Friday, 01 July 2022
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UK armed forces and defence

The U K Defence Forum would like to thank you for your service and sacrifice, wishing you a Merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year. In particular we recognise the men and women who are serving on operations and deployment such as :

10,000 in Afghanistan

19,000 in Germany

3,200 in Cyprus

1,500 in the Falklands

1,000 elsewhere on land

and on or under the high seas the crews of

Our deterent boat

HMS Scimitar

HMS Sabre

HMS Enterprise

HMS Dasher

HMS Pursuer

HMS Scot

HMS York

RFA Gold Rover

HMS Atherstone

HMS Chaddingfold

HMS Grimsby

HMS Lancaster

HMS Monmouth

HMS Pembroke

RFA Bayleaf

RFA Cardigan Bay

RFA Lyme Bay


On the 23rd February Parliament set the maximum numbers of personnel to be maintained for service with the Armed Forces during the year ending 31st March 2011. The figures break down accordingly:

Service Regular Reserves Total
Royal Navy/Marines 42,550 19,205 61,755
Army 124,030 97,355 221,385
Royal Air Force 47,400 13,680 61,080

The total combined number of Armed Forces personnel expected to be in service during the financial year ending 2011 stands at 344,020.

A number of observations can be made from these figures. In terms of the regular Armed Forces, the combined total represents an extremely modest increase in personnel compared to the previous year. By 2011, it is anticipated that 213,980 regular personnel will be serving in the Armed Forces, compared with 212,430 in 2010.

By comparison, the number of reserves anticipated to be serving with the Armed Forces is much more alarming. The combined total of reserves anticipated to be in service for the year ending 2011 is 130,240. This figure represents a continuation of the decline of reserves since the beginning of the 21st Century. According to The Military Balance, the number of reserves within the Armed Forces throughout the decade was:

Year Total
2000 302,850
2001 247,100
2002 256,750
2003 272,550
2004 272,550
2005 272,550
2006 241,520
2007 199,280
2008 199,280
2009 199, 280

One of the key messages of Andrew Murrison MP's Sixty Second Soundbite is that the reserves have played a significant part in operations in the not-so-distant and will continue to do so in the future. Whilst the Ministry of Defence may dispute The Military Balance's figures, the declining number of reserves is likely to impact on the scope of all future operations, including the regular Armed Forces.

Andrew Murrison MP on the changing role for reservists and the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme.


Two British military bomb disposal experts, one of whom gave his life in the line of duty, have been awarded one of the UK's highest awards for gallantry, the George Cross.

At a special ceremony in London today, Chief of the Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup confirmed that Staff Sergeant Kim Hughes and his fallen colleague the late Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid are to have the gallantry award bestowed upon them.

SSgt Hughes and Mrs Christina Schmid, SSgt Schmid's widow, were present at the ceremony today, where they were both personally congratulated by Chief of the Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, and Secretary of State for Defence Bob Ainsworth.

Read more...  

A total of 146 members of the Armed Forces and one civilian have received honours and awards in the Operational Honours List dated today, 19 March 2010.

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The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence (Kevan Jones):  The Government committed to implementing in full all the recommendations arising from the Review of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme when it was published on 10 February 2010.  As the Review acknowledged, considerable detailed work is required to translate the Review's high level recommendations in to legislation.  An important first step is the formation of the proposed independent medical expert group, which I an establishing on an interim basis today in order to meet the timescales envisaged by the Review.  The terms of reference, structure and membership of this interim medical expert group which will advise on armed forces compensation is set out below:

Read more...  

The following service appointments have been announced:


Lieutenant-General Sir Nick Parker, KCB, CBE, Late Royal Green Jackets, currently Deputy Commander International Security Assistance Force and United Kingdom National Contingent Commander – Afghanistan, to be Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, in the rank of General, in succession to General Sir John McColl, KCB, CBE, DSO, in February 2011.

Major-General T.P. Evans, DSO, MBE, Late Light Infantry, currently Chief of Staff Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, to be Chief of Staff International Security Assistance Force Joint Command – Afghanistan, in succession to Major-General C. J. Boag, CBE, in December 2010.

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Major-General C. J. Boag, CBE, Late Corps of Royal Engineers, currently Chief of Staff Headquarters International Security Assistance Force Joint Command—Afghanistan, 7 to be General Officer Commanding 4th Division, in succession to Major-General R. L Kirkland, CBE, in May 2011.

Brigadier T. A. Beckett, CBE, Late Parachute Regiment, currently Director Commitments, Headquarters Land Forces, to be Deputy Commander Nato Rapid Deployment Corps — Italy, in the rank of major-general, in succession to Major-General D. A. Capewell, OBE, Royal Marines, in July 2010.

Read more...  

by Major General Gordon Messenger. MoD spokesman

The disruption caused by the cloud of volcanic ash over Europe has had no impact on our ability to prosecute operations in Afghanistan. We are working hard to ensure that any disruption to the support of operations in Afghanistan is kept to an absolute minimum as a result of the limitations placed on flying into, and out of, UK airspace. As is the case for many British citizens across the world, the biggest impact of the ash cloud will be on individuals and their families.

Read more...  

General Sir David Richards, Chief of the General Staff :

"This is a war that needs to be fought and can be won.....we haven't sold it very well and we need to do better."

"If the Afghan people asked us to go tomorrow, we would have to go. We are there under a United Nations mandate."

"If we give up Afghanistan tomorrow, I absolutely guarantee you that if you are an al Qaeda memeber or Taleban, they will pour back into southern Afghanistan and they will have the freedom to plan and train and conduct operations which now they don't have."

"General McChrystal talks about 2013 (for a pull out of troops). The Chief of the Defence Staff and I have said that's pretty challenging. Being cautious military men, we're talking about 2014."

Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Stff :

Afghanistan must not be "the template for a future UK defence structure that can do nothing but more Afghanistans.....the range of threats to UK interests is greater than that."


At a time when all three branches of the armed forces are committed to combat in Afghanistan and are extensively deployed throughout the world, there is relatively little recognition for them in the New Year's Honours List.


Lt General Bill Rollo - late the Blues and Royals
Lt General Alexannder Richard Shirreff - late The King's Royal Hussars


The Venerable John Green QHC - Royal Navy
Major General Simon Lalor - Territorial Army
Rear Admiral Richard David Leaman
Lt General Simon Mayall late 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards
The Reverend (Air Vice Marshal) Peter Watson Mills
Lt General Peter Clayton Pearson - late The Royal Ghurka Rifles


Brigadier Stephen Frederick Sherry late Royal Engineers


Air Commodore Clive Arther Bairsto
Colonel Mark Cuthbert-Brown
Group Captain Keith Ronald Dipper
Colonel David James Eadie
Commodore Stephen Redvers Kirby
Colonel Christopher William Manning
Brigadier Simon John Marriner
Group Captain Alistair Monkman
Commodore Christopher Laurence Palmer
Colonel Michael Peter McGregor Stewart
Group Captain Andrew Mark Turner

...and the top civilians at the MoD? Hardly visible in the top echelons


Gloria Linda Craig - director, International Security Policy

...and finally....


Timothy Michael Everton Dowse - formerly chief of Assessments Staff, Joint Intelligence Organisation


cenotaphA national service of commemoration to mark the 65th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) was held at the Cenotaph on the 8th May. TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, senior government representatives and Defence Chiefs, were joined by representatives of World War II associations, veterans of the conflict, current Service personnel whose grandparents fought in WWII and members of the public.

The service was attended by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

VE Day marks the official end of hostilities in Europe for the Second World War on 8 May 1945, following the formal unconditional surrender of German Forces. It was an occasion of national celebration, yet also one of sombre reflection for those who would not return.

Wreaths were laid by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, PM Gordon Brown, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, The Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, The First Sea Lord, General Sir David Richards, Chief of the General Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, Chief of the Air Staff, and Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely, National President of The Royal British Legion.

Following the service, a reception was hosted by the Royal British Legion for the veterans at Horse Guards Parade, attended by HRH The Prince of Wales.


Round-up of his views expressed Friday, May 14, 2010
Compiled by Defence Management Journal

The former head of the British army has said that troop numbers need not be cut in the strategic defence and security review (SDSR) if the government looks for savings in the Ministry of Defence equipment programme.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, General Sir Richard Dannatt said: "I think by anyone's recognition we've got too many tanks, too much heavy artillery, too many fast jets.

Read more...  

The following service appoitnments and retirements have been announced:

Senior Army retirements


P. E. O'R-B. Davidson-Houston, Late RGBW, retired on December 16, 2009

S. F. Sherry, Late RE, retired on January 30, 2010

J. A. S. Downes, Late RLC, retired on April 2, 2010

I. Cameron-Mowat, Late R Signals, retired on April 22, 2010

Read more...  

Under new procedures being introduced in the UK Parliament, a Chairman will be elected for the House of Commons Defence Committee on Wednesday 9th June (and for other Departmental Committees too). Nominations will only be accepted for Conservative candidates for HCDC but the whole House will vote. The incumbent is Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP. Westminster rumours indicate there may be a challenger or two.



"It is with great sadness and shock that I announce the untimely death of Air Chief Marshal Sir Christopher Moran KCB OBE MVO ADC MA BSc FRAeS RAF on Wednesday 26 May 2010.

"Sir Chris had been the Commander-in-Chief of Air Command for the last 14 months.  During a distinguished career, he served in a wide number of appointments; a Harrier pilot by background, he commanded Royal Air Force Wittering and was the Air Officer Commanding Number 1 Group.

"Sir Chris was also Equerry to The Duke of Edinburgh in the early 1990s. A highly respected and courageous leader, this tragic loss comes as a huge blow to the Royal Air Force and, indeed, Defence at large.

"Most importantly, our prayers and thoughts are with his family, to whom I offer my most sincere condolences on behalf of the Royal Air Force, serving and retired."

Read more...  

Figures showing that the UK Armed Forces are currently at 99.5 per cent of their full time Trained Strength requirement have been released today by the MOD. This is up from 97.2 per cent a year ago and shows a continued upward trend in retention.

21,800 new recruits have joined the UK Regular Forces in the 12 months to 31 March 2010.

Read more...  

Lieutenant-General J. J. C. Bucknall, CBE, Late Coldstream Guards, whose appointment to be Commander Allied Rapid Reaction Corps in August 2010 has been announced, to be Deputy Commander International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan, in succession to Lieutenant-General Sir Nick Parker, KCB, CBE, in November 2010.

Brigadier C. Chapman (Late Parachute Regiment), currently Head of Counter Terrorism and UK Operations, Ministry of Defence, to be Senior British Military Adviser United States Central Command, in the rank of Major-General, in succession to Air Vice-Marshal G. E. Stacey, MBE, in September 2010.

Royal Marines

Major General D. A. Capewell, OBE, to be appointed Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Operations) in succession to Air Vice Marshal A. D. Pulford, CBE, RAF, with effect from August 23, 2010

Read more...  

The Labour Government 1997 - 2010 steadily degraded the public value it placed on the defence industry, as illustrated in the honours it prevailed upon the Queen to bestow twice a year. Whereas in days of old the heads of the very largest companies might expect to get knighthoods, with a goodly sprinkle of "gongs" throughout the lower echelons, the very last list Labour prepared, and which was announced today, is reduced to a mere single OBE and two MBEs. "We hate you" despite your contribution to exports, jobs, investment in technology and not least re-equipping the fighting army for two unpopular wars in two distant countries, could not be more clearly written. As is the message once more reinforced to the country's young people, growing up on the pap of meaningless misbehaving celebrity, that "social work", football or marrying an ageing Hollywood actor was far more important in Labour's Britain than manufacturing industry. We look to the Liberal Conservative Coalition to start the process of re-orientation at the New Year. After all, it's a cost-free process!

Read more...  

In a speech to the Royal United Services Institute in London this morning Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox has said that the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) will make a clean break from the thinking of the past and will be 'ruthless and without sentiment'.

Read more...  

Royal Air Force

Air Marshal S. Bryant, CBE, to be promoted Air Chief Marshal and to be Commander-in-Chief Air Command and Air Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty The Queen with immediate effect, in succession to the late Air Chief Marshal Sir Christopher Moran KCB, QBE, MVO.ADC.

Air Vice-Marshal A. D. Pulford, CBE to be promoted Air Marshal and to be Deputy Commander-in-Chief (Personnel) Headquarters Air Command and the Air Member for Personnel from September 1, 2010, in succession to Air Marshal S. Bryant, CBE.

Air Vice-Marshal R. F. Garwood, CB, CBE, DFC, to be promoted Air Marshal and to be Deputy Commander-in-Chief (Operations) Headquarters Air Command with immediate effect, in succession to Air Marshal I. W. McNicoll, CB, CBE, who is retiring from the Service.

Air Vice-Marshal M. G. Lloyd is appointed Acting Deputy Commander-in-Chief (Personnel) and the Air Member for Personnel with immediate effect until September 1, 2010.


Latest from the Ministry of Defence

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