was "very far from an official training exercise" and that it was trying to establish what lay behind the video.

A former Commander of British forces in Bosnia, Colonel Bob Stewart, said the footage shocked him to the core .

I love being in the Marines. I wouldn't change my company for the world
Ray Simmons

The News of the World newspaper said the footage had been filmed covertly by another marine at 42 Commando's base at Bickleigh Barracks in May.

Twelve soldiers who had just finished their 32-week commando training were alleged to have taken part in the initiation ritual, while around 40 other marines - also stripped naked - watched.

The marine who filmed the alleged fight told the newspaper the ritual was more than drunken antics and that the protagonists were forced to fight in a humiliating manner.

But Mr Simmons said: "This has been blown up out of all proportion. I was appalled that the image of the marines was being tarnished unfairly.

"I love being in the marines. I wouldn't change my company for the world."

Profile: Royal Marines
27 Nov 05 |  UK
Naked Marines 'letting off steam'
29 Nov 05 |  Somerset

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