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11 November 2020 22:41

Mark Carleton-Smith Staff Chief of the General Staff

Manhunt launched after head of army declared 'missing in action' after being dropped in wrong field

A manhunt was launched after the head of the army was declared 'missing in action' after being dropped in the wrong Salisbury field. General Sir Carleton-Smith, Chief of the General Staff, was "lost" after the Army Wildcat helicopter he was travelling in on Tuesday landed at a site 600 metres away from where he was expected on Salisbury plain. A defence source told The Daily Telegraph: "There was an 'Oh s*** moment' when they realised they had lost the head of the army. The Army insisted Sir Mark was never actually lost, cautioning that he was just "not where they were expecting him". According to The Sun a brigade commander who was waiting to meet Sir Mark, who made the visit at dusk in a bid to boost morale among staff, sprinted to where he was waiting after soldiers were unable to reach him by phone due to a mobile black spot.

A fellow general told The Sun: "These things happen more than you might realise. TROOPS scrambled to find the head of the Army last night after he was "missing in action" on Salisbury plain. General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, a former SAS commander, was dropped in the wrong field on a visit to the 300 square mile training area. He swooped in at dusk on an Army Wildcat helicopter to boost the troops' morale. Gen Carleton-Smith leapt out of the chopper and only realised he was lost when the helicopter flew away and there was no one there to meet him.

A source said: "The pilot circled overhead and decided to land at an alternative helicopter landing site, around 600 metres away from where they were expecting him to land. A brigade commander who was waiting to meet Gen Carleton-Smith sprinted to where the Chief of the General Staff was waiting. As a decorated former leader of special forces, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith has survived and thrived in some of the most hostile environments in the world. He had been due to touch down at an appointed helicopter landing spot within the army's 150 sq mile training area to observe troops on an exercise. He was, however, dropped off by his Wildcat helicopter in a darkening field away from the agreed rendezvous after the pilot was given Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Sir Nick Carter claimed a quarter of British soldiers could be robots by the 2030s in a television interview with Sky News on Sunday.

His comment comes a week after the head of the British Army, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, said he wanted teams of humans and machines to be commonplace by 2025. Carleton-Smith made the remarks while explaining the concept of "mothership" in future battles wherein armored fighting vehicles will command a team of robots who will assist soldiers, thus adding another layer of offense and protection to the battlefield. These comments come as the UK government is working on an integrated defense review to lay out a plan of action for the next five years. Describing the size of the army in 10 years, he explained, "It's got 30,000 robots, 30,000/40,000 reservists, 40,000 what we might call regulars at the moment. TROOPS launched a frantic search to find the head of the Army after he was "missing in action" on Salisbury plain. General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, a former SAS commander, was dropped in the wrong field on a night time visit to the 300 square mile training area. 3 General Sir Mark Carleton Smith leapt out of the chopper before realising he was lost Credit: Simon Jones - The Sun He swooped in under cover of darkness on an Army Wildcat helicopter to boost the troops' morale. The Special Forces general leapt out of the chopper and only realised he was lost when the helicopter flew away and there was no one there to meet them. A fellow general, who asked not to be named, said: "These things happen more than you might realise. A defence source said Gen Carleton-Smith, who still wears the SAS's sandy coloured beret, was not lost for long. "There was an 'Oh s*** moment' when they realised they had lost the head of the army. His visit was a really big deal and they had everything planned out," a defence source said. Desperate soldiers tried to reach Gen Carleton-Smith and his aides by mobile phone, but they were stuck in a mobile black spot, a source added. Gen Carleton-Smith, who originally joined the Irish Guards, flew back to London later that night and attended a special Remembrance Day service in Westminster Abbey to commemorate 100 years of the Unknown Warrior. Despite the drama, General Carleton-Smith was found safe and well. General Carleton-Smith said Tom's efforts "embodied the Army's values and standards". 3 Earlier this year, veteran Captain Tom Moore celebrated his 100 birthday by being promoted to Colonel by General Smith Credit: Simon Jones - The Sun