Otley Town Council launch investigation into former mayor who allegedly lied about military service in the Falklands War

A 'Walter Mitty'-like former mayor has resigned from Otley Town Council after allegations that he lied about his military career were made.

Former councillor Peter Jackson, who is also an ex-Otley Pub Club chair, claimed to have been a Royal Military Police officer who saw service in the Falklands.

Yet a website dedicated to exposing people posing as former service personnel uncovered dubious claims about his army record.

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Members became suspicious when they saw photographs of the Liberal Democrat wearing uniform and campaign medals at a Remembrance Sunday parade in Otley last year.

Peter Jackson, right, launches the Otley Ale TrailPeter Jackson, right, launches the Otley Ale Trail
Peter Jackson, right, launches the Otley Ale Trail

He claimed to be an honorary colonel in the Royal Military Police, having reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Mr Jackson is believed to work as the bar manager at a caravan site in North Yorkshire.

He attracted the attention of the blog Walter Mitty Hunters because his uniform was poorly fitting and he was displaying a South Atlantic Medal among other decorations. On his Linkedin page, he listed himself as having served with the Special Investigations Branch of the RMP and graduated from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst - the army's officer training school.

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His active service period was listed as lasting for 15 years beginning in 1975.

Members searched for entries in the London Gazette referring to Jackson being awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal but found none.

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The RMP's own regimental website contained no references to him and he was not included in a list of Royal Military Police deployed to the Falklands in 1982.

It even transpired that only two Special Investigation Branch officers were ever sent there, and veterans who served with the unit confirmed that neither was Jackson. Others remembered a total of fewer than 10 RMP personnel being deployed, and only one commissioned officer from the regiment received the South Atlantic Medal.

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Only three military police have been awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal in the past 40 years, with one being deceased and another a woman.

Honorary colonels were first appointed by the regiment in 1974 and there have only been six since then, with the current holder of the role not being Jackson.

Otley Town Council confirmed that they have opened an investigation into Jackson's conduct and he has since resigned.

"The Council has been made aware of allegations concerning an elected councillor. The Council is investigating the claims made. We are determined to establish the facts quickly and cannot comment further until that has been done.

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"Further to our statement we have received the resignation of Otley Town Councillor Peter Jackson with immediate effect."

Statement from the Royal Military Police Association

In recent weeks a gentleman known as Peter Jackson, an elected councillor with Otley Town Council, where he sits as part of the Liberal Democrat party, has attracted adverse publicity and interest from various armed forces veteran groups on social media.

The RMPA neither condemns nor condones the actions taken by any group or individual who seek to expose those who claim falsely to have served in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.

The RMPA does strongly condemn the improper wearing by any individual of any uniform, medal, or decoration, particularly those awarded for gallantry, for whatever reason they may have, be it for simple self-aggrandisement or seeking pecuniary, financial, or reputational advantage.

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It has been brought to the attention of the RMPA that Mr Jackson has made statements and published photographs that would appear to show that he served in the Corps of Royal Military Police (RMP), perhaps between 1974 and 1990.

Further Mr Jackson has stated that his service with the RMP included undergoing specialised prolonged training in law at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

In photos published bearing his name as the subject, he is seen to be wearing, on his chest, whilst in some form of uniform, depicting to the viewer that the wearer may have achieved the rank of ieutenant-Colonel ( he also may be seen in video to be wearing our famous Red Cap), and in civilian attire, various medals including the GSM NI, which is embellished with an Oak Leaf, indicating that he was Mentioned in Despatches.

He also appears to be wearing a South Atlantic Medal with Rosette, awarded to those who served in the Falklands War of 1982. He also wears other medals that may lead people to believe that he was decorated for further gallant actions.

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It is a matter of public knowledge that Mr Jackson has stated on his curriculum vitae and other business-related narrative backgrounds that he was made an “Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel RMP”.

The RMPA are unable to substantiate any claims made by Mr Jackson relating to service in the RMP, or indeed any other such statements made by him on public forums which may lead people to believe that he served and earned any rank, awards, recognitions, qualifications, titles, or honorary rank.

The RMPA has attempted to approach Mr Jackson via email and phone in order that it may verify with him any of the claims currently causing upset within the wider veterans’ community. Such attempts have not elicited a response, at the time of writing.

The RMP took part in the liberation of the Falkland Islands in 1982 and is able to identify all those who wore our cap badge at the time who deployed as part of the Task Force.

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The RMPA has neither sought nor granted permission for Mr Jackson to wear British Army uniform. It is unusual for any veteran to wear or indeed be allowed to wear a uniform, any such uniform if authorised would in any case be expected to show and have clear indication that the wearer has retired from the Army and is no longer serving, uniforms may of course be worn as part of a drama or play or as part of a historical re-enactment society, where such a uniform would be clearly “out of date” and worn in the correct setting.

It is the wish of the RMPA that if Mr Jackson feels that any of his claims can be verified, that he opens a dialogue with the Association as soon as possible in order that we may assist him in clarifying his record of service and any honours and awards received and thus rightly worn.

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