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12 November 2020 08:35

Imber World War II Salisbury Plain

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Army head was 'missing in action' after being dropped in the wrong field

The head of the army was "missing in action" after being dropped in the wrong field, it has been revealed. General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, a former SAS commander, was dropped in the wrong field during a visit to Salisbury Plain training area on Tuesday night. According to The Sun, he had been brought in on a Wildcat helicopter to boost troops' morale during a military exercise. He had jumped out of the chopper but realised he was lost when he realised there was nobody on the ground to meet him. The helicopter flew away and left him behind.

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Advertisement An anonymous general told the newspaper: "These things happen more than you might realise". They added that the general would have been able to see "the funny side". He was eventually found by a greeting party. The army said the general "was never lost" but, instead, was "not where they were expecting him". General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, the former director of Special Forces, caused panic after his helicopter landed 600 metres from a planned landing site (File image) By Larisa Brown Defence And Security Editor For The Daily Mail Published: 19:16 EST, 11 November 2020 | Updated: 19:51 EST, 11 November 2020 Troops scrambled to find the head of the Army after he was dropped in the wrong field on a visit to Salisbury Plain.

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General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, the former director of Special Forces, caused panic after his helicopter landed 600 metres from a planned landing site. A one-star brigadier general was forced to sprint across a muddy field on Tuesday to find him. General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, the former director of Special Forces (pictured above), caused panic after his helicopter landed 600 metres from a planned landing site Sir Mark was at the 300 square-mile training area to observe a huge exercise with soldiers from the 3rd Division. An army source said: 'Those on the ground had a pre-marked HLS (helicopter landing site). But his pilot decided to use an alternative one 600 metres away.' They added: 'If you've got the head of the army coming in to land then you want to greet him.' The source said: 'He was never missing, everybody knew where the head of the armed forces was.' Sir Mark was due to touch down at the pre-planned landing spot for the final stop of his all-day visit but his Wildcat helicopter dropped him further afield.

Service sources said the pilot was given the wrong grid reference. Some saw the humorous side. Memes were posted on social media and in private military WhatsApp groups poking fun of the general. One image included his face and a Wildcat helicopter added on to the poster for the desert island television series Lost, according to The Times. In another, his photo appeared on a mocked-up film poster entitled: 'Behind Enemy Lines 2: The Visit.' A third meme showed a cartoon tortoise in a garden with the caption: 'CGS [chief of the general staff] upon disembarkation: This isn't the Covid-infested hell hole I wanted to be in.'

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