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Saturday, February 28, 1998 Published at 09:45 GMT


Outspoken army major faces sack
image: [ Major Joyce said the army was steeped in snobbery ]
Major Joyce said the army was steeped in snobbery

A senior officer who wrote a series of articles criticising the army as snobbish now faces the sack.

Major Eric Joyce has been told by his commanding officer that he is regarded as unemployable.

He said he was surprised and angry, and indicated that he would appeal.

Major Joyce was warned about his future conduct after writing an unauthorised pamphlet last year for the left-wing Fabian Society. In it he called for radical changes in the army, which he said was steeped in snobbery.

Since then he has made regular media appearances and launched a magazine, the Armed Services Forum, which was authorised but contained severe criticism of the forces.

On Friday, his commanding officer told Major Joyce he considered him unemployable, the first step in an administrative process that will lead to his discharge from the army.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "The chain of command interviewed Major Joyce and made him aware of recommendations as to his future.This is a matter for the chain of command and the individual concerned."

The spokesman declined to confirm that discharge papers had been served but added that serving officers had the right to appeal.

Major Joyce said he was disappointed and likely to appeal against the decision. Appeals must be approved by the Army Board of Management and are subject to legal review.

The move is likely to arouse controversy with claims the army is trying to silence criticism.

But defence sources have said the way he dealt with the media rather than his actual views meant he had lost the trust of other officers, making him unemployable.

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