D-Day veteran and former British armed forces chief Field Marshal the Lord Bramall KG, GCB, OBE, MC, JP has died aged 95.
Born in 1923, Edwin Bramall was one of the United Kingdom’s most successful soldiers, beginning his military career as a junior officer in the Second World War and rising all the way to Chief of the General Staff and then Chief of the Defence Staff, and the rank of Field Marshal.
As well as the Second World War, he fought in the so-called Borneo confrontation; an undeclared war on Malaysia waged by Indonesian forces backed by the Soviet Union and other communist powers, and helped to plan the successful liberation of the Falkland Islands from Argentina.
“When you are old men, ” he told servicemen after that conflict was concluded successfully, “you will be able to say, as they said after Agincourt, after Alamein, after Arnhem: ‘I marched, and fought, and won the Falklands, and showed the incomparable quality of the British Army.’ ”
Despite his long and storied career of military service, however, the late Field Marshal was no war hawk, with The Times quoting him as having said: “War settles nothing. It may have its moments, it may bring out the best in some people, but, apart from the suffering it causes in human and economic terms, it usually creates more problems than it solves.”
Has @mrjamesob so far expressed any proper regret for his role in the Carl Beech affair? If not, oughtn't he to do so, especially since he wrote a book called 'How to be Right? Perhaps he could write a new one called 'How to be Wrong?', perhaps co-authored with Tom Watson?
— Peter Hitchens (@ClarkeMicah) October 7, 2019
Friends of the late Field Marshal believe his long life was cut short, however, by the police targeting him on the say-so of the infamous bogus informant Carl “Nick” Beech, a convicted child molester who made false claims that a number of high-profile figures including Bramall were involved in a VIP paedophile ring.
While senior political figures including the late Sir Edward Heath’s former chief whip have hinted that scandals “involving small boys” have been covered up in the past, Beech’s claims of a grand, state-level conspiracy proved completely unfounded, and he was given an 18-year prison term the deception earlier in 2019.
Prosecutors said Beech, whose own predatory past was not revealed to the public while the scandal was playing out in the national press, “derived sexual pleasure from graphically describing the violent sexual abuse of young boys” and “enjoyed the attention and celebrity” which his accusations provided.
Police were criticised for their heavy-handed and highly public pursuit of those Beech accused, with his testimony the only evidence of potential wrongdoing, with Field Marshal Bramall being subject to a massive 20-plus-officer raid on his home — later described as “illegal” — aged 91.
“He was deeply affected by these false allegations. When the police raided his house, his wife was there with him but she died not knowing he had nothing to do with the whole thing and that it was completely false,” commented one friend.
“It set him back tremendously. I personally think that it shortened his life.”
Police took almost two years to apologise to the elderly war hero for traducing his reputation, despite discovering that the allegations against him had been baseless fairly quickly.
Update: Tomorrow's Telegraph reports Lord Bramall felt pressured into signing the letter, too.
— Mark Wallace (@wallaceme) February 24, 2016
Field Marshal Bramall was also perturbed by then-Prime Minister David Cameron appending his name to a Government-written letter warning against Brexit ahead of the European Union referendum in 2016 and pressuring him into going along with it, later revealing that it was “not the kind of letter I would have originated myself”.
Another decorated veteran, former SAS commander General Sir Michael Rose, also had his name added to the letter, apparently without any foreknowledge at all, and had to ask for it to be retracted after it had already been published by the press — as he was, in fact, a Brexit supporter who believed “sovereignty and security are intrinsically linked, and in recent years we’ve seen the EU erode our sovereignty.”