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Former head of the Armed Forces Lord Bramall dies at 95

The decorated war veteran took part in the Normandy landings in June 1944 and was chief of the defence staff in 1982 until 1985.

Lord Bramall, a former head of the Army (Tony Harris/PA)
Lord Bramall, a former head of the Army (Tony Harris/PA)

By Emma Bowden and Jess Glass, PA

Lord Bramall, a former head of the Armed Forces and a D-Day veteran, has died at the age of 95.

Field Marshal Edwin Noel Westby Bramall, an Eton graduate, served in nearly all major UK military campaigns between the Second World War and 1985, when he retired from the military.

The decorated war veteran took part in the Normandy landings in June 1944 and was made chief of the defence staff in 1982.

He went on to have a 26-year career in the House of Lords, retiring in 2013.

The later years of his life were dominated by false allegations he was involved in a VIP paedophile ring, as one of a number of high-profile people who were falsely accused by fantasist Carl Beech – known as “Nick”.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick personally apologised to Lord Bramall for the “great damage” the force’s investigation caused to him and his family.

He was a great man, a brilliant soldier and leader, and much-loved family man Cressida Dick

Beech was given an 18-year prison sentence earlier this year for falsely claiming that he had been sadistically abused by figures from the worlds of politics, the Armed Forces and security services.

Lord Bramall’s home was raided by up to 20 officers in March 2015 while he had breakfast with Lady Bramall, who died before he was cleared of any misconduct.

He was questioned by police in connection with the controversial Operation Midland.

When it emerged he would face no action in 2016, then London mayor Boris Johnson said: “It is pretty clear that Field Marshal Lord Bramall is owed a full and heartfelt apology.”

Following reports of his death on Tuesday, Ms Dick said: “I met him recently to apologise personally for the great damage the Metropolitan Police investigation into Carl Beech’s false allegations has had on him and his family.

“I was struck by his selflessness and generosity in the issues he wanted to discuss, focusing on a desire to ensure the lessons from Operation Midland had been learnt by the Met.

“It was very humbling to be in his company and hear first hand his experience.

“He was a great man, a brilliant soldier and leader, and much-loved family man. He was a true gentleman and will be hugely missed.”

Daniel Janner QC, whose father the late Lord Janner was also falsely accused by Beech, said in a statement: “It is a tragedy that Lord Bramall had to face the indignity of an unlawful police search and to fight this filth in his old age.

“It is a sadness to my family that my late father died before he had the chance to do so.”

Lord Bramall served as the president of the historic Marylebone Cricket Club in 1988 and was made an honorary life president of the Lord’s cricket ground-based club in 1997.

Former defence minister Tobias Ellwood paid tribute to Lord Bramall on Twitter.

He wrote: “An inspirational leader, fellow Green Jacket and mentor who landed on the Normandy beaches, received an MC in Holland a year later, served in our Special Forces, commanded the British Army and then the entire Armed Forces.”

Lord Bramall lived at Bulford Manor in Wiltshire during his time as head of the army with his wife Lady Bramall, who died in 2015.

The pair, who married in 1949, had two children.

PA

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