Trooper Corrie-Alice Holmes

Trooper Corrie-Alice Holmes, 25, molested her shocked comrade after returning to the regiment’s base in the early hours following a drunken night out last Sunday
Trooper Corrie-Alice Holmes, 25, molested her shocked comrade after returning to the regiment's base in the early hours following a drunken night out last Sunday

A female soldier from the regiment that Prince William and Prince Harry belonged to has been disciplined after sexually assaulting a male colleague on guard duty close to Windsor Castle.

Trooper Corrie-Alice Holmes, 25, a private in the prestigious Household Cavalry, molested her shocked comrade after returning to the regiment's base in the early hours following a drunken night out last Sunday.

Army sources have told this newspaper that Tpr Holmes forced herself against the younger soldier, tried to kiss him and rubbed her body against his before being pulled off by a furious officer who reacted to the male soldier's cries for help.


A member of the prestigious Household Cavalry, where the reported incident took place
The following day, Tpr Holmes was hauled before senior officers who formally warned her that any further misconduct could result in her immediate dismissal from the Army.

But last night furious colleagues of the male soldier, who cannot be named for legal reasons, accused top brass of leniency because the offender was a woman and the victim was a man.

They claimed that if a male soldier assaulted a woman in the same way, they would be sent immediately to military prison and booted out of the Army. Last year, a private who groped a female officer in a nightclub when both of them were drunk was jailed for nine months by a military court and dismissed.

The outrage comes after defence bosses lifted a historic ban preventing female soldiers serving in combat units. Critics said the ground-breaking move could damage cohesion within regiments because of the likelihood that men and women would engage in sexual activity.

Last night, official defence sources confirmed the incident but insisted Household Cavalry officers had dealt with it appropriately. The Mail on Sunday has established that Tpr Holmes returned to Combermere Barracks - less than a mile from Windsor Castle - at around 3am last Sunday after drinking with friends.

She was seen approaching the guard room at the entrance to the barracks, where she demanded to speak to the male soldier.

Noticing she was drunk, the guard commander refused to let her in but she is said to have sneaked round the side of the guard room to another entrance.

A source at the barracks said: 'The male soldier was lying on a bed in the guard room. She leant over him, placing her arms either side of his head, basically pinning him down. He asked her to leave him alone but she carried on.

'They then went outside and she was seen rubbing herself against him and trying to kiss him. He called out "help me". Eventually the guard commander pulled her away.'

The commander logged the incident and top brass began an investigation the following morning.

Tpr Holmes and the male soldier were interviewed separately by commanding officer Major Brian Rogers. Under military law, officers such as Major Rogers are authorised to rule on conduct issues without referring the case to the Royal Military Police.

But when word spread that he had decided to only warn Tpr Holmes about her behaviour, furious male soldiers tipped off military police officers, who arrived at Combermere Barracks to launch a criminal investigation.

The source added: 'The blokes felt she had really been let off lightly and that if one of them had done it to a woman they'd have been in huge trouble.

'A junior commander, not Major Rogers, also told the male soldier to "man up" and stop complaining. One even said he should have slept with her. So somebody notified the RMP. But the male soldier told them that he was prepared to accept Major Rogers's ruling. He was very upset but he had been got at.

'Senior personnel had told him the case would follow him through his career - he'd be the guy who complained about a woman making a very physical pass at him.'

Evidence suggests there is a major discrepancy between sentences given to male and female soldiers for sexual assaults.

In November 2017, a male private who sexually assaulted a female officer was jailed for nine months then booted out. A military court heard he touched her breasts, which he insisted was an accident.

The male soldier's father contacted The Mail on Sunday after the court case because he thought his son's sentence was harsh.

Last night, the father said: 'This case is similar to my son's, yet he served five and half months of a nine-month sentence and his reputation was ruined. There is a double standard. Male soldiers don't get the same leniency.'

An Army spokesperson said: 'We expect very high standards of behaviour of our personnel, whether on or off duty, and take complaints of this nature very seriously.'