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Norfolk-born and educated Maj Gen Alastair Duncan dies

Maj Gen Alastair Duncan

Maj Gen Alastair Duncan

Archant

A distinguished army officer who was a leading military commander in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Sierra Leone has died at the age of 63.

Major General Alastair Duncan was born at Toft Monks on October 22, 1952.

He was educated at Gresham’s School, Holt, between 1961 and 1970.

After the Royal Military Academy, at Sandhurst, he was commissioned into the 1st Prince of Wales’s Own (PWO) Regiment of Yorkshire in 1973.

He served in Northern Ireland and became a platoon commander before a spell as an infantry instructor.

In 1990, he assumed command of the 1st PWO and in 1992 was awarded an OBE after completing a tour of Northern Ireland.

In 1993 took the regiment to Bosnia, where he rescued 200 civilians caught in the struggle between Serb, Croat and moslem forces.

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his courage and inspired leadership, which had saved the lives of many caught up in the struggle.

Maj Gen Duncan was injured during the Balkans conflict, suffering a brain trauma when his armoured carrier was hit by a roadside bomb.

He later suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and mental health problems, which are believed to have been aggravated by anti-malarial drugs he was prescribed before being deployed on a UN mission to Sierra Leone in 2000.

He is believed to be the most senior officer to have suffered complications from the drug. Campaigners have called for it to be banned.

Maj Gen Duncan was awarded a CBE for helping the international peacekeeping force to prepare Sierra Leone for democratic elections.

He became director general of Training Support Command, before leaving the army in 2005 to run the Services Sound and Vision Corporation - a charity set up to entertain and inform members of the armed forces. He retired in 2009.

Maj Gen Duncan, who passed away on July 24, leaves two sons, a daughter and wife Ellen Le Brun.

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