Friday, 28 July 2017
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Up-to-the-minute perspectives on defence, security and peace
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UK Armed Forces

The deployment of the 2nd Battalion, The Rifles (2 Rifles) to Kosovo as part of the UK's commitment to the NATO/EU shared pan-Balkans Operational Reserve Force (ORF) will last until the end of 2008.

Following a review of the security situation in Kosovo and wider military commitments, the UK has announced that the UK contribution to the ORF will cease on 31 December 2008. "The major milestones in Kosovo's independence have passed without incident and the security situation in Kosovo is stable, if fragile. Against this backdrop, and with over 15,000 personnel currently in theatre, NATO remains well placed to deal with any potential security incidents," said Dnew Defence Secretary John Hutton MP.

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Defence Viewpoints posts references to obituaries for former military personnel here on Viewpoints.

In addition to such public prominence, over recent years there has a steady (and, some would argue, long overdue) trickle of honours awarded to British heroes who have previously not been granted the recognition they richly deserve. Without the courage of many of these individuals, Britain could not have emerged victorious from World War Two, or played a strong role abroad in the years after.

The introduction of Veterans' Badges in 2004 provided a platform for granting recognition to those whose deeds may otherwise have slipped from memory. Initially reserved to veterans of UK armed forces of the First and Second World Wars, the scheme has since been extended, and now includes all those who have served in UK armed forces to date, with about 550,000 having been issued so far. (Declaration of interest : the Editor's mother has one!)

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Army: Brigadier Immediate appointments

Brigadier I. Hooper (Late R Signals), to be Commander 1 Signal Brigade, with effect from July 2008;
Brigadier M. P. Dodson (Late HLDRS) to be Deputy Military Secretary, Army Personnel Centre, with effect from August 2008;
Brigadier W. N. Aldridge (Late RRF), to be Commander 42 (North West) Brigade, with effect from September 2008;
Brigadier M. T. Griffiths (Late KORBR) to be Director Personnel Services (Army), Headquarters Land Forces, with effect from September 2008;
Brigadier G. K. Messenger, DSO, OBE, ADC, Royal Marines, to be Brigade Commander, 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, in succession to Brigadier F. H. R. Howes with effect from September 15, 2008;

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It's a good day for the Gurkhas who fought for the British Army, who have won their battle to stay in the UK.

In the test case at the High Court, the six men's lawyers argued that the UK owed them a 'special debt' in gratitude for their service in nearly every conflict in British history.
The ruling means that the 2,000 Gurkhas who were denied the right to live in the UK can now apply for residency.

The Government had argued that the Gurkhas lacked "strong ties" with Britain but their lawyer Edward Fitzgerald, QC, said their "long and dedicated service links them inextricably to the people of this country''.

Almost 50,000 of the Nepalese soldiers died during their service for Britain in Malaya, the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan, service for which they were awarded won 13 Victoria Crosses for bravery.

Martin Howe, the mens' solicitor, said: "The veteran Gurkhas I represent, with typical humility and strength of character, give theirheartfelt thanks to each and every person: from public life; the media; and the ranks of ordinary decent people who stood by them in their hour of need as indeed the Gurkhas stood by us, in our darkest hours of need.

"The veteran Gurkhas warmly paraphrase to the people of Britain the kind words written of them: 'Never had we more faithful friends than you'."

 

A well known figure on the UK defence scene is leaving SBAC and moving to AirTanker as Corporate Communications Manager.In recent days Mary Ann Griffiths has been seconded to the MOD-industry Joint Communications Group, but is now returning to industry as part of the AirTanker programme as it (literally) takes off.

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The voice of Britain's big defence companies, the Defence Industries Council today released public opinion polling data showing that both the UK Armed Forces and the British defence industry that provides them with their equipment are both highly regarded by the public.

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Viewpoints sends its support to Corporal Tomos Stringer who had to spend a night sleeping in his car after been turned down for a room at a hotel because he was military personnel.

The MoD is now demanding an explanation to why Corp. Stringer was denied a room at the Metro hotel, Surrey. One Sunday night in June this year he attempted to book a room at the hotel and after showing his military ID he was informed that military staff were 'not welcome.'

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Brigadier C. M. Deverell, MBE is to be promoted Major-General and appointed Director-General Logistics, Support and Equipment, Headquarters Land Forces, from November 2008.
Brigadier R. L. Kirkland, CBE is to be promoted Major-General and appointed General Officer Commanding 4th Division from November 2008.
Brigadier A. D. Mackay, CBE is to be promoted Major-General and appointed General Officer Commanding 2nd Division from May 2009.
Commodore J. A. Morse, Royal Navy, to be appointed Commander United Kingdom Task Group from November 2008.
Commodore D. G. Steel, ADC, Royal Navy, to be appointed Deputy Director Service Personnel Policy from January 2009.
Captain M. W. Westwood, Royal Navy, is to be promoted Commodore and appointed Assistant Chief of Staff (Aviation) in Navy Command Headquarters from January 2009.

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The Ministry of Defence has announced that Team Stellar has won the RJ Mitchell Trophy, the top prize in its Grand Challenge defence technology competition.

The winning Team Stellar used a ground-crawling robot and two flying ones to unmask a range of likely urban-combat threats."We are proud to crown Team Stellar the winners of MOD's most prestigious competition for battlefield innovators," said Baroness Ann Taylor.

"The Grand Challenge has proven a showcase for the wealth of talent that exists in the UK - not just in large Defence firms, but in universities, schools and even garden sheds across the nation. They have brought fresh, exciting ideas to the Defence table which could have battle-winning applications for our Armed Forces."

 

Gy Great North News staff reporter

It seems the MoD still wants to play its cards close to its chest over the development of RAF St Athan. Witness the following, taken from a recent FOI request for the Minutes of Board meetings on the matter,

"The last Programme Executive Board (PEB) Minutes (dated 16 June 2008) contain some sensitive Programme information which could undermine the confidentiality of the MOD's position in advance of continuing negotiations with the Metrix Consortium. Such information is of a restricted nature and underpins our negotiating position, disclosure of which could hinder the MOD's ability to achieve value for money. It is not in the public interest to have this position eroded and therefore these Minutes will not be published. The Minutes will be withheld under section 43 (Commercial Interests) of the FOI Act."

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