Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Friday, 9 October 2009 16:08 UK

Ex-Army chief to advise ministers

Major General David McDowall
The retired officer will advise the SNP government on military matters

A recently retired Army general has been appointed as a specialist military adviser to the first minister.

Major General David McDowall was Scotland's most senior soldier, until earlier this year.

It is expected that he will advise the government on issues concerning war veterans and their families.

The appointment of Major General McDowall emerged as former British Army chief General Sir Richard Dannatt was asked to advise the Conservatives.

It is understood that Major General McDowall will not be joining the SNP and he will not be paid.

The Scottish government said it was determined to do all it could to support those Scots veterans who had served the country.

His vast experience ... will be a huge asset to this administration
Scottish government spokesperson

The government has extended free bus travel to injured veterans and wants further action in housing, education and access to public services.

A spokesperson for Communities Minister Alex Neil said: "We are delighted that someone of the calibre and experience of Major General McDowall is joining the Scottish government as an expert consultant on armed forces veterans' issues.

"His vast experience, in a career which saw him rise through the ranks from private to become the officer commanding the Army in Scotland, will be a huge asset to this administration, and as such his advice on a range of issues relating to former service personnel will prove invaluable.

"This government is determined to do all it can to support those Scots veterans who have served the country, often in the most difficult and testing circumstances and who deserve ongoing support in civilian life.

"Major General McDowall's advice will help us in providing ex-servicemen and women with that support."

Major General McDowall was born in Stranraer and joined the Army. In 2002 he became head of the Royal Signals.

In 2007 he assumed command of the UK 2nd Division, the Army in Scotland and the north of England.

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