Tortured RAF Hostage Had Paper Stuffed Down Throat Before It Was Set Alight
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The pair's story began on 17 January 1991, when their plane was shot down in one of the first air attacks of the Gulf War.
Luckily, the men were able to eject themselves from the aircraft. However, once they hit the ground, their situation swiftly worsened.
It did not take long before the two airmen were found and captured, resulting in a gruelling period of torture and humiliation.
They were then given an ultimatum – make a hostage statement, or die.
As John Nichol later told The Mirror, dying was not an option.
Speaking in 2016 about the broadcast of his hostage statement, he said he still feels 'a burning sense of shame', adding: "You can see the fear in my eyes but what you can’t see are the burns and bruises from three days of increasingly violent torture.
"Or the crowd of hostile guards toting AK47 assault rifles just out of shot.
"When I was first told my captors were going to parade me on TV, I refused.
"But the interrogator simply shrugged and said, ‘Okay, then we will kill you,’ so I had to decide, was it really worth dying for? Probably not."
John continued: "The guards started interrogating and torturing us. Every time we didn’t answer their questions, they got more hostile and violent.
"They punched and kicked us, banging our heads off walls. I was chained to a chair, beaten and a guard stubbed out his cigarette on my ear.
"After a few days, the Iraqis brought in their big players, who stuffed tissue paper down my neck and set fire to it.
"That was when I started talking. I didn’t know anything really important but even so, I felt shame."
After facing such brutal torture for seven weeks, the two men were finally freed and John bravely resumed his career in the RAF shortly after.
The pair are now bestselling authors, as they wrote a book entitled Tornado Down detailing the horrific ordeal.
To mark the 31st anniversary, John took to Twitter to pay tribute to his fellow soldiers that sadly did not make it home, as well as the ejector seat that saved his life.
The post read: "31 years & 4 stone ago, it was all going seriously 'Pete Tong'. Our Tornado had been transformed into scrap metal and we were embarking on a jolly tiresome journey.
"Thank you @MB_EjectEject for the last 31 years. RIP to those who didn't make it home."