War hero told to leave Polmont pub for having Union flag on shirt

Former soldier Richard Monteith with the polo shirt. Picture: Michael Gillen
Former soldier Richard Monteith with the polo shirt. Picture: Michael Gillen

A war hero who did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan claims he was asked to leave a bar because his polo shirt had a Union flag on the collar.

Richard Monteith (36), from Shieldhill, who served with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders for 17 years, said he was “shocked” and “deeply offended” after being told to get out of the bar in the Black Bull in Polmont last Friday night for refusing to turn his collar down.

24-02-2015. Picture Michael Gillen. SHIELDHILL. Former soldier Richard Monteith, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was asked to leave the Black Bull pub in Polmont for having Union Jack flag on his collar and refusing to turn it down. The Union Jack is embroidered into the top and is not football related.

24-02-2015. Picture Michael Gillen. SHIELDHILL. Former soldier Richard Monteith, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was asked to leave the Black Bull pub in Polmont for having Union Jack flag on his collar and refusing to turn it down. The Union Jack is embroidered into the top and is not football related.

Mr Monteith, now a security consultant, had dinner in the lounge bar in the afternoon with his wife, two children and nephew before boarding a Rangers supporters bus for the match against Raith Rovers later on.

He returned to the pub after the game for a couple of pints.

He was wearing a Hackett ‘Boat Race’ polo shirt, which has a Union Jack design around the underside of the collar that he had turned up.

After taking a sip of his pint he said a member of staff told him to turn down his collar saying it was ‘offensive’ to other customers in the bar. When he refused he was told to leave.

Mr Monteith said: “A Union Jack is not offensive. I’ve seen coffins of my mates, men I served with, draped in Union Jacks, I wear it with pride for them, nothing else. I live in Britain, it was me who was shocked and deeply offended.

“I’ve served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, losing several friends and colleagues along the way.

“I was told the red, white and blue colours were offensive and then it was the Union Jack itself that was offensive.

“It’s not a football top so I can’t see how it could be and anyway, there are Rangers and Celtic tops on the wall in the bar.

“I refused to turn my collar down because it was a matter of principle for me. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Would a Saltire be offensive?”

A spokesperson for the pub said: “We are carrying out an investigation into the allegation, but cannot comment further until we speak to all of the members of staff who were working on Friday evening.”