TAKING the helm of the largest military garrison in Western Europe, the new Commander of Catterick Garrison says it has a strong sense of community.

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Turner has been appointed as the Commander of Catterick Garrison, replacing Joe Jordan who retired from the Army earlier this year.

Hailing from the Midlands, Lt Col Turner grew up on a farm in Derbyshire. After studying physics at Manchester University, in 1991 he was commissioned into the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment, a forerunner of the Mercian Regiment.

His career has included tours of Cyprus, South Armagh and Bosnia as well as time spent on Salisbury Plain and in Canada, South Sudan, Nigeria and Tunisia. He deployed as a rifle company commander to Northern Afghanistan and his battalion’s second in command to Helmand Province.

Lt Col Turner has an MSc in Defence Technology from the Royal Military College of Science and held several staff posts within the Army. He was Commander Regional Recruiting for the West Midlands, a post he describes as both “enjoyable and interesting”.

The new role provides him with a fascinating mix of duties. There are approximately 12,000 soldiers plus 8,000 dependants from 12 major units who are resident within the garrison, along with several smaller units. Assisted by a mix of mostly civilian with some military staff, the Garrison Commander affords the management necessary to what is the equivalent of a small town. His work will involve liaison with both military and civil authorities.

He said: “I am really pleased to be here; it is a beautiful place to live and work.

“Over the years it has seen an expansion of its facilities and the Garrison is still developing.

“There is a strong sense of community both within the Army and externally.”

Lt Col Turner is a member of the Army’s LGBT Forum, and when not at work, he lives in Derbyshire. His interests include rugby, squash, skiing, rough shooting, military history and going to the pub.