A soldier who arrived home after months of fighting the Taliban was refused booze at a supermarket because he was in uniform.
Hero Sapper Anthony Walls had popped into the store to buy beer after a gruelling 34-hour trip from Kandahar.
But the 27-year-old was left fuming when the cashier said she couldn't serve him alcohol while in combat gear.
The shop manager was called who told him bluntly: "There's nothing I can do."
Anthony, who was on his way to his three-year-old nephew Jack's birthday party, left his beer at the check-out and left the Co-op shop in disgust.
The 27-year-old said last night: "I was deeply hurt.
"All I was thinking about was getting home to Jack in time to wish him a happy birthday. It was great to be home after a difficult journey and I just thought I'd grab a couple of beers, a luxury I hadn't had in a while.
"But when I came to pay the cashier refused to serve me and rang her bell. A supervisor came along and the cashier explained she was refusing to serve me because I was in uniform. He looked at me and said 'I can't do anything about it'.
"I put the beer down and walked out. I was shocked." Anthony's sister Claire Lloyd said she was furious over his treatment at his local Co-op store in New Addington, South London, last month.
The 33-year-old mum-of-four added: "I am so proud of Anthony, he works hard and willingly puts his own life on the line every day.
"To come home to this kind of treatment is disgusting.
"Anthony and his colleagues are the unsung heroes of this country. They deserve the respect and civility extended to anyone else in a uniform."
The Co-op has since apologised to Anthony, of 21 Engineer Regiment, and insisted he should have been served. A spokesman added: "This was a genuine mistake on the part of our two members of staff, and we have apologised to the soldier in question and hope to welcome him back to the store. We do not have a policy that states that when wearing uniform, members of the armed forces should not be served alcohol or cigarettes."
Anthony, who flew back to war-torn Afghanistan on Tuesday, had been on a four-and-a-half month tour where he was dodging Taliban bullets and bombs while helping to build "the country's most dangerous roads".
During that time he had witnessed the death of one of his best friends, Sapper Daryn Roy, who was killed at the age of 28 in an IED explosion in May.
Anthony, who joined up at 17, added: "It's really tough out there.
"Sometimes the only thing that keeps you going over there is the support and love from home."