British Army, Navy, RAF service personnel

Lieutenant General Sir Gary Coward appointed as Chairman

16 January 2017

Lieutenant General Sir Gary Coward appointed as Chairman

SSAFA Controller Sir Andrew Gregory announces that Lieutenant General Sir Gary Coward KBE CB, has been appointed National Chairman.


SSAFA Controller Andrew Gregory"Sir Gary was initially commissioned into the Royal Artillery, serving in Germany and Northern Ireland. He trained as a pilot in 1978 serving in Germany, Hong Kong, Brunei and the UK, transferring to the Army Air Corps in 1983. As a Staff Officer, he has held posts on the British Army Staff in Washington, the Directorate of Army Aviation, the UN Protection Force in Sarajevo and the Chiefs of Staff Secretariat in the MOD. He commanded C Flight AAC in Brunei, 656 Squadron AAC in the UK and 1 Regiment AAC in Germany and the Balkans.

More recently Sir Gary served in the MOD as a Director of Equipment Capability responsible for amphibious shipping and helicopters, served twice in the Joint Helicopter Command as both Deputy Commander and Commander and enjoyed a short tour as the Chief of Staff (Joint Warfare Development) at the Permanent Joint Headquarters. In his final tour he was both Chief of Materiel (Land) and Quartermaster General. Sir Gary retired from the Army in October 2012.

Sir Gary’s wife Chrissie, a former primary teacher, has been a volunteer caseworker for SSAFA Somerset Branch for the last six years.

Sir Gary will begin his new role in March, please join me in welcoming Sir Gary as our new National Chairman. I look forward to working with him to ensure SSAFA continues to respond to the changing needs of the Armed Forces community and remains able to provide serving personnel, veterans and their families with support as and when it is needed.

Sir Gary succeeds General Sir Kevin O'Donoghue KCB CBE, who is stepping down from his position after seven years.

I would like to thank Sir Kevin for his exceptional guidance and commitment over the last seven years, as he has steered the organisation through a period of modernisation, encouraging and supporting it to evolve. I am sure you'll join me in wishing him every good fortune for the future. 

In addition to Sir Gary's appointment, current trustee Jonathan Jelley MBE JP will become Vice Chairman (Strategic Development)".