We were delighted to welcome former Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nicholas Houghton GCB, CBE, ADC Gen to our Association meeting, which was held recently.
General Sir Nicholas returned to his Yorkshire roots to speak to RFCA members about his career and his new role as the 160th Constable of the Tower of London, a position which puts him in charge of the Tower and with it the Crown Jewels, when the reigning Monarch is not in residence.
During a career spanning five decades Gen. Houghton began his military service with the Green Howards after completing an in-service degree at St Peter’s College, Oxford. He was a Company Commander in, and Commanding Officer of, the 1st Battalion, The Green Howards in the Mechanised and Air Mobile Roles and in Northern Ireland before being promoted to Brigadier and then Major General in 1996 and 2002 respectively.
He was made Chief of Staff of the Allied Forces Rapid Reaction Corps before taking up the post of Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Operations) in 2004. By 2006 he was Chief of Joint Operations at the Permanent Joint Headquarters (UK), before being promoted to General and appointed Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff in 2009.
General Houghton took over as Chief of the Defence Staff in 2013 with one of his key objectives being to reshape the Armed Forces in the post-Afghanistan era. After his retirement from service General Houghton was made Constable of the Tower of London, an appointment he says is like ‘bookending’ his career, after starting his military service in charge of a unit of 36, he’s now in charge of a unit of 37 Yeomen Warders.
Picture (left) shows (L-R) Brigadier David Hargreaves, Chairman RFCA YH, Andrew Coombe Esq., Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, General Sir Nicholas Houghton, Colonel Jason Wright, Chief Executive RFCA YH