General Sir C R V Walker KCB DSO

General Sir ‘Roly’ Walker was commissioned into the Irish Guards in 1993 and served with the UK’s Special Forces (SF) from 1997. He commanded the Grenadier Guards in 2009, promoting to the General Staff four years later.

He has commanded at company, squadron, battle group, brigade and SF group levels, variously in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Iraq, as well as joint command of operations across Europe, the broader Middle East, Africa and South America. On the Staff he has served in brigade, divisional, army and strategic Headquarters.

He was the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Military Strategy & Operations) at the Ministry of Defence since April 2021, during which time he was responsible for advising on and directing operations to support the government’s response to Covid, the death of the late Duke of Edinburgh, the withdrawal from Kabul, the full scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the death of the late Queen Elizabeth II and coronation of His Majesty King Charles III, numerous evacuation operations and most recently the Hamas attacks on Israel.

In December 2023 it was announced that General Walker was to be announced as the new Chief of the General Staff, succeeding General Sir Patrick Sanders.

He was made a Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath in 2023, and a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order in 2010. General Walker is the President of the Honourable Artillery Company, Army Rugby and Army Winter Sports.

Married, with three daughters, he lives in Herefordshire.

The Chief of the General Staff

The Chief of the General Staff (CGS) is the professional head of the Army, with responsibility for developing and generating military capability from an integrated Army (Regular and Reserve) and for maintaining the fighting effectiveness, efficiency and morale of the Service.

The CGS reports to the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) and, as a Service COS, has a right of direct access to the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister. The CGS is a member of the Defence Council and the Army Board, the Armed Forces Committee, the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Senior Appointments Committee.

Born in Tidworth Garrison military hospital and raised in Norway, Gibraltar and Iraq, General Sir Patrick Sanders was commissioned in 1986 and spent his early service as an Infantry Officer in The Royal Green Jackets in Germany, Norway and the UK. He has commanded on operations in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

His staff appointments have been in operational and strategic roles. He has been a member of the Directing Staff at the Joint Staff College, Pol/Mil adviser for the Commander of Coalition Forces in Iraq in 2003-4, Colonel Army Strategy, Chief of Defence Staff’s Liaison Officer to the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Operations) in the MOD.

His higher command appointments were 20 Armoured Brigade, the 3rd (UK) Division and the Field Army. He was promoted to General in May 2019 and commanded UK Strategic Command until May 2022. He became Chief of the General Staff in June 2022.

He is Colonel Commandant of The Rifles and the Honourable Artillery Company, and President of the Armed Forces Winter Sports Association. He speaks French and Norwegian, colloquial Spanish and can tell when he is being insulted in Arabic, Pashtun, Dari, Albanian and Serbo-Croat. Married to Fiona Bullen, a successful author, they have made their home in a small Wiltshire village.

General Sanders enjoys cycling, all forms of skiing, shooting and whisky. A season ticket holder with their son Kit, he is a martyr to Tottenham Hotspur FC. He dislikes scotch eggs and can’t bear Arsenal.

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