"They'd all chant 'Free Joe Glenton' on parade."

IssueSeptember 2010
News by PN staff

A British soldier who spent four months in jail for refusing to return to Afghanistan has spoken of the “unbelievable support” that he received from fellow soldiers during his imprisonment at the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester.

Jailed in March and released on 12 July, Joe Glenton told left-wing website Counterfire that “there was a period they went through when they’d all chant ‘Free Joe Glenton’ on parade – half to probably annoy the staff, and half-joking maybe, but it was brilliant for me – and they commended me for what I’d done. It was fantastic… it made it go quicker and it made it a lot easier to have that support there”.

Glenton’s comments suggest that there may be fertile ground within the military for further dissent. Glenton also highlighted two natural targets for peace campaigners: the legal gag on soldiers speaking out, and the need to publicise soldiers’ legal right to object to war (“the Army keeps [that] very, very quiet”).

He also thanked people for the “massive public support” that he’d received from outside – at one point he was receiving 200 letters a day from supporters – saying: “For me it was absolutely worth it. I’d do another four months, and another and another four after that, just to raise the profile of the campaign and the movement.”