Veterans Commissioner Appointed

28 June 2014, 09:09

Scotland's first Veterans Commissioner has been appointed to provide greater support for Armed Forces personnel.

Eric Fraser CBE, a former senior Navy officer, will work with charities, local authorities and health boards on veterans' issues and help shape future policy developments.

A graduate of Edinburgh University, Mr Fraser joined the Navy in 1976 and during a 37-year career served during the Falklands conflict, the Balkans war and patrolled drug smuggling around the Caribbean.

His final position before retiring from the Navy at the start of this year was as the UK Naval Attache in the British Embassy in Washington DC.

He will take up his role as Scottish Veterans Commissioner in August, in a three-year appointment.

There are an estimated 400,000 ex-servicemen and women living in Scotland.

The appointment was announced by First Minister Alex Salmond as he attended Armed Forces Day 2014 in Stirling.

Mr Salmond said: "Eric Fraser served for 37 years in a wide range of appointments, both at sea and ashore, from the Falklands to the Adriatic. As well as a great breadth of experience in strategic leadership roles, he has demonstrated clear empathy, commitment and direct experience of working with individuals and families within his command.

"The appointment of a Scottish Veterans Commissioner will complement the fantastic work our partners and stakeholders are already doing to care for our veterans, and I look forward to meeting some of them at the Veterans Village during Armed Forces Day in Stirling today.

"Our ex-service personnel deserve our support and assistance in return for their courageous and selfless service to preserve the democratic freedoms we are privileged to enjoy today.

"I fully believe Eric's warm personality as well as his experience and ability will bringing a fresh perspective and innovative ideas to this new and important role.''

Col Martin Gibson, executive chairman of Veterans Scotland, welcomed the appointment.

He said: "It will further enable us to work with and influence the Scottish Government on devolved matters that provide services to veterans.

"We very much look forward to working with the commissioner in further enhancing communication on veterans' issues within the public sector. Our 400,000 veterans, who served in the UK Armed Forces to ensure we all continue to enjoy our freedom today, will welcome this announcement.''