Brigadier Sharon Nesmith

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A woman wearing camouflage clothing with a barbed wire fence in the background
Photograph © Anita Corbin


First Woman to be a Commander of a Brigade of 5000 front line troops

August 2016, British Army Land Forces Headquarters, Hampshire

b.1970, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Brigadier Nesmith joined the Army at the age of 21 in 1992, the year women were first able to commission into roles alongside their male contemporaries, with the exception of roles in close combat. During her 26 years of service she has seen significant change in the opportunities available to women in the Armed Forces; from a time when women were unable to combine military service with motherhood or serve on the front line, to now where she has successfully commanded at all levels, most latterly being the first woman to command an operational Brigade (5000 troops) within the British Army, and as a mother of two. Brigadier Nesmith is currently overseeing the work to open ‘close combat’ roles to women; by the end of 2018, for the first time in history, woman will be able to join any role within the British Army.

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