Defence in the media: 13 March 2017

Top defence stories today include coverage of Scottish soldiers on exercise in Kenya and the withdrawal of the e-bluey service at the end of the month.

British Army Training Unit Kenya

A number of newspapers report on a recent visit to the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) organised by the Army to showcase The Royal Highland Fusiliers on Exercise Askari Storm.

The Daily Record, ScotsmanHerald and Daily Star all report that almost 900 soldiers are involved in the annual exercise and the Fusiliers are using the exercise to prepare for forthcoming operational deployments to Africa and the Middle East.

Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Graeme Wearmouth is quoted saying “It’s a chance to put everything that we’ve learnt, everything that we’ve trained for, into practice”.

Minister for the Armed Forces, Mike Penning said:

This training is the latest example of the UK’s presence in Africa. Britain’s armed forces are stepping up globally to tackle international threats that put Britain at risk – ensuring stability across the world and helping to deliver security at home.


The Sun and the Daily Mirror both report that the MOD is withdrawing the e-bluey service on the 31 March. The Mirror quotes inventor Brigadier Barry Cash as saying ‘this is a sad, short-sighted decision’ as the ‘much loved’ password protected e-blueys kept the armed forces in touch with home while serving far away.

In a leader in The Sun, the paper argues that the £1million saving is ‘not worth removing the comfort and reassurance e-blueys offer British troops risking their lives abroad.

An MOD spokesperson said:

The welfare of our people is very important to us and we’re committed to making sure they can keep in touch with their families and friends. That is why we’re updating the service and reinvesting e-bluey funds into ways of communicating more suited to our modern Armed Forces.

Image of the day

Borobi The Official Commonwealth Mascot stands with the Queens Guard at Buckingham Palace.
On the Forecourt of Buckingham Palace on Commonwealth Day The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh and The Earl of Wessex, launched The Queen's Baton Relay for the XXI Commonwealth Games. The Games will be held on the Australian Gold Coast from 4th-15th April 2018, Monday 13th March 2017. The Queen’s Baton Relay is a Games tradition that celebrates the Commonwealth’s diversity, inspires community pride and excites people about the world-class festival of sports and culture to come.
Sgt Rupert Frere RLC / MoD Crown

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