Prince Philip was an 'inspiration and role model' to the Armed Forces

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Lucy Fisher
·2 min read
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Prince Philip armed forces - Caroline Seidel/DPA
Prince Philip armed forces - Caroline Seidel/DPA

The head of the Armed Forces has paid homage to the Duke of Edinburgh as a "great friend, inspiration and role model" to the services.

General Sir Nicholas Carter, the Chief of the Defence Staff, led military tributes to the senior royal Friday and said he would be "sorely missed".

"A life well lived, His Royal Highness leaves us with a legacy of indomitable spirit, steadfastness and an unshakeable sense of duty," Sir Nicholas said.

Highlighting the Duke’s 14 years of active service, including his courageous part in the Second World War, he added that the Duke remained "devoted" to the Royal Navy and wider military community throughout his life.

"His candour and his humour made many a serviceman and servicewoman chuckle on the countless visits that he made to the Armed Forces," the Chief of the Defence Staff recalled.

"He cared deeply about the values, standards and sense of service embodied in the military ethos. He was an immensely popular figure, and he was hugely respected by us all."

Sir Nicholas expressed gratitude on behalf of both current and former soldiers, sailors and airmen. He added: "Our thoughts and goodwill are very much with Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family at this sad time."

Prince Philip the man - Read more
Prince Philip the man - Read more

The Duke’s participation in the battle of Cape Matapan during the war saw him mentioned in despatches for "bravery and enterprise". He was also present at the surrender of Japan in 1945.

When he completed his naval service in 1953, having trained at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth and served aboard three warships, he went on to become Honorary Admiral of the Fleet, Captain General of the Royal Marines, Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Cadet Force and Air Commodore-in-chief of the Air Training Corps.

Military charities also offered tributes to the Duke for his commitment and patronage. The Royal Marines Charity marked how he gave "extraordinary service with dedication, energy, colour and sharp wit to his Queen, Commonwealth, country and Corps".

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity meanwhile said his death would touch every member of the naval service and their families.

Air Vice-Marshal Christina Elliot, Controller of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, said the Duke understood "only too well the call of duty, what it was to serve one’s country".

She recalled his contribution as President of the Guinea Pig Club, a social club initially created during the Second World War by RAF aircrew who survived violent crashes and became friends during their long recoveries.

The members of the club were "stoic and resilient in the face of great danger and adversity - qualities The Duke admired and shared", she said.