A wounded British soldier home from Afghanistan on sick leave was forced to spend the night in his car after a hotel refused him a room.
Corporal Tomos Stringer was told by staff at Metro Hotel, in Woking, that it was company policy not to accept members of the armed forces as guests. The 24-year-old had traveled to the Surrey town to help with funeral preparations for a friend killed in action.
It was so late that Cpl Stringer, who had broken his wrist jumping off an Army truck as it was attacked, had no choice but to sleep in his tiny, two-door car, arm covered in plaster.
Cpl Stringer, of 13 Air Assault Support Regiment, The Royal Logistic Corps, has now returned to Afghanistan, but his mother, Gaynor Stringer, from Criccieth, north Wales, told The Times that she is still furious about the incident.
“I’m very, very angry. It’s discrimination. They would never get away with it if it was against someone of ethnic origin,” she said.
She said they had received neither an apology nor an explanation from the hotel, which is part of a family entertainment center called The Big Apple and owned by a company called American Amusements.
"In America, they treat soldiers as heroes,” said Stringer, whose son joined the Army when he was 16 and has done multiple tours of duty in Iraq, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan.
The incident has prompted widespread condemnation from senior members of the Government, MPs, servicemen and their supporters.
Legions of army men and enthusiasts are rising up in the forums of the unofficial British Army Web site to call for a boycott of the hotel.