Colonel and Lt Colonel suspended after embarrassing 'affair' exposed by fiance in UK
4th November 2010
Two commanding officers have been suspended from the Army and face the sack for allegedly having an affair.
Colonel Phil Harrison, 46, and Lieutenant Colonel Debbie Slay, 44, face punishment by top brass after the alleged sex scandal was exposed.
Insiders revealed Lt Col Slay’s furious fiance reported them to her superiors after he discovered the suspected fling with her married comrade.
The senior officers face an internal inquiry and could be thrown out after bringing shame on the Army.
A military insider said: ‘This is highly embarrassing.
‘It is being treated very seriously, and rightly so, because this would be a violation of the code and standards of conduct we expect from senior officers.
‘What kind of example does this set to soldiers in their charge? The worst kind.’
Lt Col Slay’s fiance, who is a civilian, found out about the alleged affair on Tuesday last week.
The officers were frog-marched off their military bases in disgrace two days later.
Col Harrison, a Christian whose wife is called Alison, is in charge of the Defence Medical Services Training Centre, based at Ash Vale, near Aldershot.
It trains about 7,000 military personnel a year in how to deal with battlefield injuries, including the loss of limbs in roadside bomb attacks.
He is a veteran of the Iraq war, where he had two gruelling tours of duty.
During his second stint, his medical unit had to care for the soldiers in a 15,000-strong multi-national force.
Col Harrison, who lived in Fulwood, Preston, was until recently the training commandant at the Defence School of Medicine at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.
He was a regular member of the congregation at Fulwood Methodist Church.
Lt Col Slay, of Farnborough, Hampshire, is the commanding officer of 4 Medical Regiment, part of the historic Royal Army Medical Corps, which is based at Browning Barracks in Aldershot.
She is in charge of a unit which provides emergency care for battlefield casualties.
Staff treat wounded personnel or evacuate them to larger medical facilities.
The relationship would violate the Army’s code of conduct, which forbids bringing the service into disrepute and covers affairs, drug abuse and financial irregularities.
As the pair are not in the same chain-of-command, they would escape formal disciplinary action. But administrative action could be taken against them.
This is similar to the civilian process for dismissing staff for poor performance.
The minimum punishment could be a severe reprimand but angry top brass could demote them, strip them of their rank or even dismiss them.
The investigation is likely to be carried out by a senior member of the Army Medical Services.
An MoD spokesman said: ‘Two officers have been suspended pending an internal investigation. We do not comment on individual cases.’