LGBT Falklands veteran's 'over the moon' at medal return

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media captionLGBT Falklands veteran's 'over the moon' at medal return

A Falklands veteran forced out of the Royal Navy due to his sexuality has had a medal returned to him 27 years after it was cut off his chest.

Joe Ousalice was a radio operator for 18 years, but was discharged in 1993 because of a ban on LGBT people serving in the armed forces.

Mr Ousalice, of Southampton, was "over the moon" to get the medal back.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) previously admitted its policy had been "wrong, discriminatory and unjust".

Mr Ousalice was re-awarded a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal and three Good Conduct badges, during a ceremony at HMS Excellent, Portsmouth.

media captionFalklands veteran left isolated by navy axe

He said: "I was living a double life. I had to be careful about what I said and did, and where I went. Basically, I wasn't living my own life.

"They cut [the medal] off my chest with a big pair of scissors."

Mr Ousalice said he was "over the moon - it's just such a shame it's taken 27 years to get it".

"I'm not fighting this just for myself but for hundreds of others who have been treated not too dissimilar to myself."

image copyrightLiberty
image captionJoe Ousalice was re-awarded a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal and three Good Conduct badges at a ceremony in Portsmouth

He served on board MV Myrmidon, part of the taskforce sent to liberate the Falkland Islands after the Argentine invasion in 1982.

His career also included six tours of duty in Northern Ireland and he was seconded to a Nato task force.

The medal was stripped from him when he was discharged because his bisexuality was believed to be "prejudicial to good order and naval discipline".

image copyrightJoe Ousalice
image captionMr Ousalice during his time serving with the Royal Navy

The MoD said Mr Ousalice was "treated in a way that would not be acceptable today and for that we apologise".

"We accept our policy in respect of serving homosexuals in the military was wrong, discriminatory and unjust to the individuals involved," it added.

It is understood a scheme will also be set up by the MoD to return medals to other veterans.

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