Melrose couple make military history

A Melrose husband and wife have made British military history when the wife handed over command of a unit to her husband.

Lt Col Gill Wilkinson handed over command of Dunfermline-based 154 (Scottish) Regiment Royal Logistic Corps to her husband Lt Col Alan Wilkinson on Thusrday, Febuary 16.

The couple, who married in 1998, have now become the highest ranking couple to follow each other in a command role.

Gill, 45, from Northern Ireland has been in charge of the unit for the last two and a half years, the longest serving term for the position.

She said: “I’ve had a fantastic time commanding 154 (Scottish) Regiment RLC.

“It is very much a family regiment. We have lots of family connections – fathers and sons serving, and husbands and wives.

“This is unusual though, a couple handing over command of a regiment, but the advantage for me is I will be able to keep an eye on the regiment in the future.”

She joined the army in 1994 following in the footsteps of hubby Alan, 46, who joined a year before her.

The couple met when they were students at Dundee University where Gill studied English and Alan, originally from Stow, was a student of Economic Finance. After Alan joined the reserves in 2009 the couple alternated between full time work to look after their children.

He is looking forward to working with members of the regiment again having done a tour of duty as training major between 2007 and 2009.

Alan said: “We have asked each other for advice throughout our careers which is very useful, but when I’m in command it is important for me to form my own opinion on how things are running.

“I know it is a successful regiment at the moment and this is why I hope it will continue during my tenure.”

Gill, who previously left to have their children – 16-year-old Katy and Andrew, now 14 – re-enlisted into the Army Reserve in 2003 before taking command of the regiment in 2014.

She added: “I really enjoyed working in the role. It sounds like such a cliché, but it really is a huge privilege to work in command of a unit.

“The team is great and the people are real characters – some commit to more than you can believe. It is quite an exhausting position, so I’ll be enjoying a step back. Alan really is excited about this role.”