COLONEL James Phillips has been appointed as the first Veterans’ Commissioner for Wales.
Col Phillips will be working to enhance the support for veterans in Wales, as well as scrutinising and advising on government policy for veterans.
The appointment means that all the devolved nations have a Veterans’ Commissioner, ensuring that the needs and contributions of veterans in Wales are represented alongside those of the other UK nations.
This will include helping to direct veterans and their families to local support available in areas such as healthcare and mental health provision, housing and employment, as well as assisting charities and advocating for the veteran community in Wales.
Col Phillips’ appointment comes as Wales celebrates St David’s Day, and as he recently completed his own transition to civilian life after 33 years in the rmy.
He served in Germany, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, and has commanded soldiers, sailors and air personnel and worked in NATO, MOD, Joint and Army Headquarters.
Col Phillips said: “As a veteran of more than 30 years’ service, I am very excited to be appointed as the first Veterans’ Commissioner for Wales.
“The ex-forces community forms an important part of Welsh society and there is a long tradition of service and sacrifice.
“I will utilise my experience and position to improve the lives of all veterans and their families.”
Secretary of state for Wales Simon Hart said: “The armed forces have a long and important tradition in Wales and we are exceptionally proud of our Welsh veterans.
“Our ex-servicemen and women and their families deserve recognition, support and respect throughout the duration of their service and beyond.
“The appointment of a Veterans’ Commissioner for Wales will increase and coordinate the support available and highlights the UK Government’s commitment to the welfare of the men and women who serve in our armed forces.
“I am delighted that we could make this hugely important announcement on St David’s Day.”
And Welsh Government deputy minister for social partnership, Hannah Blythyn said: “Wales provides a wide range of support for veterans – from NHS Veterans Wales to our Armed Forces Liaison Officers – and we are committed to working with stakeholders to supporting all those who have served.
“The Veterans’ Commissioner for Wales is a UK Government appointment. We look forward to working with Colonel James Phillips as part of our commitment to veterans across Wales.”