Reports in the media that British Armed Forces Accommodation is substandard are inaccurate, says the Ministry for Substandard Accommodation (MSA).
Colonel Richard Smothers-Children, head of the MSA inspection committee, spoke out after claims by Forces families that accommodation was "dirty, grotty, unhealthy and unfit for human habitation". He described Army homes, in general, as "fine" and rejected the criticism levelled at the government.
"All homes have front doors", he said, "most have a roof, and some have other facilities. You don't get that when you're crawling about in the Malaysian jungle or rolling around on Goose Green. Some of these lower classes in the rank and file don't know they're born".
In the Commons, PM Tony Blair gave his support when he told ministers: "Running water is an essential commodity, and, essentially, it is usually running".
But stories "on the frontline" are different. One family living at Camp Zero in Oxfordshire told how they lived with chronic damp for two years before lifting the carpet in their living room, and found grass growing underneath it. When informed of this, the base commander merely commented that drugs were a matter for the police, and promptly contacted them.
Another house nearby, had a garage that was "appallingly filthy", and in a third, mould was found in a jacuzzi.
Other complaints included broken electrics, intermittent water supplies, explosions and gunfire. Residents at Camp Pillage in Devon, said they were regularly woken at 3 or 4am by the sound of tank artillery, and one woman claimed that she had actually observed a column of Panzers trampling over her rhododendrons. "I thought we'd been invaded!", she said.
Corporal Liar, at Fort Apache, had the back bedroom of his house blown away by mortar fire in 2001, and the builders did not come to repair the damage until four years later.
The Army plan to revamp their accommodation in the near future, but in the meantime, families will have to endure the current conditions with the "stiff upper lip" the British are so well-known for.
As Colonel Smothers-Children commented: "They're only cannon fodder, after all".