THIS WEEK’S WORKPLACE BULLYING GUEST BLOG HAS BEEN WRITTEN BY LEE GOWER.
This blog follows an investigation into the members of Royal Navy personnel who had subjected me to bullying. Incidents like these do happen in Service, despite the Ministry of Defence denying that they do.
These following incidents occurred during my time on HMS Anglesey.
On returning from weekend leave on the first stand-off of the first patrol I found a chart on the table in the chart house. It had been made clear to me that charts on the chart house table should be cleaned and put away, which is what I did. A short while later I was called up to Lt. **********’s cabin where I was severely shouted at and told repeatedly how stupid I was for cleaning a chart that he needed.
The next incident was when Lt. ********** called me onto the bridge. He was on watch with the two QM’s. I asked Lt. ********** what he wanted and he asked me where a certain chart was. I said I had given it to him the day before and he denied he had it. He then made me drag out every folio in the chart house looking for this chart. Lt. ********** then came to the back of the bridge and said I had ‘fucked up big style’ this time and that I was ‘right in the shit’. One of the QM’s then shouted that he had found the chart in the drawer of the chart table on the bridge, where Lt. ********** had placed it the day before. Before returning to the bridge he said I was ‘a lucky fucker’ that the chart had been found.
Later on, I was walking off the bridge when Lt. ********** stopped me and accused me of calling him a ‘Fucking Wanker’. I hadn’t even spoken to him and denied it. He said if I spoke to him like that again he would ‘Fucking Troop me’. Witnesses tried to tell him I hadn’t said it. He ignored them.
Whilst at sea I was walking up a set of stairs to the bridge. As I got half way up the stairs Lt. ********** came down from the top of the stairs. He ordered me to go back. At the bottom of the stairs he said to me that not only is it bad luck to cross on the stairs but it is also dis-respectful because he is an officer and I am ‘only an OM’.
There were a number of incidents where it seems Lt. ********** would call simply to humiliate me, but I couldn’t tell RPO because I was worried about the repercussions.
At the end of the second patrol, the XO approached me in the chart house. He told me that the Gunnery Officer had noticed Lt. ********** giving me a hard time. I told him that Lt. ********** had been getting at me and that it was getting me down. The XO said he would have a word with Lt. ********** and I would hear nothing more of it. Later on the same day I was in the chart house and Lt ********** approached me accusing me of ‘grassing him up’ to the XO and that I had ‘fucking stitched him right up’. He said that if I had a problem I should go to him and not talk about him behind his back. This was a one way conversation, as were most of the conversations with Lt. **********.
When I came home on summer leave in July 2000, I was in a very depressed state of mind. My parents had tried to talk to me about why I was so depressed, but I didn’t want to talk. I was just going over everything in my mind about how I expected everything to escalate once I returned from summer leave. On the Monday morning after I had arrived home on leave I sent my mother a text message telling her of my overdose. I didn’t expect her to get the message straight away because she was at work. However, approximately 20 minutes later my mother came through the door, them I passed out. The next thing I knew I was lying down in a cubicle in hospital. I was treated and discharged later that afternoon. Over the next few months, up until my discharge from the Royal Navy, I was seeing my GP and psychiatric counsellor once per week.
Throughout the whole series of events, I felt trapped in a situation where I believed I had nowhere to turn, based on the fact that complaints were supposed to go through the Divisional System and Petty Officer ***** was my Divisional Senior Rate and Lt. ********** was my Divisional Officer.
The whole situation has left me with a very bad opinion of the Royal Navy and I would never consider serving again. I also feel that it is completely wrong that someone can treat a person in this way and expect to get away with it. It seems that this is a case of senior people abusing their status.