Chief of Defence Staff on VJ Day 75th anniversary: "When we fight, we fight in alliance"

15 August 2020, 11:43

By Seán Hickey

The head of the British Armed Forces told LBC that unconventional thinking will become more and more crucial in the battlefields of the future.

General Sir Nicholas Carter is Chief of the Defence Staff and joined Matt Frei on the 75th anniversary of VJ Day - when the Japanese army surrendered effectively ending the Second World War.

Matt asked what today's armed forced could learn from the events of 75 years ago. Sir Nicholas told him that on VJ Day "leadership is a really important quality."

He told listeners that his military idol is Sir William Flynn who, with the "forgotten army" had brought together "what was a defeated army and turned it into a formidable fighting force which went on to defeat the Japanese and push them all the way back to Malaya."

This, he felt is a beautiful example of "how you get many nations to come together," adding that "that army had about 40 languages in it" and only 15% of the army were British.

What we learned from VJ day 75 years ago that in future "when we fight we will fight in alliance," Sir Nicholas noted.

Matt wondered if the forgotten army wore their moniker as a "badge of honour," to which the head of the Defence Forces insisted that it was a "defining call for them all."

Matt put across the argument that in post-Brexit Britain, a "strong, stable and well funded army," is crucial. He wondered "how tough are times," for the armed forces at the moment.

Sir Nicholas noted that the forces received £2.2 billion recently but more is needed. he added that it is "up to government to judge its ambition," and fund the forces accordingly.

The head of the Defence Forces added with the changing environment of security, he can see the armed forces "operate in conjunction with government," on a more regular basis than is seen now.

He added that "unconventional thinking," will be a massive asset in the forces in future. "Maverick thinking is important as the battlefield becomes more complex," he noted.

Listen to General Sir Nicholas Carter's full interview above.

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