Page last updated at 13:47 GMT, Thursday, 4 September 2008 14:47 UK

Soldier is refused room at hotel

Corporal Tomos Stringer
Corporal Tomos Stringer was out of uniform when tried to book a room

A soldier home on leave after being injured in Afghanistan was refused a room by a hotel when he showed his military ID card at reception.

Corporal Tomos Stringer, 23, from Gwynedd, was visiting a wounded colleague in Surrey when he was turned away from the Metro Hotel in Woking.

He spent the night in his car after being told it was management policy not to accept military personnel.

The hotel has apologised, describing the incident as "a mistake".

Cpl Stringer, of 13 Air Assault Support Regiment, The Royal Logistic Corps, has since returned to Afghanistan but his mother, Gaynor Stringer, said he remains angry at the incident.

She said her son broke his wrist after jumping out of his wagon in Afghanistan. He was treated at a field hospital but was brought back to have it re-set and was on four weeks recovery leave when he decided to visit his friend in June.

Gaynor Stringer speaks of her anger at the way her son was treated

Mrs Stringer, who lives at Pentrefelin, near Criccieth, said: "I can't believe this has happened to one of our soldiers in his own country. He just didn't know how to react.

"We've been to America and their military get treated like heroes over there.

"I think it's terrible they [UK service personnel] can't even wear their uniform with pride."

Defence Minister Derek Twigg said: "This case is especially egregious given that the individual concerned was on injury leave from Afghanistan and visiting an injured colleague.

Corporal Tomos Stringer
The 23-year-old had broken his wrist jumping from his army wagon

"The government and, it is fair to say, the vast majority of people in this country, hold the professionalism, courage and contribution made by all those who serve, and have served in the armed forces in very high regard.

"I am delighted that the armed forces generally enjoy immense respect and gratitude on the part of the nation and that contrary sentiments are rare, though evidently they exist."

Caernarfon MP Hywel Williams said he intended to take the matter further when he had a reply to his letter to the hotel.

He said: "I was astonished when I heard the story from Mrs Stringer. I can't see why any hotel would want to refuse accommodation to a serving member of the armed forces anyway.

"Tomos was not in his uniform, he was a traveller like anyone else."

The Metro Hotel is owned by a company called American Amusements Ltd, also based in Woking. It apologised, describing the incident as "a mistake",


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