Was Ben Wallace in the military? UK Defence Secretary tears up over Afghanistan

Ella Kipling

Ben Wallace, the UK’s Secretary of State for Defence, could be seen choking up during an LBC interview when explaining that, despite his government’s efforts to get people home from Afghanistan, “some people” wouldn’t “get back”.

Wallace was appointed to his role two years ago after serving as Minister of State for Security at the Home Office from 17 July 2016 to 24 July 2019.

Currently, the timescale sees the UK government aim to evacuate British passport holders by 31 August. Wallace is aiming to “get out” three main cohorts from Afghanistan – British passport holders, British officials, and Afghan nationals who have helped the military such as interpreters.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Defence Secretary Ben Wallace walks along Downing Street as he heads to the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Foreign Office on November 10, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

Was Ben Wallace in the military?

Ben Wallace attended the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst before beginning his career in the armed forces. He was commissioned as an officer into the Scots Guards.

According to his profile on Gov.UK, Wallace saw service in Northern Ireland, Germany, Cyprus and Central America during the 1990s and was mentioned in dispatches in 1992.

When asked whether his military experience made the crisis in Kabul more personal, Wallace said he couldn’t “help but understand the real sense of sadness and anxiousness of our veterans”.

UK Defence Secretary tears up over Afghanistan

During the LBC interview, in which he was discussing British troops’ attempts to evacuate UK nationals and their local allies from Afghanistan, Wallace said he wanted to see as “many of these people come through the pipeline as possible”.

When asked why he was feeling it so personally, Wallace said:

“Because I’m a soldier, because it’s sad, and the West has done what it’s done and we have to do our very best now to get people out and stand by our obligations and 20 years of sacrifice.”