Brigadier follows in his Exmouth's friend's steps

PUBLISHED: 10:45 08 May 2009 | UPDATED: 10:54 10 June 2010

THEY went to the same Exmouth school, played on the same rugby pitch, and now they have both served in one of the most prestigious roles in the British Army.

THEY went to the same Exmouth school, played on the same rugby pitch, and now they have both served in one of the most prestigious roles in the British Army.Brigadier Russ Wardle OBE and Brigadier Rick Libbey both grew up in Exmouth in the 1960s and 1970s, attended Exmouth Comprehensive School and went on to achieve high-ranking military positions, writes Becca Gliddon.Now the pair is proving Exmouth is the tops after a prestigious military appointment has passed between the two men.Brigadier Libbey, 49, spent the last three years as head of the Army in Wales as Commander of the 160 (Wales) Brigade in Brecon, South Powys, Wales.When Brigadier Libbey left the role, Brigadier Wardle OBE stepped into his shoes.Married with three sons, Brigadier Libbey attended school in Exmouth and went on to study at Exeter College, and was later commissioned from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst into the Royal Corps of Transport in December 1980.Brigadier Libbey, who leaves the Army to take up a position as director of the Prince's Trust Cymru, said: "It's a fantastic honour to hand over to someone I know so well."I've known Brigadier Wardle from our time spent studying at Exmouth Comprehensive in the 1970s and we've also played rugby together."I leave with fantastic memories of 30 years in the Army, having had the best job in the British Army."Brigadier Wardle OBE, married with two children, joined the Army in 1977 aged 19, and was commissioned into the 1st Battalion The Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment, serving in the UK, Germany, Northern Ireland, and Canada.He took command of 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Wales in 2000.He said: "I don't get to spend as much time in Exmouth as I'd like to these days, but I'm always interested in how things are changing there."It seems remarkable how myself and Brigadier Libbey have followed similar paths and taken up such respectable posts in the Army."The job as Commander in Wales is something I've always coveted and I feel privileged to take up."Brigadier Wardle played for Exmouth Rugby Club, while Brigadier Libbey turned out for Withycombe RFC during their time as teenagers growing up in the town.


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