Minister tears strip off Army top brass
2nd November 2021

Minister tears strip off Army top brass: Ben Wallace will fire a broadside at military over anger at string of misconduct scandals

  • Defence Secretary Ben Wallace will give army top brass a severe dressing down
  • Sources claim the lambasting comes amid fears Army discipline is collapsing 
  • Comes after Kenyan police reopened murder probe into death of Agnes Wanjiru
  • General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, the Chief of the General Staff, is one of those called in 

Army top brass are to receive a severe dressing down from the Defence Secretary after a series of misconduct scandals.

Ben Wallace will give generals an unprecedented lambasting next week over fears discipline is collapsing and the Army has lost its focus, sources revealed last night.

It comes a day after Kenyan police chiefs announced the reopening of a murder probe into the brutal death of a woman last seen with British troops.

Ben Wallace (pictured) will give generals an unprecedented lambasting next week over fears discipline is collapsing and the Army has lost its focus, sources revealed last night

Pictured: Agnes Wanjiru, whose stabbed body was dumped in a septic tank at a hotel in Nanyuki, Kenya, in 2012

Army chiefs are also embroiled in a scandal involving the sexual harassment of a female officer cadet who later killed herself.

General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, the Chief of the General Staff, his deputy Lieutenant General Chris Tickell and Lieutenant General Ralph Wooddisse, the Commander of the Field Army, are among those summoned for the rare reprimand. It is understood to be the first time in recent years that the Army Board has been called in by a Defence Secretary for such a telling off.

Mr Wallace, a former Army officer, is said to have become ‘exasperated’ over the generals’ failure to maintain standards.

Agnes Wanjiru’s stabbed body was dumped in a septic tank at a hotel in Nanyuki, Kenya, where she had been entertaining soldiers from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment in March 2012. Last month a soldier claimed a colleague confessed to killing her.

In September the Daily Mail revealed how instructors at the Army’s prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst had been named ‘interested parties’ at an inquest into the death of Officer Cadet Olivia Perks, 21.

One is accused of having an affair with her before she hanged herself in 2019. Another warrant officer allegedly invited her to his room after a formal dinner, in a breach of rules. A full inquest will take place next year.

The Army Board meeting will also address the public fallout from disastrous procurement projects such as the £4billion Ajax armoured vehicle which faces being scrapped. Scores of troops have reported hearing issues after testing Ajax. 

The Commons’ public accounts committee also reports today that the Ministry of Defence’s purchasing department is unfit for purpose. It recommends the MoD is relieved of its responsibilities for major expenditure and that all major projects should in future be signed off by the Treasury and the Cabinet Office.

General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith (pictured), the Chief of the General Staff, his deputy Lieutenant General Chris Tickell and Lieutenant General Ralph Wooddisse, the Commander of the Field Army, are among those summoned for the rare reprimand

It comes a day after Kenyan police chiefs announced the reopening of a murder probe into the brutal death of a woman last seen with British troops. Pictured: Kenyan sex workers protest on October 26, 2021, against the murder and harassment of their colleagues in recent years

Last night a senior defence source said: ‘The Secretary of State has summoned the Army Board to discuss a range of issues affecting the service. This extraordinary summons comes off the back of a number of worrying incidents. The meeting will cover Ajax and conduct and culture in the Army.

‘The Secretary of State has become exasperated over a series of issues.’

An Army spokesman said: ‘The Secretary of State is determined to work with the Army’s leadership to drive out unacceptable behaviour at all levels, particularly with respect to the treatment of women.’

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