THE Duke of Westminster has quit as highest ranking Territorial Army officer, saying his task of delivering changes to Britain’s reserve forces is complete.

Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, of Eaton Hall, a major general with more than 40 years of experience in the TA, came out of retirement to take up the post of Deputy Commander, Land Forces, last year.

He took forward the outcome of the Future Reserves 2020 Study commissioned by the Prime Minister.

Its aim was to align the reserves – covering Army, Navy and RAF – to a new strategic defence policy, ensuring they were correctly structured, supported and resourced.

The 60-year-old duke said: “I have served in the Reserves for more than 40 years and, while I was due to have retired next spring, I have decided to retire earlier, because as far as I am concerned the strategic job is done and I have achieved what I wanted to achieve.

“The work to implement the Future Reserves 2020 report is now well under way, the positive changes are already being felt across the Army Reserves and there is more good news to come.

“The announcement of Army 2020 in the summer by the Secretary of State further cements those changes and, indeed, will develop them further. So, with the strategic conditions now set, the time is right for someone else to continue the work.”

The duke said having more time would allow him to concentrate on leading the fundraising campaign to turn Stanford Hall, the stately home he bought near Loughborough, into the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre for wounded soldiers.

He will donate the stately home if the necessary consents are gained and make a substantial donation, having already funded the feasibility study and the planning process.