Interview: 60 seconds with our Chairman Sir Sebastian Roberts

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What drove you to set up The Military Mutual?

Knowing that those in the armed forces and their families deserved better service from insurance companies. Both my brother and my son were injured on active duty in separate incidents 20 years apart, both tried to claim for personal effects destroyed in the action and both were denied due to small print!

Can anyone become a member of The Military Mutual?

Any who are serving or have served in the British armed forces, and their families (and MoD civil servants, their families and supporters of the military). If in doubt, contact us.

Tell us your best tip on keeping military kit clean?

Don’t wait!

Two of your children joined The Army – did you encourage them and how would you have reacted had they wanted to join the Royal Navy or RAF?

My wife and I were both very proud of our sons serving in the army. We had never actively encouraged or discouraged them; they grew up seeing the rewards and restrictions of being in the military family, and made their own decisions. We would have been just as proud if any of our children had joined the Royal Navy or the Royal Air Force.

Tell us about some of your highlights when serving in the military…

Sgt Mervyn Collier telling me in summer 1977 that it was time for me to site the trenches of my first platoon command without his help – I’d served my apprenticeship to a real soldier; serving in the Commonwealth Monitoring Force in Rhodesia in 1979/80.

I saw that with great skill, hard work and working with a myriad of others, the armed forces really can help to end a war. The same lesson on a vast scale in 4th Armoured Brigade, when we were selected as the first British formation to be inspected by a Warsaw Pact team, as part of the confidence building measures which helped lead to the end of the Cold War.

Then again as a company commander in the Irish Guards in Berlin as the wall came down; serving as the Chief of the General Staff’s Military Assistant in the early 1990s- seeing at first-hand how policy linked with strategy, in the hands of a truly great leader – playing a very small part with the rest of my regiment in the “normalisation” process in Northern Ireland, in East Tyrone, in the 1995 ceasefire.

Also writing “The Military Covenant” in 1999, and seeing it pass into the national consciousness; helping to look after the reputations of all soldiers and their families as the Army’s last Director of Public Relations and finally, commanding the “feu de joie” by the Guards Division in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Queen’s 80th birthday in 2006….

You were Prince William’s mentor when he joined the military; tell us what it was like working & training Prince William?

A newspaper christened me “Princes’ army mentor” in a headline, totally inaccurately: like all officers in the British Army, Prince William’s and Prince Harry’s first mentors in the Army were the NCOs and Warrant Officers at Sandhurst and in their Regiment.

What was the Prince’s worst habit?!

None!

Tell us why the British Military is one of the best in the world?

We are all volunteers and professionals; we are generally well trained, well resourced, well led and well supported by the people we serve.

What makes a top officer in the military?

Humanity, moral, intellectual and physical fitness and courage, self-knowledge, family support, luck.

If you could change anything in the military, what would it be?

Smarter resettlement: there should be no homeless or jobless ex-servicemen and women.

If you had to go on an operational tour overseas today, what songs would we find on your playlist?

The Christmas carol – Oh come all ye faithful

Mozart – Ave verum

Rolling Stones – When the whip comes down

Mozart – La ci darem la mano from Don Giovanni

The Eagles – The last resort

Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony – No 6

The Irish Guards Quick March – St Patrick’s Day

The Missa de Angelis

How do you relax now you’ve retired?

Reading, drawing, painting, bird-watching, travelling, conversation, meditation

Where do you want to take The Military Mutual?

Where every member of the military family has the best financial services from a mutual they own and run through a board they empower. Best value, best values.

Any messages for anyone serving in the military in 2015 & their families at home?

Join us and together we’ll honour The Armed Forces Covenant with real action: the best cover for all in the military family.

Connected or a supporter of the military?

We offer an alternative to conventional insurance for the serving, military families & supporters of the military.

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