The Military Army Blog


Idyllic Fermanagh childhood led to lifelong interest in land

The Duke of Westminster who has died at the age of 64, had alway fondly recalled his idyllic childhood in Fermanagh.
His death in the Royal Preston Hospital, Lancashire on Tuesday after becoming ill on his Abbeystead Estate has brought tributes from the people he grew up with in Fermanagh to politicians and leaders.
The Duke of Westminster had many happy memories of his childhood in Fermanagh, where he would have spent a lot of his time on Lough Erne or in the countryside close to the Ely Lodge estate the family owned. His sisters, Lady Leonora and Lady Jane are regular visitors to Fermanagh.
In an interview for The Impartial Reporter a number of years ago, the Duke spoke fondly of his time here and the people with home he regarded as his best friends.
I suppose one s endearing memory was the most perfect childhood one could ever have. It had all the ingredients of the excitement on the lough, living with nature, the outdoor life and a lot of very good friends and living in a close community like that we make good friends and we had a lot of fun together.
He recalled attending Gloucester House before going on to Harrow.
I was going to go to the Regular Army but couldn t because my father was ill and then really started into the running of this(Grosvenor Estates) well before I inherited you see. So I had all the fun and none of the responsibility and then my father died and I had none of the fun and all the responsibility.
His mother, the Dowager, Duchess of Westminster died in 1987 following a car crash.
The Duke of Westminster built up Grosvenor Farms in Cheshire, pioneering a dairy breeding project, Cogent, and also expanded urban property interests to America, Australia, Spain, Hong Kong, Portugal and France as well as retaining those already established in the United Kingdom, mainly London.
He recalled being President or Patron of 150 organisations as well as holding the position of Deputy Commander of the Territorial Army.
One of the people that the Duke knew well locally was Wesley Scott from Monea, who was gamekeeper at Ely Lodge Estate while the Duke was growing up there.
Wesley said; Lady Jane(the Duke s sister) phoned me on Tuesday night to tell me. We are in touch very often. I was gutted when I heard the news.
Recalling his years on the estate, Wesley said: They were a terrific family. From boyhood, he(Duke) was at my tail, shooting and fishing. He was a born sportsman and he was one of the nicest men I ve ever met. I last saw him at the Earl of Erne s memorial service along with his sisters.
The Westminster family had strong links with Devenish Parish Church, Monea.
The Duke of Westminster, regarded as one of the richest people in the UK, is now succeeded by his only son, Hugh, aged 25. He and the Duchess had three daughters, Tamara, Edwina and Viola.
A spokesperson for the family, announcing the news of his death said: His family are all aware and they ask for privacy and understanding at this very difficult time.
No further comment will be made for the time being but further information will follow in due course.
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: I can confirm that Her Majesty the Queen is aware of the news about the Duke of Westminster.
A private message of condolence is being sent by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were said to be deeply shocked and greatly saddened by his death.
The First Minister, Arlene Foster, paid tribute to the Duke of Westminster.
She said: I was deeply saddened to hear about the death of Gerald Grosvenor, the 6th Duke of Westminster, suddenly in hospital in England. The Grosvenor family had of course very strong links to Fermanagh and the young Duke was brought up at the family home at Ely Lodge, Enniskillen, somewhere he once described as idyllic.
The Duke never lost his attachment for his childhood home and the last time I spoke with him was at the memorial service for the Earl of Erne in Enniskillen Cathedral in May of this year.
The Duke of Westminster may have been a very rich person but he used his fortune for good in many areas of London and beyond. He was above all a man of the country and loved farming, something that is obviously linked back to his upbringing here in rural Fermanagh.
His untimely death at the age of just 64 will of course be felt most keenly by his family, and I send them my deepest condolences, but he will also be mourned in Fermanagh where he will always be remembered with great affection.
Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP, Tom Elliott expressed his sadness at the news.
He commented: I was shocked to learn of the death of the Duke of Westminster at only 64 years of age. Indeed, the Grosvenor family was of great significance to County Fermanagh. The Duke was born in Omagh, and was raised on an island in the middle of Lough Erne. Indeed I received my post primary education at the Duke of Westminster High School in Fermanagh. His father, the 5th Duke of Westminster, Lord Robert Grosvenor was elected as MP twice for Fermanagh and South Tyrone before retiring in 1964. His son, Gerald joined the British Army and became a Major General, just one example of his hard work throughout his life.
He owned vast areas of land across the United Kingdom and was recognised by Forbes Magazine because of this. The Duke of Westminster was a proud Fermanagh man and his loss comes as a great blow to this constituency. I would like to pass on my sympathies to his entire family circle at this difficult time.
Ulster Unionist MLA, Rosemary Barton joined her colleague, Tom Elliott MP in expressing her sadness at the passing of the Duke of Westminster.
Mrs Barton stated: I was saddened to learn of the passing of the Duke of Westminster. He was held in high esteem in Fermanagh where he and his sisters spent their childhood at Ely Lodge a few miles from Enniskillen.
Many people will have vivid memories of the Grosvenor family growing up in the county and playing with the late Duke when he returned home from school for the summer vacation.
Returning to live in England, the Duke of Westminster became one of the most financially successful people in the United Kingdom.
The late Duke still has a large number of family connections in both Fermanagh and Tyrone and I wish to extend my sympathies to the family as they mourn the loss of a great man.

Furness doctor wants more support to combat rising stress levels in GP staff

A LEADING doctor has called for more to be done to reduce the pressure on GP staff after a survey found that almost 90 per cent of people who work in surgeries find their work stressful. Mental health charity, Mind, found that a staggering amount of family doctors, practice nurses and reception staff felt stressed in the workplace, with 10 per cent admitting to having suicidal thoughts. Dr Arabella Onslow, deputy lead GP for Furness on Cumbria’s Clinical Commissioning Group, believes that people need to be aware of the stress that GP staff are often under.

She said: “I know from some of my colleagues that the workload has changed from treating people to doing a lot of paperwork and that can be quite overwhelming.

“Getting that work-life balance outside of the surgery can be really hard and I understand that people are aggravated and not listened to in the workplace.”

“Doctors find it hard to ask for help and there needs to be more support available to make your work more manageable. Too many people assume that doctors can cope when the reality is that they can’t.”

The survey interviewed 1,000 GP staff across the UK, with many of those citing work as the most stressful area of their lives ahead of finance, health and relationships. More than 40 per cent of those who were surveyed said that they had considered resigning as a result of work-induced stress. However, Dr Onslow thinks that stress in the workplace is not solely linked to GP staff and that other workers in different professions are also suffering. She said: “It’s not to do with being a GP, I just think that as a society we need to become more resilient.

“However, in order to achieve that we need to invest in more support and making sure that we don’t displace each other. We are always in competition with each other and there needs to be a more collaborative effort, particularly between different section of the NHS.”

GP leaders across the the country claim that the survey shows that staff are being overworked and warn this could have a detrimental effect on patients.

Dr Maureen Baker, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The current state of general practice is pushing GPs to their limit, and a service that relies on sick and fatigued GPs is not good for patient safety.”

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the GP committee at the British Medical Association, said: “This poll reinforces that GPs and their staff are under unsustainable pressure because they are having to work long, intense hours on dwindling resources against a backdrop of rocketing patient demand.”


Cyber war: British army goes high-tech with futuristic drones and VR headsets

The British Armyrats © military is looking to embrace future technologies with open arms, as it s planning to invest some 800 million pounds ($1.03 billion) in speculative technologies including insect-sized drones, laser firearms, and virtual reality goggles. Students and industry participants will be allowed to pitch their ideas to the new Innovation and Research Insights Unit (IRIS) which will be responsible for doling out the development fund. The idea with this new division appears to be to experiment and take more risks with what sort of technology the Armyrats © military approves for testing and ultimately usage.

This new approach will help to keep Britain safe while supporting our economy with our brightest brains keeping us ahead of our adversaries, said defense secretary Michael Fallon. Some of the specific technologies that the U.K. is said to be looking to explore include micro-drones that could be used to investigate incident zones like chemical spills and natural disasters, as well as sensors which utilize gravity to provide maps of underground structures (as per Ars[1]), which could have a big impact when hunting for hidden enemies.

Related: Here s how the UK is using VR to train Armyrats © military medics before they hit the battlefield[2]

Virtual reality technology for calling in simulated air strikes is also being considered, as is laser weaponry. We aren t quite talking Covenant plasma rifles, but more like the high-intensity laser weapons that have been used elsewhere to disrupt aircraft and missiles. To give this some context, the U.S. has allocated $4.61 billion for drone-related spending in the FY17 budget proposal, so considering this investment is to take place over the next 10 years, the British spending is far smaller. However, considering the overall Armyrats © military budget of the U.K. is also 12 times less than that of the U.S., $1.03 billion in investment in future technologies is nothing to sniff at. The budget will be allocated as and when the new IRIS initiative decides, and will extend to investment in infrastructure, challenges, demonstrations and communications platforms to aid development. This will take place as part of the Ministry of Defense s (MoD) accelerator program, which the MoD is currently seeking feedback on. Members of industry, academic institutions and the general public are all encouraged to provide their thoughts.

If you d like to provide your input to the MoD, you can sign up here[3].

Please enable Javascript to watch this video


  1. ^ Ars (
  2. ^ Here s how the UK is using VR to train Armyrats © military medics before they hit the battlefield (
  3. ^ you can sign up here (
1 2 3 447