SERVING soldiers have defended the treatment of young recruits and criticised the BBC for sending an undercover reporter into a military base.

More than 100 comments about documentary, The Undercover Soldier, were left on the unofficial Army Rumour Service website after the BBC revealed details of its show yesterday.

In the programme, recruits complain of being battered, punched, kicked and urinated on by instructors at the Infantry Training Centre, in Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire.

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One recruit told the undercover reporter that he was hit repeatedly in the head.

Another said his hand was so badly injured after being assaulted that he could not salute properly.

However, soldiers and former soldiers commenting on the site defended the behaviour of instructors.

One comment reads: “The whole idea of an Army is to defend your own soil and to kill the enemy.

“If we send a bunch of soft mummy’s boys in, what chance would they have?”

Another site member says: “Infantry training needs to be robust.

Unfortunately, what we class as robust will be seen to some as bullying.”

A third comment reads: “If people do happen to be outraged at a young recruit being toughened up for service, then all that shows is how soft this nation has become.”

The BBC is criticised by site members for sending an undercover reporter into the base.

“It’s a shame mainstream TV/media can’t put as much effort into informing the public what service personnel are doing in various theatres around the globe, and the pressures and problems that go with it,” says one member.

However, there was also support for the BBC’s decision to conduct its investigation.

One comment reads: “As I supported the journalist going through the police recruit training a couple of years ago, and showing how racist and corrupt they were, I can’t really complain when they do the same to the Army with, hopefully, a different result.”

Another visitor adds: “(Training) should involve pain, hardship and discomfort – it shouldn’t involve abuse and bullying.”

No one from the BBC was available to comment last night.