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A FORMER British Army major general from Wilcot, near Pewsey, has died while …

A FORMER British Army major general from Wilcot, near Pewsey, has died while swimming off the coast of Tuscany. George Michael Swindells, 85, apparently drowned while he was on holiday with his wife Prudence. Mr Swindells went for a swim off the island off the island of Elba, Tuscany, at about 3.30pm but didn t return.

Mrs Swindells called for help after her husband disappeared in the water off the seaside town Marina di Campo, in front of their accommodation at the Hotel Monticristo. Two German tourists and a passing policeman dragged him from the water but resuscitation attempts on the beach failed, local newspaper reports said. It is believed Mr Swindells was visiting the island with his wife and friends.

Rescue volunteers from the Red Cross tried unsuccessfully to revive him and he was pronounced dead when his body was brought back to the shore. Mr Swindells served in the cavalry regiment 9th and 12th Royal Lancers. Reports in Italy said the Army veteran may have suffered a medical episode in the water and drowned around 100 metres from land.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We can confirm the death of a British national in Elba on October 13. We are providing assistance to the family.”

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Mr Swindells was born in Cheshire on January 15, 1930. He was educated at Rugby School, called up for National Service in 1948 and commissioned into the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, then stationed in Germany in 1949. On release he spent a short time in the textile industry but when the Skins were warned for service in Korea he rejoined and sailed with the Regiment in the MV Georgic arriving at Pusan in early December 1951. As a lieutenant he commanded a troop of four tanks deployed with, and in support of, British and Australian Infantry Battalions of the Commonwealth Division.

The regiment handed over to the 1st Royal Tank Regiment in December 1952 and spent a further year on active service based at Shandur on the Suez canal before returning to the United Kingdom in 1954. He was adjutant of the Cheshire Yeomanry from 1954 to 1957, attended the Staff College in 1960 and subsequently served with the Skins in Germany, Aden and Cyprus and in staff appointments in Singapore, Brunei and back in Germany as Brigade Major 7th Armoured Brigade. In 1969 he was appointed to command the 9th/12th Royal Lancers after which he served on the directing staff at the Army Staff College Camberley, commanded 11th Armoured Brigade with its headquarters at Minden in Germany and attended the Royal College of Defence Studies.

On promotion to the rank of major general, he served as Chief of the Joint Services Liaison Organisation in Bonn from 1980 to 1982 and in a Joint Service post in the Defence Intelligence Staff until his retirement from active service in 1985.

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He was Controller of the Army Benevolent Fund from 1987 until 1998 and during this time was also Colonel of the 9th/12th Lancers 1990 – 1995 and National Chairman of the British Limbless Ex-Service Men s Association 1991 – 1996.

He joined the South London Branch of the British Korean Veterans Association when serving at the Ministry of Defence in 1984. In 1998, he was invited to become President of the recently formed Swindon Branch.

Former British Army major general dies while swimming off Tuscany (From This Is Wiltshire)

Breaking news George Swindells, from Wilcot, was on holiday at Hotel Monticristo, Elba, at time of tragedy

Updated 1:59pm Thursday 15th October 2015 in By Patrick McLean, Devizes reporter[1]

Former British Army Major General Dies While Swimming Off Tuscany (From This Is Wiltshire) George Swindells

A FORMER British Army major general from Wilcot, near Pewsey, has died while swimming off the coast of Tuscany. George Michael Swindells, 85, apparently drowned while he was on holiday with his wife Prudence. Mr Swindells went for a swim off the island off the island of Elba, Tuscany, at about 3.30pm but didn t return.

Mrs Swindells called for help after her husband disappeared in the water off the seaside town Marina di Campo, in front of their accommodation at the Hotel Monticristo. Two German tourists and a passing policeman dragged him from the water but resuscitation attempts on the beach failed, local newspaper reports said. It is believed Mr Swindells was visiting the island with his wife and friends.

Rescue volunteers from the Red Cross tried unsuccessfully to revive him and he was pronounced dead when his body was brought back to the shore. Mr Swindells served in the cavalry regiment 9th and 12th Royal Lancers. Reports in Italy said the Army veteran may have suffered a medical episode in the water and drowned around 100 metres from land.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We can confirm the death of a British national in Elba on October 13. We are providing assistance to the family.”

Mr Swindells was born in Cheshire on January 15, 1930. He was educated at Rugby School, called up for National Service in 1948 and commissioned into the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, then stationed in Germany in 1949. On release he spent a short time in the textile industry but when the Skins were warned for service in Korea he rejoined and sailed with the Regiment in the MV Georgic arriving at Pusan in early December 1951. As a lieutenant he commanded a troop of four tanks deployed with, and in support of, British and Australian Infantry Battalions of the Commonwealth Division.

The regiment handed over to the 1st Royal Tank Regiment in December 1952 and spent a further year on active service based at Shandur on the Suez canal before returning to the United Kingdom in 1954. He was adjutant of the Cheshire Yeomanry from 1954 to 1957, attended the Staff College in 1960 and subsequently served with the Skins in Germany, Aden and Cyprus and in staff appointments in Singapore, Brunei and back in Germany as Brigade Major 7th Armoured Brigade. In 1969 he was appointed to command the 9th/12th Royal Lancers after which he served on the directing staff at the Army Staff College Camberley, commanded 11th Armoured Brigade with its headquarters at Minden in Germany and attended the Royal College of Defence Studies.

On promotion to the rank of major general, he served as Chief of the Joint Services Liaison Organisation in Bonn from 1980 to 1982 and in a Joint Service post in the Defence Intelligence Staff until his retirement from active service in 1985. He was Controller of the Army Benevolent Fund from 1987 until 1998 and during this time was also Colonel of the 9th/12th Lancers 1990 – 1995 and National Chairman of the British Limbless Ex-Service Men s Association 1991 – 1996. He joined the South London Branch of the British Korean Veterans Association when serving at the Ministry of Defence in 1984. In 1998, he was invited to become President of the recently formed Swindon Branch.

References

  1. ^ By Patrick McLean (www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk)

Home comforts in Patrol Base Clifton The Official British Army Blog

Home comforts in Patrol Base Clifton 3 December 2012 by britisharmy Lance Corporal Hylands at PB Clifton LCpl James Hylands (39), from Shaw, Oldham is a TA soldier who is currently serving with 8 Troop, 73 Armoured Engineer Squadron (AES) on Operation HERRICK 17. He deployed along with the rest of 21 Engineer Regiment (21 Engr Regt) as part of Task Force Helmand Engineer Group, at the beginning of September 2012. Whilst on tour the squadron is know as Engineer Close Support Squadron 1, which covers the northern areas of operation of Task Force Helmand (TFH).

Change of scenery The troop requirements at Patrol Base (PB) Clifton have taken a different turn of direction within the last week. Task requirements from further afield in Helmand have been made, and the original group of 28 men has now been reduced to ten to continue with PB jobs. For some members this will be a look at life in other Check Points (CPs)/PBs, and a change of scenery, which will break the monotony up of a six-month tour nicely, for others it will be the challenge of a new task albeit in a new location.

Certainly up to Christmas it looks like troop movement to other areas will be happening, some members have been ear-marked for larger projects taking them into 2013 before we will see them again, they have already packed and gone. PB life is a mixed bag of events to be honest; you have to experience it to appreciate the effects it can have. The full spectrum of emotions which humans display are touched in one way or another, from the highs of completing a task or being a dangerous environment to the lows of missing friends and family at home, all are experienced from one day to another here.

The sight of poverty in the surrounding areas is evident and it often reminds you how lucky we are back home, essential basics and sanitation to locals are in denial but life just continues as normal. Life and luxuries As a quick insight into PB life, the run of the mill pace of life we have (excluding large tasks and projects) the days normally starts around 6.30am. Your own physical training is the norm most mornings, which lasts around 45 minutes followed by a shave and shower.

The shower facilities consist of a tent with shower heads dotted around inside it. Water is pumped from a bore hole well (deep in the ground) through a series of filter units (Stella meta units) into two 5000 litre water holding tanks (pillow tanks), from here it is feed into a kerosene heater which provides heat to the water. Outside the shower areas, directly to one side is the wash sinks.

These are like large trough tubs with a number of taps attached providing warm water, it s clean enough to drink but people choose not to. Warm showers are a luxury. The site has been winterised so is covered by large aggregate to aid in drainage, this in its self is a struggle to walk in from one area to another and can only be compared to walking in deep snow back home.

The accommodation on camp consists of a row of ten-man tents located behind a series of blast walls; these provide ample room for cot beds which come complete with fly nets surrounding them. The floor is a plastic based surface which sits about 25mm high consisting of a flat surface with slots on top followed by a honey comb base underneath, this design in its self keeps it clean and any dust on the surface clears away quickly. Home comforts a proper toilet seat.

Electricity is supplied on site through mobile units 415v, 240v and 110v is available so electrical products can be used and charged up for personal use in the accommodation areas. Toilet facilities are in the form of a wooden hut complete with a toilet seat inside; a chemical type bag is presented over the top of it which is later disposed of in a burn pit once used. A desert rose (urinal) is used frequently which is a deep hole with a drainpipe embedded in it, to which wriggly tin roof sheets are used as a urinal draining away into the pipe, this in itself is adequate and clean enough for the usage it gets.

The cookhouse Finally the cookhouse which co-incidentally is the lad s favourite place is a tent housing a choice of food served daily on paper plates with vacuum packed sealed cutlery provided with every meal. Served three times per day there is plenty of choice and the standards are similar to a good hotel back home. I hope this has shown a light on the way we live until next time.

Read about James here: Lance Corporal James Hyland

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Home comforts in Patrol Base Clifton The Official British Army Blog