SINGER JAMES BLUNT has claimed he “prevented World Ward III” when he refused an order to attack Russian troops when he was a British soldier in Kosovo.
The BBC reports that the soldier-turned-crooner, who shot to fame with his single You’re Beautiful, and has dated a string of models, risked a court martial when he rejected the order by a US General during the taking of Pristina airfield in 1999.
He was at the head of a column of 30,000 Nato troops when the order came down.
During an interview with BBC Radio 5 yesterday, he said:
I was given the direct command to overpower the 200 or so Russians who were there. I was the lead officer with my troop of men behind us…
The soldiers directly behind me were from the Parachute Regiment, so they’re obviously game for the fight. The direct command [that] came in from Gen Wesley Clark was to overpower them. Various words were used that seemed unusual to us. Words such as ‘destroy’ came down the radio.
Asked if following the order would have risked starting World War III Blunt, who was a 25-year-old cavalry officer at the time, replied:
Absolutely. And that’s why we were querying our instruction from an American general. That sense of moral judgement is drilled into us as soldiers in the British army.
Fortunately, up on the radio came Gen Mike Jackson, whose exact words at the time were, ‘I’m not going to have my soldiers be responsible for starting World War III’, and told us why don’t we sugar off down the road, you know, encircle the airfield instead. And after a couple of days the Russians there said: ‘Hang on we have no food and no water. Can we share the airfield with you?’.
The BBC claims that Blunt’s account of his heroism has been backed up by General Sir Mike Jackson.
The singer told how it was his strong sense of morality that allowed him to risk a court martial.
There are things that you do along the way that you know are right, and those that you absolutely feel are wrong, that I think it’s morally important to stand up against, and that sense of moral judgement is drilled into us as soldiers in the British army.