22 SEPTEMBER 2007, Page 19

General disaster

Sir: In his review of General Jackson's book Soldier (Books, 15 September), Andro Linklater ends with an unintended insight: `that he has left his mark on the army for years to come cannot be doubted'. He has. As head of the army he mangled the historic infantry regimental system, reduced the infantry by 4,000 and tolerated every New Labour assault. Linklater failed to point out that this self- styled rugged combat soldier, craggy-faced and resolute, firstly had next to no real com- bat experience, secondly no basic training as an infantry officer, and thirdly no knowledge of the Infantry of the Line, which he decon- structed. It cannot be doubted that Jackson left the army in worse shape than he found it. Colonel David Hancock Witney, Oxfordshire