A NEW commander has taken over at Colchester Garrison.

Colonel Gary Wilkinson will oversee Merville Barracks, replaceing Colonel Mike Newman who has retired from the Army.

Col Wilkinson, 45, has completed three tours of Afghanistan with Colchester-based troops, serving with 7 Para Royal Horse Artillery in 2006 and 2008, and as the unit’s commanding officer in 2010-11.

Col Wilkinson said: "I’m enormously proud to have been associated with 16 Air Assault Brigade in recent years during a time of intensive operational deployments and remember with sincere appreciation as a commanding officer the support which our families received from the good people of Colchester.

"I look forward very much to renewing my strong association with both the brigade and the town."