Sponsored by RFCA Wales, the Major General addressed the Club, shouting out his old captain and mentor Brigadier Jock Fraser as he retires this summer, before fittingly highlighting his lecture’s theme of legacy.

Promising to talk with no agenda or spin, but using the occasion to tell stories, kindle relationships and rest, the Major General began by discussing the broad strategic context of the Navy’s current work, touching on the UK’s support to Ukraine, the rise of China, politics, and the situation in Gaza, which he highlighted as the most worrying and important issue right now following Israel’s actions over the weekend.

He then moved to discuss what the Navy is doing right now, thanks to taxpayers’ money. He discussed the SSBN in the North Atlantic, a recent £44m drug bust, and the naval support for Ukraine. Having been involved since day one, he stated: “It will get worse before it gets better. If Ukraine lose, we all lose.”

The Major General then proceeded to look forward, highlighting the importance of young servicepeople and the confidence he has in them, but acknowledging that old systems need to be changed to be bolder, more creative, and take more risks. However, whatever they do to change the approach must maintain the key driving force of being in service to the nation, as that is what the Navy is intrinsically built on.

Touching on the Navy in Wales, he stated that they recruit twice as many marines and sailors from Wales than the wider population, and that those recruits serve for longer than average. They then almost always return to Wales after service, with the right traits to support business growth. He mentioned the HMS Cardiff which will be fully operational later this decade, and the Ministry of Defence’s investment into Cardiff and across Wales.

Lt Colonel (Retired) Craig Hampton-Stone, Director at Cardiff Bus, gave the vote of thanks, before he, Major General Duncan G Forbes and Phil Jardine, Chair of Cardiff Business Club, signed the Armed Forces Covenant.

The Covenant is a voluntary pledge made by businesses, designed to allow organisations to express their support the armed forces community and commit to ways in which they can provide it. All Covenants have to be approved and registered with the MOD Armed Forces Covenant Team.

Phil said: “We’re so pleased to have signed the covenant, especially alongside such a decorated guest as Major General Duncan G Forbes. Formalising our recognition and appreciation for the armed forces was an easy decision, and we’re pleased to have taken the step alongside Cardiff Bus.”