Robert (Bobby) and Joseph Blair are high profile campaigners for veteran’s rights in the UK
Robert (Bobby) and Joseph Blair have been frequent campaigners for army veterans in the last ten years – often speaking publicly at rallies across England about the struggles of soldiers suffering from PTSD and lambasting the government’s treatment of former service members.
But the 57-year-old twin brothers, who are Birmingham based, have come under fire after another group of veterans carried out an investigation and concluded the pair had never served in the RUC, never mind the Special Branch’s ‘anti-terrorist squad’.
The group call themselves the ‘Walter Mitty Hunters Club HQ’ (WMHCWQ) and describe themselves as ‘A club of like-minded Veterans dedicated to exposing those who steal valour by pretence of exaggeration.’
Now the twins have gone public online to tell their haters they DID serve “on the frontline of terrorism” in Northern Ireland and had to leave the country in 1982 because of “an imminent death threat from the IRA” after their cover was blown.
Bobby Blair even has a ‘Special Branch NI’ tattoo on his arm.
The twins joined veteran marches in cities like Manchester and Birmingham after years of campaigning against child abuse – something they have also spoken publicly about suffering in Northern Ireland.
The WMHCWQ went public online with their claims about the Blair twins, who say they lived in Belfast and attended the notorious St Patrick’s Training School in west Belfast where they suffered abuse.
Veterans within the WMHCWQ claim the Blair twins couldn’t possibly have been in the RUC’s Special Branch Anti-Terrorist Squad at the times they claim to have been.
They point to the fact the Blairs admit they were in St Patrick’s school in 1979 when they would have been 15 years old, and according to papers produced by the twins they were implicated in a number of burglaries.
Yet within three years they had not only joined the RUC, passed training, passed specialist training to become active members of the anti-terrorist squad but they had also been rumbled by the IRA and forced to flee Belfast for ever, still only aged 18.
Former RUC members came forward and said they’d never heard of the Blair twins or knew anyone who had and also publicly questioned the seemingly unlikely three-year timeline from borstal aged 15 to highly trained specialist ant-terror cops by 18.
They also questioned whether any serving officer in the RUC Special Branch would ever get it tattooed on their arm and have queried the medals worn by the brothers at a number of veterans rallies.
According to the WMHCWQ, suspicions about the twins were raised by other veterans when neither Robert or Joseph would reveal their RUC service number.
They claimed that to reveal their number would put them in danger as several republican “splinter groups” still wanted to kill them.
The WMHCWQ pointed out the twins had already been all over social media campaigning about their time in the RUC and had even had coffee mugs commissioned with their pictures and details on them, not to mention the fact Robert has a Special Branch tattoo on his arm.
They also released photos of Robert and Joseph Blair announcing on Facebook that they were just about to board a plane to come back to Belfast and later the pair posted photos of them both sitting on swings in the Waterworks Park in north Belfast.
The WMHCWQ questioned why the brothers would do this if, as they claim, they remain under death threat from republican splinter groups.
The WMHCWQ were contacted by one of the twins who admitted through private messaging, which was made public, that they hadn’t actually been members of the RUC Special Branch but had worked as informers for the force and the 1982 death threat was real.
They said they wore the berets with the RUC badge out of respect to the RUC.
But now they have taken to social media in a video, which they have since taken down, claiming they were indeed in the secretive wing of the RUC for a brief period during the Troubles.
In a Facebook ‘live’ event, the pair stood by their service record and slammed the WMHCWQ for “blowing their cover”.
Joseph Blair told those watching: “This has been going on a couple of months now, someone made a false profile and put it up that me and Bobby were ‘Walts’.
“Me and Bobby have been trying to contact the Walter Mitty team but they are refusing to answer the phone.
“I want to make something very clear – both me and Bobby served on the front line of terrorism. I shouldn’t have to be on here because of someone making a false claim. In 1982 me an Bobby got an imminent death threat off the IRA because our cover was blown.
“To the Walter Mitty crew, thank you for blowing our cover. Thank you for putting our lives at risk because we have to do this sh*t.”
His brother Bobby wades in to support his furious brother, adding: “I gave you every opportunity, I rung you people. If the Walter Mitty Hunters Club are f***ing going to try and discredit people at least you could have the decency to answer your phone.
“You want to discredit people but haven’t even got the f***ing balls to answer a phone call that would have solved all this and put a stop to all this.”
The WMHCWQ have publicly named several veterans for being ‘fake’ in the last few months – targeting those who they believe are using the emotive issue to gain undeserved kudos and sometimes even cash by claiming to have served in the armed forces in conflict in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
But Bobby rounded on their detractors for not considering the mental health of veterans.
Speaking directly to the WMHCWQ, he states: “You put sh*t up on your website regardless of vets’ mental health and try and pull a stunt like this. I don’t care what you put up about me and Joe, I couldn’t give two f**ks.
“What I care about is vets’ lives – you are going to make a vet commit suicide. I’m going to start a new campaign to get your page took down. That’s not a threat, that’s a promise. You carry on doing what you are doing and don’t have the balls to speak to people.”
And addressing the issue of revealing their services numbers, Joseph said: “Any vet in British armed forces knows your service number doesn’t mean sh*t. It doesn’t say where you served.
“In 1982 we had threats off the IRA and the INLA. They were going to kill us and we were pulled out of Northern Ireland by Special Branch RUC who I f***ing worked for.
“I worked because of you bastards. What you don’t realise is we’ve got splinter groups in Northern Ireland. Both me and Bobby served in Northern Ireland on the front line of terrorism. You mother f***ers have just signed me and his f***ing life away.
“I’m ending this now, you shower of bastards”
Bobby says what happened to them was real.
“The WMHCWQ on saying they can’t get this confirmed, are you people for f***ing real? Have you even tried? We just told you what happened. You’re saying that didn’t happen – we must have been on f***ing drugs because it did happen. You people don’t even have the intel.”
While some veterans have turned on the Blair twins, some have supported them and commended them for their work highlighting PTSD in soldiers returning from conflict.
Last Sunday the brothers posted another live video of them at a remembrance event in England where they lit 52 candles for soldiers who have taken their lives after failing to get support from the government with their PTSD.