Page 92 - The Chapka 2016
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90 REGIMENTAL JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL LANCERS (QUEEN ELIZABETHS’ OWN) Mentioned not in dispatches but in Parliament
 It’s not every year that a middle ranking officer in the crack cavalry Regiment gets mentioned in Parliament, in both the Lords and the Commons and, I humbly venture, generously praised to boot. But, your reporter has been so mentioned. Surely a mention in Hansard is a higher honour than a Mention in Des- patches? What sort of medal would an MiH be? Ribbon colour? No? OK, on with the article.... These Parliamentary mentions were in relation to the regeneration of the Monuments Men ca- pability of military cultural property protection (CPP) special- ists in the Armed Forces for the first time since WW2. The Sec- retary of State for Defence, Sir Michael Fallon MP, announced in Parliament in April 2016 that, as part of the ratification of the Hague Convention (1954), the Armed Forces would establish a group of military CPP specialists commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel. Can’t think of any suitable Lieutenant Colonels, well, actually....maybe one.
In pursuit of the re-introduction of this capability, NATO kind- ly arranged CPP conferences in a summer sun soaked Krems in Austria and in a winter-sunny Sanremo on the Italian Rivieria where I met Gilles Dutertre, the lead prosecutor at the Interna- tional Criminal Court for the trial of Ahmad al Faqi al Mahdi who was sentenced to 9 years imprisonment for cultural prop- erty war crimes in Mali.
The Joint Military CPP Working Group, chaired by your report- er, has grown over the last two years from 6 members to over 20, with representation today from the three Services, NATO, aca- demia, the police, Government Departments and owners of cul- tural property such as the V&A Museum, the British Museum and the National Trust. This reflects a growing interest in what the Armed Forces are up to with CPP, leveraged on the all Party supporting passage through Parliament of the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill, which will ratify the Hague Convention (1954).
The media too have shown interest. Interviews were conducted with your reporter leading to a front page article in The Art Newspaper, a radio interview for BBC Radio 4’s Front Row show and an interview with the Press Association which led to an arti- cle in The Times, where I was reported to be hitting out at metal detectorists.....batten down the hatches.
Away from the heady heights of Westminster and the media, work has continued in the Concepts Branch at Army HQ. Pro-
London Lancers. City Veterans Network London Poppy Day Dinner 2016 at Hurlingham Club. From left Johnny Firth, Will Packard, Lawrence Whittingham, Lt Col Purbrick, Mark Cann, Hugo Ackerman
jects on Future Deception and Future Military Aid to the Civil Authority are working their way towards being written up as Analytical Concept papers.
As the Chief of the General’s Staff’s Strategic Foresight team, our Concepts Branch desk in Army HQ is close to the seat of ab- solute power in the headquarters. CGS’s outer office is not only an area where senior red tabs gather like preening Elizabethan courtiers to pay homage, to vie for crumbs of honours, promo- tions and postings, and to seek the favour of the Great Man, but it is also on my loo-break route. One day, as I weaved my way past the courtiers with not a little urgency, I was accosted by one of them known in the headquarters as the Silver Fox or, more of- ficially, the Army Inspector. If one has always wondered as to the role of the Army Inspector, I will now inform you. This august personage looked me up and down and snorted liberally at my mouldy green potato sack of a uniform, issued for patrolling in Helmand in 2011, and at my desert combat boots, also issued for the same purpose. It was obvious that I had incurred a severe amount of displeasure for my turnout but, in doing so, I came to understand immediately that the role of the Army Inspector is something to do with uniform inspections. Oh, and by the way, it turns out that the Army Inspector is our very own Colonel of the Regiment.
I was using a mate’s office in London District HQ and much admired the lengthy rack of medals on his Service dress. Much like soldiers in Berlin used to keep a packed bergen next to their desks for when the Russians crashed the Wall, members of HQ LONDIST keep a ‘5 mins NTM’ No 2 dress, leather and medals hanging in their offices. The final gong on my mate’s rack was the ‘TA turning up medal’ otherwise known as the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal. I noticed that he had a couple of bars on his VRSM. Turns out I was due a couple of bars, one of which General Everard kindly presented to me in his office at Field Army HQ shortly before his departure to DSACEUR. One more bar needs presenting and I am searching for a suitable presenter.
Gentlemen, there will be no more talk in this column of Personal Fitness Assessment times. I have fallen over the 9 minute hurdle and now run a full minute slower than the good ol’ BFT we used to do in boots and lightweights in Münster in the late 1980s, an era which, I rather fear, was before most of those serving in the crack cavalry unit today were even born!
  Lt Col TJGS Purbrick with Gilles Dutertre, senior prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, basking in Italian Riveria winter sunshine at a NATO summit in Sanremo

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