Michael Willcocks bigraphy, stories - British Army general

Michael Willcocks : biography

27 July 1944 -

Lieutenant General Sir Michael Alan Willcocks, KCB, CVO (born 27 July 1944) was until 30 April 2009 the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod for the Parliament of the United Kingdom's House of Lords. This title is generally shortened to Black Rod.

Black Rod

Willcocks was appointed Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod on 9 May 2001. After seven years in this post, he announced in late 2008 that he was stepping down from the role, and relinquished the post on 29 April 2009. At his last State Opening of Parliament, Dennis Skinner, MP, who was famous for interrupting Black Rod with a traditional "Queen's Speech Joke", asked, "any Tory moles at the Palace?". This was in reference to the recent arrest of Conservative MP Damian Green in connection with an investigation about him receiving confidential information from a civil servant at the Home Office who was formerly a Conservative Party candidate. In a mild but highly memorable breach of protocol, Black Rod responded (interruptions are supposed to be ignored) "I shall miss you, Dennis", receiving laughter from other MPs.

As Black Rod, Willcocks oversaw the Queen Mother's lying-in-state at Westminster Hall. Daily Telegraph ‘Honours for Queen Mother's staff’ 5 Aug 2002 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1403582/Honours-for-Queen-Mothers-staff.html

He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the New Year Honours, 2000. The Queen invested him with the insignia of a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order on his retirement as Black Rod on 29 April 2009.

Willcocks is also a Knight Commander of Merit with Star of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George.

Military career

Willcocks was commissioned into the Royal Regiment of Artillery in 1964. He was appointed Commanding Officer of 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery in 1983. He became Deputy Assistant Chief Of Staff at Headquarters UK Land Forces in 1985, Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence/Operations at Headquarters UK Land Forces in 1988 and Commander Royal Artillery for 4th Armoured Division in 1989. He went on to be Assistant Chief of Staff for Land Operations at the Joint War Headquarters for the Gulf War in 1991, Director of Army Plans and Programme at the Ministry of Defence in 1991 and Director-General Land Warfare at the Ministry of Defence in 1993.

He was then appointed Chief of Staff for the Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps in 1994, Chief of Staff for the Land Component of the Peace Implementation Force (IFOR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995 and Assistant Chief of the General Staff in 1996. His last appointments were as Deputy Commander (Operations) for the Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1999 and as UK military representative to NATO and the European Union from 2000 until his retirement in 2001.

Other roles

Sir Michael is also the current Charter Commissioner for the Press Complaints Commission.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine