My watch is ended: British Army chief quotes Game of Thrones as he discusses leaving his role

Watch: General Sir Patrick Sanders on leaving his role as Chief of the General Staff.

The head of the British Army has quoted Game of Thrones to explain why he is leaving his role because his "watch is ended", adding that he has loved every minute of the job.

As part of an exclusive interview with Forces News, the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Patrick Sanders, said he was "handing over something that is a going concern and sometimes that's the right time".

"Because my watch is ended, to quote a bit of Game of Thrones," he explained, referring to Jon Snow leaving the Night's Watch and handing over his title of Lord Commander in the hit HBO series.

"I'm in my late 50s, I've done 40 years, close to, in uniform. This is my second job as one of the chiefs," said General Sir Patrick.

"I hope I've been able in the time that I've been in this job to begin that process of transformation of the Army.

"But you also have to make sure that you've got your successor queued up."

When asked if it had been his decision to leave or whether he would have preferred more time in the role, he said whatever time he had been given as Chief of the General Staff was a "privilege".

Watch: Exclusive: British Army will be the most lethal army in Europe by the end of the decade, CGS says.

"I'm the longest serving chief. I've done more time as a chief than almost any of my predecessors," said the Army chief who previously commanded UK Strategic Command.

"This is a job that is a privilege to be in and I have loved every minute that I've been in this job.

"It's not always a picnic, but I've loved it. Mainly because it's an opportunity and I've tried to add back to the soldiers I've had."

He also stressed the chance to meet and work with "people from every single part of British society and every conceivable background" kept him in the Army for 40 years.

General Sir Patrick explained: "Rubbing shoulders with people, most of whom are below the age of 24 or 25, youth has a vitality and optimism and sense of a lack of limits

"And what I'd hate to do, as an old fart, is to begin to try to stifle some of that enthusiasm.

"So feel free to make mistakes, the boldness that youth brings is one of our greatest strengths."

Watch: Army chief says he felt 'emotional tug' seeing destroyed Challenger 2 tank in Ukraine.

With a few months left in the post, General Sir Patrick still has a few things he wants to get done, namely securing cross-party support for the Army's modernisation plans and continuing support for Ukraine.

"I'd like to make sure that the programme of modernisation and transformation that we've embarked on is completely locked in and built into all of the party's manifestos," he said.

"I think the vision that we've got for the British Army is incredibly exciting.

"I think it's what the country needs and making sure that secures cross-party support will be critical for me and critical for the Army.

"I want to continue to make sure that we’re delivering success on the battlefield in Ukraine."

As part of the exclusive interview with Forces News, General Sir Patrick said the British Army would be the most modern and the most lethal army in Europe by the end of the decade.

He also said he felt an emotional tug seeing footage of a destroyed UK Challenger 2 burning in Ukraine - the first lost to enemy action.

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