The British Army’s 1st (United Kingdom) Division is to be led by a French Brigadier General for the second time in its history.

Allied officers commanding the forces of other, allied nations is a common event. British officers have commanded French troops before.

The Army say that under the Lancaster House agreement of 2010, the French and British agreed to closer defence cooperation and have since built a strong relationship. There are a number of exchange officers on both sides of the Channel enhancing military interoperability.

According to the British Army here, Brigadier General Jean Laurentin today assumed command from Major General Charlie Collins DSO OBE until September when his permanent replacement arrives.

“He is stepping up from his role as Deputy Commander of 1st (UK) Division, mirroring the temporary appointment of Brigadier General Hervé Bizeul in similar circumstances five years ago – a first for the British Army. Under the Lancaster House agreement of 2010, the French and British agreed to closer defence cooperation and have since built a strong relationship. There are a number of exchange officers on both sides of the Channel enhancing military interoperability.”

Major General Collins was quoted as saying:

“It is symbolic of the enduring friendship and mutual trust between our two nations that my deputy commander Brigadier General Laurentin will take command of the 1st (United Kingdom) Division until a new General Officer is appointed. He has my full confidence as a proven commander and outstanding leader. The historical bond between the 1st (UK) Division and the 1re (French) Division continues to deepen and demonstrates a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force Land partnership that is stronger than ever.”

The Army added that “the British Army has two Divisions (about 25,000 soldiers each) with the 1st (UK) Division being formed in 1809”.

“Since the turn of the 20th Century, it has served in the world wars, the Gulf, Bosnia and Kosovo.  It currently has just over 1,000 troops deployed on operations and supporting other military commitments, including training roles, around the globe. It is the British Army’s most versatile force – light, agile, lethal and expeditionary. Active and effective at home and overseas. Trusted by defence and the nation as a multi-talented workforce with unique capabilities.​”

You can read more on this here.

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Sean
Sean
11 days ago

Cue someone complaining that the British Army is so under strength that we have to borrow commanders from allied nations… 😏

Mark B
Mark B
11 days ago
Reply to  Sean

…. or perhaps complaining we have too many we need to shed a division or two

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
10 days ago
Reply to  Sean

First time I have heard criticism that the army has too few Generals. The French officer is only doing a 3-month stint until the British officer is available – clearly he is doing some other job and cannot be extracted for a few months.

Sean
Sean
10 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Some people just don’t understand humour 🤦🏻‍♂️

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
8 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Sorry Sean! Must have had my ‘serious head’ on that day!

I am sure we will benefit from the knowledge about the vast experience of combat from the French Army!

Sean
Sean
8 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

“Serious head on that day”
Why would that have made a difference given that you appear to be talking out of your arse.

Only an idiot refuses the opportunity to benefit from anyone else’s experience.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
7 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Sean. Your comments about me are intemperate.
My comment was about how little combat experience the French Army has, except for Mali, but we have that experience already. You clearly disagree?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 days ago

A French commander? Not a problem, their military and ours are strong allies. A have a greater problem with the British Army saying we have 2 Divisions! It’s such a standard political comment that the unaware will swallow up, that hides the gaping holes. We might on paper, yes there are 2 divisional HQs with brigades beneath. Fine. But are these divisions deployable? A Division, from the Cold War era to 2010, had 3 proper brigades, with their own CS CSS, and the division will have had divisional level troops too, from AD to signals to EW to recc. We… Read more »

Bulkhead
Bulkhead
11 days ago

😎 Well said

Andrew D
Andrew D
10 days ago

👍

Joe16
Joe16
9 days ago

But Daniele, a golf bag makes it: “It is the British Army’s most versatile force”. How dare you suggest that their loose definition of versatile wouldn’t make it into a childrens’ dictionary?!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
9 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

😀

Angus
Angus
11 days ago

Too small and with no up to date equipment. Lets cut the wasting brass down a bit and spend it on those at the front line.

Something Different
Something Different
9 days ago
Reply to  Angus

There needs to be enough top commanders in place to ensure they can effectively manage their responsibilities. If Ajax was assigned a dedicated long term sponsor of flag rank to oversee the project perhaps we wouldn’t in the multi billion mess we’re in now. Flag officers are not that numerous nor do they collectively cost that much compared to the defence budget. However, if they’re overworked then they will make mistakes that costs lives and money far exceeding any benefits gained by reducing their numbers.

Angus
Angus
8 days ago

In part I agree, programmes do need top cover to ensure they go through as they should but make sure you ask for whats needed not whats desired. Top Brass all could be trimmed across the board, Did it in NATO and RN trimmed at HQ too and it’s all their hangers on that suck up the air. Worked in several large HQ’s and saw it first hand were juniors have more of a job than those up top. The Services are not just there to fight wars but to support the populous in times of real need and when… Read more »

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
10 days ago

The British Army has a Division??? hahaha 😂

Brad
Brad
10 days ago

His first question will be: “Why do your tanks have so few reverse gears?” 😏

OldSchool
OldSchool
10 days ago

Sacre bleu! Where are the white flags!

Oh we have them.

Zank God! I thought you Eenglish had non. Non!

We use them as table cloths.

But how do you surrender mon amee?

We don’t.

Sacre bleu!

Python15
Python15
10 days ago
Reply to  OldSchool

Maybe that’s why he’s here; to teach us how to surrender properly?

Nestor Makhno
Nestor Makhno
9 days ago
Reply to  Python15

1066?

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
5 days ago
Reply to  Nestor Makhno

Nearly a thousand years ago. Are you seriously saying look to 1066 to see the quality of France’s fighting men and women? I’d prefer 1940/1941 when France utterly capitulated. Then of course the 1st Vietnam war where French troops committed mass atrocities to try to put down an insurgency brought about by mass atrocities and led to a painful defeat that the USA thought to go and repeat. Mali….not exactly a success story. Too few troops committed by France. No clear objective. Now looking like a tactical withdrawal similar though not as embarrassing as our own withdrawal from Afghanistan. The… Read more »

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
10 days ago

Nationals always get on well together. It’s adding the suffix ‘politician’ that turns Jekyll into Hyde. 😒

Chris.
Chris.
10 days ago

The British army is more French than most people would believe! “soldier, officer, infantry, army, artillery, pistol, squadron, corps, reconnaissance, terrain, troop, logistics, bivouac, morale, sergeant, lieutenant, colonel, general” All French.

geoff
geoff
10 days ago
Reply to  Chris.

Esprit De Corps,Bivouac. Bombadier, Aide de Camps..

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
9 days ago
Reply to  geoff

The Grenadier Guards.

geoff
geoff
9 days ago

Of course! how could I forget😀

dan
dan
10 days ago

This can’t be good.

Something Different
Something Different
9 days ago
Reply to  dan

Why?

geoff
geoff
10 days ago

Anyone know what the statuette is and who is presenting to who? It appears to be a White Rhino which is indigenous to Southern Africa and was saved from extinction by the Natal Parks Board and men such as Dr. Ian Player whom I was lucky enough to go on trail with in Zululand. the name White rhino comes from one of two possible origins-the man who named them first saw a group that had been wallowing in white clay, or from the corruption of the Dutch/Afrikaans word “Wyd” meaning wide as in wide mouthed rhino. The white rhino is… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16
9 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Hi Geoff, I very well remember finding myself in my car in the Kruger, coming upon a gang of white rhinos- two of whom were having something of a shoving match about something or other! My wife wisely suggested I back up while I had the opportunity and then wait until they moved on, to avoid them flipping the car. The rhino is also apparently the emblem of the 1st (UK) Div, dating from its time as the 1st armoured division; as the first tank division in the army, they had their choice of emblems and the rhino was considered… Read more »

geoff
geoff
9 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Hi Joe-many thanks for the explanation. The White Rhino is generally regarded as mild tempered compared to his Black cousin although in the breeding season they can become very aggresive. My vehicle was given a ‘love tap’ by one in northern Zululand and I have walked in close proximity to them on many occasions. By contrast I have great respect for the Black Rhino who generally inhabits thick thorn bush so the only warning you get of a charge is the sound of breaking branches and an ominous rumble. Our group was charged by one on a wilderness trail in… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by geoff
Klonkie
Klonkie
8 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Hey Geoff. How are tricks?

Mate, your post has made me homesick. I shall now have to lift my spirits with biltong and a small glass (or two) of NZ Pinot Noir, being Friday pm.

geoff
geoff
8 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Howsit Klonkie! Uit die blou van onse hemel..”😆 All good my friend despite our most useless government. Doing lots of Flood repair work-we had it really bad here in Durban-worst floods ever with huge damage. Enjoy your dop and biltong! Nice to see our White Rhino along with “Commandos” and the RM playing Sarie Marais in the British military.
Cheers my friend

Last edited 8 days ago by geoff
James
James
10 days ago

Once again sucking up to the French , this endless Stockholm syndrome! The French use every opportunity to attack the UK economically and politically, and when they need something are all charming . Not s healthy friendship, it is a toxic relationship

Something Different
Something Different
9 days ago
Reply to  James

Wow, it’s amazing how some people complain about certain ethnic groups having a victim complex, but if people read this comment section then they’d know who are the ones dredging up the past…

James
James
9 days ago

What ethnic group is in question exactly?

Chris
Chris
9 days ago

Revised TO&E for each soldier:

  1. 1 x packet of cheese (choice of Gouda or Camembert)
  2. 1 x white flag, size 1m x 1m with pole (FFBNW)
  3. 1 x Monkey mask not visible in the infra red spectrum
Klonkie
Klonkie
8 days ago
Reply to  Chris

very good Chris – allow me to expand with some appallingly bad one- liners

Question: What is the difference between the French army and toast?
Answer: You can make soldiers out of toast

Question: Why did the French plant trees on the Champs-Élysées?
Answer: So the German’s can march in the shade.

Hat, coat door!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

😆

Chris
Chris
7 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Love it!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 days ago
Reply to  Chris

😆

Klonkie
Klonkie
7 days ago

very un pc of me, but all in good jest.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
5 days ago

The French MBT Leclerc has 1 forward gear. 3 reverse and a built in rapid deployment white flag dispenser.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 minutes ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Several good jokes. The serious point is to enquire what the French Army has actually done since ‘The Battle of Algiers’ 1954-1962. Very little except recent small scale actions in Mali, I think.