Senior General Questions Germany Withdrawal

One of Britain's most senior Generals has questioned the drawdown of troops from Germany.

One of Britain's most senior Generals has questioned the drawdown of troops from Germany.

Lieutenant-General Patrick Sanders, who once led the 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade in Paderborn, said he asks himself why the UK is leaving each time he visits.

Speaking at one of the largest parades mounted by the Brigade in Paderborn, the Commander Field Army, said: “Each time I come here I reflect on the amazing military facilities that we have, the sense of military community and the warmth of the local community, the fact that we are close to our allies and we’re on the right side of the Channel and I do ask myself why we’re leaving.

“I really have no idea but we’ve been told to.”

He then gave the strongest hint yet that the Army wants to keep its German training facilities.

He said: “I am determined to maintain the strongest links both personally but also as the British Army with this town.

“These will not be the last British soldiers you see in Paderborn.”

In 2015, the Ministry of Defence confirmed that the final British Field Army units would return to the UK from Germany in 2019.

However, since then there have been suggestions and rumours that the withdrawl could be halted.

The new Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, suggested in January that withdrawal could be halted so that troops can maintain quick access to Eastern Europe in the event of Russian hostilities.

The Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and Gen Carter have since had discussions about retaining some Army facilities in Germany.

If that were to happen, one of Britain’s most senior military men in Germany acknowledged that contingencies are in place.

However, Brigadier Richard Clements quelled rumours of a U-turn on the plans to draw down all combat troops from the country.

He said: “It’s really important that the Government decision, which was that all major units will rebase in the summer of 2019 and on to 2020, will take place.

"If you think you’re staying, you’re not. You will be going if you’re in a major unit.”