A former Special Forces chief and Afghanistan veteran is to lead the Army, say Whitehall sources.
Lt Gen Roland “Roly” Walker is a 53-year-old married dad of three daughters who has also served in Iraq and Northern Ireland.
The soldier avoided death in Helmand Province in 2010 when a mine threw his Ridgeback armoured vehicle six feet into the air. All six inside were unharmed.
He is set to be promoted to Chief of the General Staff when General Sir Patrick Sanders steps down.
Lt Gen Walker will take on the most senior role in the Army at a time when it is facing its biggest troop cuts.
At the moment Lt Gen Walker is Deputy Chief of Defence Staff and directs all military operations on behalf of Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the head of the Armed Forces.
It is understood that Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Lt Gen Walker, who were born a day apart in 1970, “get on well”. The two have known each other since their Army days 30 years ago, and are said to have shared a room in Belfast as platoon commanders.
A source said: “There is mutual respect,” adding that Lt Gen Walker works “closely with Wallace on a very regular basis”.
Lt Gen Walker was born in Kenya and educated at Harrow. He was sponsored by the Army at the Royal Agricultural College, gaining a science degree.
He was commissioned into the Irish Guards in 1993 before joining the 22nd Special Air Service Regiment in 1997.
He then moved to the Grenadier Guards and by 2011 was promoted to the General Staff.
His last role before promotion was Director Special Forces.
In 2009 five of Lt Gen Walker’s men were shot dead in an Afghan police compound. He realised “you have got to take control of the situation and deal with the living”.
Sources claimed Sir Patrick was forced out after criticising the decision to slash troops to their lowest since the Napoleonic era. The claims were later denied by an admiral.
The Ministry of Defence declined to comment.