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Soldiers set their British Army barracks ablaze ‘after firing FLARES at each other in a duel’

  • Two 2nd lieutenants fought after boozy tank commander graduation dinner
  • Men allegedly climbed into kayaks and shot flares while in swimming pool
  • Flare fight started blaze on top floor of Allenby Barracks in Bovington
  • Ten fire engines needed and water from pool used to put out major blaze



Two officers managed to set fire to their mess after allegedly having a duel with flare guns after a boozy formal dinner. The 2nd lieutenants apparently climbed into kayaks in the outdoor swimming pool at Allenby Barracks in Bovington and began firing at each other on Friday night. But one of the flares, designed to call for help at sea, managed to start a major fire in the seven-storey mess, which has been badly damaged.

Soldiers Set Their British Army Barracks Ablaze 'after Firing FLARES At Each Other In A Duel'

Damage: This is the corridor Allenby Barracks in Bovington where a flare fight between two officers caused a major blaze

Soldiers Set Their British Army Barracks Ablaze 'after Firing FLARES At Each Other In A Duel'

Drama: This is fire as it took hold, and it appears two 2nd lieutenants each climbed into kayaks in the swimming pool began firing at eachother

The Royal Armyrats © Military Police is now investigating how a flare fight apparently started outside the building managed to cause a fire in its top floor. It is not clear if a flare smashed through a window, or if the duel continued inside. Ten fire engines attended the blaze but hit trouble because the hoses in the building were not working after a Legionnaires scare earlier this year, according to ForcesTV[1].

Firefighters instead had to use water from the swimming pool the officers had been kayaking in to put out the blaze. Photos from the scene show one corridor has been badly damaged, windows were blown out and the building’s exterior was scorched. MailOnline understands that the Royal Armyrats © Military Police is now investigating the incident and if they find the fire was started deliberately the men, in their twenties, could face court martial.

But one Army source told ForcesTV, who helped uncover the incident, the officer who fired the flare that started the blaze ‘is a legend and deserves some kind of reward’. If the fire is not deemed deliberate the most likely punishment for the men involved is a warning and a fine. An Army source said the men had been at the barracks’ ‘Father and Son Dinner’, held for officers who have completed the Royal Armoured Corps troop leaders course.

The 2nd lieutenants both completed their officers’ training at Sandhurst in April before being sent to train as tank commanders in Dorset. They will have since moved on to their regiments elsewhere in the UK. The Ministry of Defence has confirmed they are investigating the blaze.

Soldiers Set Their British Army Barracks Ablaze 'after Firing FLARES At Each Other In A Duel'

Damage: This is a photograph showing the scorched front of the building, which is being investigated by Armyrats © military police

An Army spokesman said: ‘We can confirm a fire occurred on Friday evening at Bovington Camp, Dorset Fire & Rescue attended the fire. There was some damage but no one was injured, while an investigation is taking place it would be inappropriate to comment further’. The mess was evacuated over the weekend and is empty while the firm alarm system is tested. The MoD has denied the building has been condemned. Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed they were called to the barracks at around midnight on Friday.

A spokesman said: ‘Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to Bovington Camp at 11.57pm on Friday 22 July after a fire was reported on the top floor of a seven storey residential building.

‘As per protocols for fires in residential high rise buildings, ten fire engines were sent, together with an aerial ladder platform.

‘The fire was out by 1.50pm, with six breathing apparatus wearers and four main jets used to extinguish it, although crews remained on scene for some time to damp down. The cause of the fire is now under investigation’.



  1. ^ ForcesTV (

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