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Defence Secretary pays tribute to Sapper Moralee

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond released a tribute to Sapper Adam Moralee, from Newcastle, who is the first soldier to be killed in Afghanistan in 2014.

He said: "It is clear from the tributes paid to Sapper Moralee that he was a determined and respected soldier who was good-humoured, trustworthy and considerate.

"His untimely death is a tragedy and my thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his family, fiancee and friends at this difficult time."

Air Vice-Marshal promotion for Newcastle graduate

A female RAF officer with a degree from Newcastle Polytechnic has been appointed Air Vice Marshal, the most senior position held by a regular serving woman.

Sue Gray, 50, is the second female two-star officer after she was appointed director of combat air at Defence Equipment and Support.

Air Vice-Marshal Gray joined the RAF in 1985, she was commissioned into the Engineer Branch and later deployed to Iraq in the First Gulf War in 1991, and on Operation Telic in 2003 when she was chief engineer for the Joint Helicopter Force.

She will now be responsible for the procurement and maintenance of all combat aircraft, training aircraft and remotely piloted air systems for the armed forces.

"It is an immense privilege to have served my country for the last 28 years in the RAF and I am delighted to continue to do this in my new role as director of combat air.

"I look forward to the challenges of ensuring the UK stays at the cutting edge of combat air power, delivering world-class fast jet training aircraft and remotely piloted air systems to our armed forces."

– Air Vice-Marshal Gray

"Sue Gray's promotion to the rank of Air Vice-Marshal is thoroughly well deserved; I wish her every success in her challenging role within Defence Equipment and Support.

"Her promotion, along with that of her colleague, Air Vice-Marshal Elaine West, announced earlier this year, is a tangible demonstration that the RAF provides rewarding careers for our diverse population of professional military personnel and that we realise the potential in our best and brightest people."

– Head of RAF personnel Air Marshal Baz North

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Troops attend thanksgiving at York Minster

Members of the 4th Mechanised Brigade at York Minster Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Troops who have just returned from Afghanistan have been attending a thanksgiving service at York Minster.

Troops gathering outside York Minster ahead of the ceremony Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu and the Forces Minister Andrew Robathan MP joined hundreds of armed forces personnel who have recently returned home from service.

Hundreds of soldiers turned out for a thanksgiving service Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The 4th Mechanised Brigade lost nine soldiers during their six month tour of Helmand Province.

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11,000 troops based in Germany to return home by 2016

  • Around 11,000 British troops based in Germany will return home by 2016
  • Nearly £2 billion will be invested in Army housing and bases
  • The remaining 4,500 troops will be back in the UK by 2019, a year earlier than planned
  • Around £1 billion of the funding being announced today will be go towards 1,900 new houses for service families and accommodation for 7,800 single soldiers
  • Another £800 million will be spent on infrastructure and refurbishment of bases
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UK to withdraw 11,000 troops from Germany by 2016

Prince Philip meets British troops at Fallingbostel in Germany in 2011. Credit: PA

Around 11,000 British troops based in Germany will return home by 2016 under plans which will see nearly £2 billion invested in Army housing and bases, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond will announce today.

Under the speeded-up withdrawal, the remaining 4,500 troops will be back in the UK by 2019, a year earlier than planned.

Around £1bn of the funding being announced today will go towards 1,900 new houses for service families and accommodation for 7,800 single soldiers.

Another £800 million will be spent on infrastructure and refurbishment of bases.

The Government hopes the plans will mean more cash is ploughed back into the British, rather than German, economy as well as creating new construction jobs in the UK.

Savings of around £240 million a year are also expected to be made through reductions in operating costs.

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Hammond to announce future of German army bases

An overhaul of military bases will be announced later today. Credit: Press Association

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond will unveil his plans for a large scale withdrawal of UK troops from Germany later today.

The 15,000-strong British Army of the Rhine has been in Germany since 1945 and was due to return by 2020.

The Daily Express is reporting that the majority of soldiers will be withdrawn by 2016, with the last 4,500 due back in 2019.

Another 17,000 MoD employees will come back over the same period.

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