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New Vice Chairman of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

01 July 2013

Air Chief Marshal Sir Joe French KCB CBE has been appointed as Vice Chairman of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission with effect from 1 July 2013 - succeeding Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin KCB CBE on the completion of his term. Sir Alistair is retiring after two years as Vice Chairman, having previously been a Commissioner since 2005. He is succeeded as the Army Member of the Commission by Lieutenant General Sir William Rollo KCB CBE. 

Air Chief Marshal Sir Joe French KCB CBE has been a member of the Commission since 2008 and was formerly the RAF's Commander-in-Chief Strike Command. Commenting on his appointment, Sir Joe said: "As a Commissioner, I have had an opportunity to see first-hand the remarkable work the Commonwealth War Graves Commission does to commemorate those who died in the two world wars." 

"I look forward to continuing the fine work of my predecessors, and to working with the Commission's staff around the world, as we seek to maintain our cemeteries, memorials and records to the highest possible standards, while engaging new generations in the ongoing importance of remembrance." 

Sir Joe had a distinguished career in the Royal Air Force, until his retirement in June 2007. His operational background was flying helicopters, serving in Sharjah, Hong Kong, Germany and the United Kingdom. Operational deployments included Northern Ireland, Belize, the Falkland Islands and the Gulf. Following attendance at the Royal College for Defence studies in 1992 he spent 11 years in the Ministry of Defence dealing with the many major change programmes during that period. His final tour was as Commander-in-Chief Strike Command, responsible for all the RAF's operational forces including deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.