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January 08, 2007

Tension in the Ranks in Blighty

CAPT H sends: Colonel sacked for rebuke over visits to injured.

Sean Rayment, writing in the Sunday Telegraph:

A high-flying Army officer has been sacked for rebuking a senior commander who failed to visit injured troops in hospital.

Col Julian Clover, 43, was dismissed from his post as a staff officer at the Army's Land Command headquarters after clashing with his superior over the need for senior officers to visit troops injured in Afghanistan and Iraq at the Selly Oak hospital in Birmingham.

His sacking has sent shock waves through Land Command, the biggest Army headquarters in Britain, and has raised concerns that some senior officers are "out of touch" with the concerns of the rank and file.

There's more to the story.

Brig Bruce Brealey, 47, who had previously served in the Royal Artillery, was on a rota of senior officers who had been asked to visit Selly Oak hospital in November to check up on the soldiers' welfare and to deal with any complaints they might have. It is understood, however, that before he was due to travel to the hospital he delegated the visit to Col Clover, who at the time was an assistant chief of staff with responsibility for media operations at the headquarters.

After visiting the hospital, Col Clover had a meeting with Brig Brealey in which he expressed his view in a "forthright and uncompromising manner" that it was not acceptable for senior officers to delegate the responsibility of visiting injured troops to junior officers. The two officers were known by colleagues to have had a difficult working relationship.

Brigadier Brealy is referred to by a fellow officer as a "process man" whilst Colonel Clover has made a career in unconventional operations. A clash of personalities.

I'm no Brit, so I may be wrong, but I read this rather as Brigadier Brealy is a Stuffed Shirt Rule-bound Garret Trooper, while Colonel Clover is rather more results-oriented. I can see, being a Brigadier, how your schedule might be pretty full and it's hard to carve out the time to do things like that. Who knows what the travel time is to the hospital?

Of course, that's why you have a vehicle with a driver, and a cell phone, etc - and a laptop. No reason you can't work while in the vehicle going to and fro. And I suspect the hospital might just allow you some leeway in visiting hours, so you could go after work.

And, I suspect, this incident was merely the straw that broke the camel's back for the Brigadier, what with that unruly subordinate. The Brigadier undoubtedly has a story.

Absent any more information, however, I frankly don't care. Bad Brigadier. Sit, stay! You can't find time in your schedule to go visit soldiers? To show you actually care for soldiers - and make the hospital people know you care for soldiers, especially wounded ones? If you can't muster that kind of professionalism, then, in my book, you are unworthy of your commission.

Worse, the man's a Gunner. An Artilleryman. A Redleg (which no doubt was *some* of CAPT H's motivation for sending me the story).

Meaningless as it is, I shun you, sir. I call upon Saint Barbara to withdraw her patronage from you.

Unless you've got a far better reason than the story indicates. If so, I'm sure Saint Barbara will take that into consideration. However, if I hear of you suffering a horrible accident involving a barbecue gone wild... or something similar - well, we'll know Saint Barbara's opinion, won't we?*

This isn't about Colonel Clover - wronged or not. He's getting by on his 70K ($135K USD) salary just fine.

This is about the soldiers, wounded soldiers, you didn't have time for.

Shame, Brigadier. Shame.

You can read the whole story here.

If someone can show me the Brigadier's side of the story, I'll be happy to run with it.

*Note to unbalanced personalities. Don't help the Saint. She doesn't need it. Let her be the judge. Don't you do a thing. -the Armorer

Comments on Tension in the Ranks in Blighty
FbL briefed on January 8, 2007 08:35 AM

Yeah, that's awful. I can't help but contrast it with a story I recently read about the death of Corporal Dunham (held an enemy grenade on the ground under his helmet to protect his buddies and will be awarded the MoH Thursday). He survived long enough to be moved to Bethesda, but within hours he took a turn for the worse and it became apparent he was slipping away. The newspaper report I read indicated that the Marine Corps Commandant rushed to his bedside to award the purple heart before he died and his mother ended up sobbing on the Commandant's shoulder.

Now that's how a senior leader should be responding to the wounded and their families--he'd obviously dropped everything to be there in time.

BillT briefed on January 8, 2007 08:39 AM

Wouldn't be at all surprised if Saint Barbara calls Saints Sebastian and Martin of Tours as backup...

MajMike briefed on January 8, 2007 08:46 AM

i pray that St George will provide escort and additional firepower (as necessary) to St Barbara as she makes her duly appointed rounds.

Justthisguy briefed on January 8, 2007 10:21 PM

It ain't nice to mess with Saint Barbara. I mind my short-fuze childhood experience. I advise the Brigadier to be careful around Bics, gas stoves and flour sifters until this is straightened out up there.

Cricket briefed on January 9, 2007 12:24 PM

Sad. Kudos to the subordinate and may all he undertakes turn out well for him in future.

Since I am not a believer in patron saints but karma, what goes around comes around.

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