AN BRITISH Army major general and Bournemouth education boss is facing a court martial after being accused of illegally claiming thousands of pounds to send one of his children to private school.

Maj Gen Nicholas Welch OBE who is now the chief operating officer at Arts University Bournemouth (AUB), is the most senior officer to face a court martial in 200 years.

The father-of-three, who has served in Afghanistan and Bosnia, is fully contesting the legal action.

It is alleged the 57-year-old claimed funds for a school less than ten miles away from his Dorset home, in Shillingstone.

He was previously the assistant chief of the general staff, which is the highest ranking army officer at the Ministry of Defence.

An AUB spokesman said the legal action against him does not suggest any risk to the university.

The spokesman said: “The chief operating officer Nicholas Welch has kept the board of governors and the vice chancellor fully informed about the on-going legal action against him, which he is fully contesting.

“The matter in issue long precedes Mr Welch’s employment at AUB and does not suggest conduct that might pose any risk to the university or to its stakeholders.”

Maj Gen Welch stepped down from his military role in 2018.

The AUB spokesman said: “In view of the foregoing and following consultation with the vice-chancellor and having adopted the legal presumption of innocence, the board of governors has agreed to a range of steps that will meet any risk exposure and will enable Mr Welch to continue his work at the university. These steps will remain in place for the time being and will be kept under review. The vice-chancellor has full confidence in the work that Mr Welch is doing at the University.”

The university also said May Gen Nicholas would not be making any comments at this stage. He appeared before Bulford Military Court, in Wiltshire, on Friday, where he was charged with fraud. He is due to stand trial next year.