A distinguished Army veteran who has seen active service world-wide has been appointed as the new chairman of the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA) for Wales.

Brigadier Russ Wardle OBE DL, takes over the role of chairman from Captain Brian Thorne RD RNR, who retired in January due to ill-health after three years in post.

Brigadier Wardle said he was delighted and honoured to have been elected as chairman of the RFCA for Wales, coinciding as it did with the mobilisation of Reserves to support the fight against coronavirus.

“I have long been an admirer of the RFCA for Wales and its vital role linking military and civil communities in Wales. In the current climate it has an increasingly important role to play in conveying Defence messages to the general public, and supporting the significant numbers of Reservists who have been mobilised to support the fight against Covid-19,” he said.

“I look forward to playing my part in helping to get these messages out into the public domain and to raise awareness of the Association’s role as the enabling voice for Reserves and Cadets in Wales.”

Chief Executive of RFCA for Wales, Colonel Nick Beard TD DL, said he was delighted that Brigadier Wardle had accepted the invitation to become the Association’s new chairman.

“Many will recall that Brigadier Wardle was Commander 160 (Wales) Brigade and completed a distinguished Army career. Now retired and living near Caerphilly he runs a Cyber Security Consultancy which has been awarded the Defence Employer Recogition Scheme Gold Award. He brings with him considerable experience and very much looks forward to renewing his acquaintance with the many volunteer members of the Association.”

Colonel Beard paid tribute to outgoing chairman, Capt Brian Thorne, whose tenure had been dominated by the Project Cardiff build (HMS Cambria), the latest  ‘Review of RFCAs’ and a review of the membership of the Wales Board.

“His enthusiasm and pragmatic approach to everything to support the Reserves and Cadets was his hallmark achieving considerable success on the way,” added Colonel Beard, wishing Capt Thorne a full recovery to good health and a happy retirement.

Brigadier Wardle, a son of a Royal Marine, attended Sandhurst prior to serving in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment and the Royal Regiment of Wales. He served for 38 years retiring as a Brigadier.  He saw active service world-wide and was mentioned in Despatches in Northern Ireland for his actions as Incident Commander on the day of the Enniskillen Bombing in November 1987. He had taken over company command that day.

He was awarded an OBE for Command of 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Wales on operational tours in Bosnia and Kosovo. Latterly he commanded 160 (Wales) Brigade and then deployed to Iraq as Commander British Forces Iraq, and was the last British soldier to leave the country when the deployment ended in 2011.  He also served in a senior planning appointment with United States Central Command.

He is Honorary Colonel, 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh; Honorary Colonel, Dyfed and Glamorgan Army Cadet Force; a trustee of the Royal Welsh Regimental Museum and is also a Deputy Lieutenant of Gwent.

He is married to Jane, a nurse and the couple live in Bedwas. They have two grown-up children.

(Main pictures courtesy of Richard Bosworth)

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