BRITAIN’S highest decorated serving soldier REFUSED to shake Gordon Brown’s hand in a protest at a state ceremony. Brave Victoria Cross winner Johnson Beharry turned and walked off – incensed by what he sees as shabby treatment of the military by the PM.
The Iraq hero told The Sun last night: “I wanted to knock him out.”
Lance Corporal Beharry, 30, said Mr Brown – who reacted by writing a personal letter to him last night – had repeatedly disrespected him, his uniform and the Armed Forces.
It is the latest in a series of embarrassing public fall-outs between the PM and the Forces. And it could not come at a worse time for Mr Brown, who is expected to call a General Election tomorrow.
But L/Cpl Beharry – who was badly wounded while winning the top gallantry medal – insists his anger is NOT political. He recalled:
It began at a reception in Downing Street in November 2008. I was in a line with other servicemen and he didn’t look any of us in the eye when he shook our hands.
He was totally disinterested in us. It made me really angry but I just tried to forget it and moved on. Then I saw him again in Westminster Abbey during the Remembrance Day service last November.
I was one of two soldiers laying the wreath to the Unknown Soldier. Afterwards we all stood to attention during the two minute silence. I picked a point to stare at so I could remain completely still and it happened to be him. Throughout the silence, he kept on fidgeting and moving. He couldn’t even stand still for two minutes.
I’ve got head and back injuries that put me back in hospital in a lot of pain quite regularly, so if I could do it there’s no reason he couldn’t. It was very rude. I was absolutely furious with him. All that was going through my head was to knock him out.