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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 January, 2004, 14:08 GMT
Iraq War colonel quits Army
Tim Collins
Colonel Tim Collins won praise for his speech to troops
An Army officer who achieved fame for his speech to troops on the eve of the Iraq War has resigned.

Colonel Tim Collins believes the Army is in danger of being "a glorified Home Guard" because of underfunding and bureaucracy, he told the Mail on Sunday.

Belfast-born Col Collins was widely praised when he told his soldiers: "If you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory."

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed his resignation application.

Col Collins was recently awarded an OBE, after being cleared of alleged war crimes committed during the conflict.

'Cottage industry'

The process of leaving the army, which includes consideration of the application by a board, usually concludes within a year, although officers can ask to leave sooner.

The Mail on Sunday says the 43-year-old is expected to be out of the Army by the summer, after 22 years' service.

Col Collins' wife, Caroline, told the paper: "Tim is no longer convinced that the Army reflects the country with the fourth largest economy in the world.
Tim Collins profile
Born in Belfast in 1960
Had ambitions to be a "great soldier" from an early age
Studied at Queen's University, Belfast
Trained at Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst
Married with four sons and a daughter

"He fears it is becoming a cottage industry."

Mrs Collins also said her husband was concerned by political correctness in the Army and "the refusal of politicians who send British soldiers to war to give them enough money to do their job".

'Fresh challenge'

Mrs Collins also told the newspaper a major factor in her husband's decision to resign was what he saw as the Army's failure to support him when he was wrongly accused of war crimes.

He was investigated by the MoD after allegations were made by an American officer about his treatment of Iraqi civilians and prisoners of war.

No disciplinary procedures were ever brought against him.

BBC defence correspondent Paul Adams said there was no suggestion Col Collins had been asked to leave the army as a result of the allegations.

At the time of the conflict, Col Collins was a lieutenant colonel, but has since been promoted.

Mrs Collins added: "The height of his ambition was to command the Royal Irish Regiment on operations, something he achieved during the Iraq campaign.

"It's time for a fresh challenge."

The paper said the father of five was thought to be considering a civilian career in leadership and management.

Collins to be awarded OBE
31 Oct 03  |  Northern Ireland
Colonel denies war allegations
22 May 03  |  Northern Ireland
MoD inquiry 'farcical'
23 May 03  |  Northern Ireland
Profile: Colonel Tim Collins
23 May 03  |  Northern Ireland

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