Field marshal (United Kingdom)

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Field Marshal
British Army (1920-1953) OF-10.svg
The insignia of a field marshal as worn on epaulettes
Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts by John Singer Sargent.jpg
The Earl Roberts painted 1906 in the full dress uniform of a Field Marshal in the British Army
CountryUnited Kingdom
Service branch British Army
Rank group Flag officer
Rank Five-star rank
NATO rank code OF-10
Non-NATO rank O-11
Next higher ranknone
Next lower rank General
Equivalent ranks Admiral of the Fleet (RN)
Marshal of the Royal Air Force (RAF)

Field marshal (FM) has been the highest rank in the British Army since 1736. A five-star rank with NATO code OF-10, it is equivalent to an Admiral of the Fleet in the Royal Navy or a Marshal of the Royal Air Force in the Royal Air Force (RAF). A Field Marshal's insignia consists of two crossed batons surrounded by yellow leaves below the Tudor Crown. Like Marshals of the Royal Air Force and Admirals of the Fleet, Field Marshals traditionally remain officers for life, though on half-pay when not in an appointment or retired. [1] [2] The rank has been used sporadically throughout its history, and was vacant during parts of the 18th and 19th centuries (when all former holders of the rank were deceased). After the Second World War, it became standard practice to appoint the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (later renamed Chief of the General Staff) to the rank on his last day in the post. Army officers occupying the post of Chief of the Defence Staff, the professional head of all the British Armed Forces, were usually promoted to the rank upon their appointment. [3]


In total, 141 men have held the rank of field marshal. The majority led careers in the British Army or the colonial British Indian Army, rising through the ranks to eventually become a field marshal. Some members of the British Royal Family, most recently Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Charles III, were promoted to the rank after shorter periods of service. Three British monarchs (George V, Edward VIII, and George VI) assumed the rank on their accessions to the throne, while Edward VII and Charles III were already field marshals, and two British consorts, Albert, Prince Consort and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, were appointed by their respective queens. Other ceremonial appointments were made as diplomatic gestures. Twelve foreign monarchs have held the honour, though three (Wilhelm II, German Emperor; Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria-Hungary; and Hirohito, Emperor of Japan) were stripped of it when their countries became enemies of Britain and its allies in the two world wars. Also awarded the rank were one Frenchman (Ferdinand Foch) and one Australian (Sir Thomas Blamey), honoured for their contributions in World War I and World War II respectively, and one South African statesman (Jan Smuts). [4]

A report commissioned by the Ministry of Defence in 1995 made a number of recommendations for financial savings in the armed forces' budget, one of which was the abolition of all five-star ranks. Part of the rationale was that these ranks were disproportionate to the size of the forces commanded by these officers, and that none of the United Kingdom's close allies, such as the United States (which reserves the rank of general of the army for officers who have commanded large armies in major wars), used such ranks. The recommendation was not taken up in full, but the practice of promoting service chiefs to five-star ranks was stopped, and the ranks are now reserved for special circumstances. Sir Peter Inge was, in 1994, the last active officer to be promoted to the rank. Inge relinquished the post of Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) in 1997, and his successor, Sir Charles Guthrie, was the first officer not to be promoted upon appointment as CDS, although he was promoted to the honorary rank of field marshal in June 2012. [5]

The most recent promotions to field marshal came in 2012, eighteen years after the moratorium on routine promotions to the rank, when Queen Elizabeth II promoted Prince Charles, her son and heir apparent, to the five-star ranks in all three services, in recognition of support provided for her in her capacity as Head of the British Armed Forces. [6] At the same time, Guthrie, who relinquished the post of CDS and retired from active service in 2001, was promoted to honorary field marshal. [7] In June 2014, former Chief of the Defence Staff Lord Walker of Aldringham was also promoted to honorary field marshal. [8]

Although the rank of field marshal is not used in the Royal Marines, the insignia is used on the uniform of the Captain General, the ceremonial head of the corps (equivalent to colonel-in-chief). [9]

Insignia of rank

Field Marshal's uniform and baton (pertaining to the late Sir John Stanier) on display in the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum, Edinburgh Castle. Field Marshal's uniform and baton.jpg
Field Marshal's uniform and baton (pertaining to the late Sir John Stanier) on display in the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum, Edinburgh Castle.

The rank insignia of a field marshal in the British Army comprises two crossed batons in a wreath of laurel leaves, with a crown above. [10] In some other countries, historically under the sphere of British influence, an adapted version of the insignia is used for field marshals, often with the crown being replaced with an alternative cultural or national emblem. On appointment, British field marshals are awarded a gold-tipped baton which they may carry on formal occasions.

List of field marshals

Four field marshals were also recipients of the Victoria Cross, the UK's highest award for gallantry. Victoria Cross Medal without Bar.png
Four field marshals were also recipients of the Victoria Cross, the UK's highest award for gallantry.

The vast majority of officers to hold the rank of field marshal were professional soldiers in the British Army, though eleven served as officers in the British Indian Army. At least fifty-seven field marshals were wounded in battle earlier in their careers, of whom 24 were wounded more than once, and eight had been prisoners of war. Fifteen future field marshals were present at the Battle of Vitoria, where the Duke of Wellington earned the rank, and ten others served under Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo. However, only thirty-eight held independent commands in the field, and just twelve served as Commander-in-Chief of the Forces (the pre-1904 professional head of the army) or Chief of the Imperial General Staff during a major war. [11]

Four field marshals (Sir Evelyn Wood, Sir George White, Earl Roberts, and Lord Gort) had previously received the Victoria Cross (VC), the United Kingdom's highest and most prestigious award for gallantry 'in the face of the enemy'. Wood, a famously injury-prone officer, was awarded the VC for two actions in 1858, in which he first attacked a group of rebels in India, and later rescued an informant from another group of rebels. White, a cavalry officer, led two charges on enemy guns in Afghanistan in 1879, while Gort, of the Grenadier Guards, commanded a series of attacks while severely wounded during the First World War in 1918. Roberts received his VC for actions during the Indian Mutiny. [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]

Wellington, 44 at the time of his promotion, was the youngest non-royal officer to earn the rank of field marshal. Charles Moore, 1st Marquess of Drogheda was the oldest, promoted at the age of 91, while a further twenty-three officers were promoted to field marshal in their eighties. Wellington was also the only field marshal to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. [17]

No officer whose career was spent in the British Army has ever reached the rank of field marshal without having served in the cavalry, infantry, Royal Armoured Corps, Royal Artillery, or Royal Engineers. [17] One non-British officer has been appointed field marshal in the British Army; Ferdinand Foch of France, in recognition of his contributions in the First World War, while one, Sir William Robertson, held every rank in the British Army, from private soldier to field marshal. [18]

Field Marshals of the British Army
Name and style [lower-alpha 1] Regiment [lower-alpha 2] ImageBornPromotion date [19] Died
George Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney Royal Regiment of Foot 1stEarlOfOrkney.jpg 166612 January 1736 [20] 1737
John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll Earl of Argyll's Regiment of Foot John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and Duke of Greenwich by William Aikman.jpg 168014 January 1736 [21] 1743
Richard Boyle, 2nd Viscount Shannon Horse Guards Regiment Richard Boyle, 2nd Viscount Shannon by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt.jpg 16742 July 1739 [22] 1740
François de La Rochefoucauld, Marquis de Montandre 16722 July 1739 [23] 1739
John Dalrymple, 2nd Earl of Stair 26th (Cameronian) Regiment of Foot John Dalrymple 2nd Earl of Stair (1673-1747) General and Diplomat.jpg 167318 March 1742 [24] 1747
Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham 6th Regiment of Foot Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham by Jean Baptiste van Loo.jpg 166914 December 1742 [25] 1749
George Wade Earl of Bath's Regiment Attributed to Johan van Diest - Field-Marshal George Wade, 1673 - 1748. Commander-in-chief in Scotland - Google Art Project.jpg 167314 December 1742 [26] 1748
Sir Robert Rich, 4th Baronet Grenadier Guards (1st Foot Guards) William Aikman (1682-1731) - Field Marshal Sir Robert Rich (1685-1768), 4th Bt - 355567 - National Trust.jpg 168528 November 1757 [27] 1768
Richard Molesworth, 3rd Viscount Molesworth Royal Scots Lord Molesworth, English School 18th century.jpg 168029 November 1757 [28] 1758
John Ligonier, 1st Earl Ligonier 10th Regiment of Foot 1st Earl Ligonier.jpg 168030 November 1757 [29] 1770
James O'Hara, 2nd Baron Tyrawley 39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot 16901 June 1763 [30] 1773
Henry Seymour Conway 5th Royal Irish Lancers Henryseymour.jpg 172112 October 1793 [31] 1794
Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh 13th Regiment of Foot WilliamHenryDukeOfGloucesterThomasGainsborough.jpg 174312 October 1793 [32] 1805
Sir George Howard 24th Regiment of Foot Lieutenant-General (later Field Marshal Sir) George Howard (1718- c.1796), c.1762.jpg 172012 October 1793 [33] 1796
Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany Grenadier Guards Frederick, Duke of York 1800-1820.jpg 176310 February 1795 [34] 1827
John Campbell, 5th Duke of Argyll Royal Scots Fusiliers John Campbell, 5th Duke of Argyll (1723-1806) by Thomas Gainsborough.jpg 172330 July 1796 [35] 1806
Jeffery Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst Grenadier Guards Jeffreyamherst.jpg 171730 July 1796 [36] 1797
John Griffin, 4th Baron Howard de Walden Scots Guards Sir John Griffin Griffin, 4th Lord Howard de Walden.jpg 171930 July 1796 [37] 1797
Studholme Hodgson Grenadier Guards Studholme Hodgson-cropped.jpg 170830 July 1796 [38] 1798
George Townshend, 1st Marquess Townshend 7th Queen's Own Hussars George Townshend.jpg 172430 July 1796 [39] 1807
Lord Frederick Cavendish Coldstream Guards 172930 July 1796 [40] 1803
Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond Coldstream Guards Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond.jpg 173530 July 1796 [41] 1806
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn Royal Fusiliers Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn by Sir William Beechey.jpg 17675 September 1805 [42] 1820
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington 33rd Regiment of Foot Sir Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.png 176921 June 1813 [43] 1852
Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale — (Royal Family;
afterwards King of Hanover)
Ernest Augustus by Fischer 1823.jpg 17716 November 1813 [44] 1851
Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge Hanoverian Guards Adolphus Frederick duke of Cambridge.jpg 177426 November 1813 [45] 1850
Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh Scots Guards 2ndDukeOfGloucester.jpg 177624 May 1816 [46] 1834
Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha — (Royal Family;
afterwards King of the Belgians)
Saksen-Koburg Leopold-2a.jpeg 179024 May 1816 [47] 1865
Charles Moore, 1st Marquess of Drogheda 12th Dragoons Charles Moore, 1st Marquess of Drogheda.jpg 173019 July 1821 [48] 1821
William Harcourt, 3rd Earl Harcourt Grenadier Guards 3rdEarlHarcourt.jpg 174319 July 1821 [20] 1830
Sir Alured Clarke 50th (Queen's Own) Regiment of Foot Field Marshal Sir Alured Clarke.jpg 174522 July 1830 [49] 1832
Sir Samuel Hulse Grenadier Guards Portrait of Sir Samuel Hulse-detail.jpg 1747 or 174822 July 1830 [50] 1837
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha — (Royal Family) Prince Albert - Franz Xaver Winterhalter 1842.jpg 18198 February 1840 [51] 1861
William II — (King of the Netherlands) King Willem II.jpg 179228 July 1845 [52] 1849
Sir George Nugent, 1st Baronet 39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot Georgenugent.gif 17579 November 1846 [53] 1849
Thomas Grosvenor Grenadier Guards Thomas Grosvenor by Robert Bowyer.jpg 17649 November 1846 [54] 1851
Henry Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey 80th Regiment of Foot (Staffordshire Volunteers) Op77.jpg 17689 November 1846 [55] 1854
FitzRoy Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan 4th Light Dragoons Fitzroy James Henry Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan by William Salter.jpg 17885 November 1854 [56] 1855
Stapleton Cotton, 1st Viscount Combermere 23rd Regiment of Foot Stapleton Cotton, 1st Viscount Combermere by Mary Martha Pearson (nee Dutton).jpg 17732 October 1855 [57] 1865
John Byng, 1st Earl of Strafford 33rd Regiment of Foot John Byng, 1st Earl of Strafford by William Salter.jpg 17722 October 1855 [58] 1860
Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge Queen's Rangers Henryhardinge.jpg 17852 October 1855 [59] 1856
John Colborne, 1st Baron Seaton East Devonshire Regiment John Colborne.jpg 17791 April 1860 [60] 1863
Sir Edward Blakeney 99th Regiment of Foot Edwardblakeney.png 17789 November 1862 [61] 1868
Hugh Gough, 1st Viscount Gough Seaforth Highlanders Hugh Gough, 1st Viscount Gough, 1850.png 17799 November 1862 [62] 1869
Prince George, Duke of Cambridge 12th Royal Lancers George 2nd Cambridge.png 18199 November 1862 [63] 1904
Colin Campbell, 1st Baron Clyde 9th (East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot Lord-clyde.jpg 17929 November 1862 [64] 1863
Sir Alexander Woodford 9th (East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot Alexander Woodford.png 17821 January 1868 [65] 1870
Sir William Gomm 9th (East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot Sir William Maynard Gomm by William Salter.jpg 17841 January 1868 [66] 1875
Sir Hew Ross Royal Artillery Sir Hew Dalrymple Ross by Thomas Heaphy.jpg 17791 January 1868 [67] 1868
Sir John Burgoyne Royal Engineers John-fox-burgoyne.jpg 17821 January 1868 [68] 1871
Sir George Pollock, 1st Baronet Bengal Artillery Sir George Pollock, 1st Baronet(3 4 Profile).jpg 178624 May 1870 [69] 1872
Sir John FitzGerald — (retired)178529 May 1875 [70] 1877
George Hay, 8th Marquess of Tweeddale Grenadier Guards 8thMarquessOfTweeddale.jpg 178729 May 1875 [71] 1876
King Edward VII — (Royal Family) Edward VII in coronation robes.jpg 184129 May 1875 [72] 1910
Sir William Rowan 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot Sir William Rowan.jpg 17892 June 1877 [73] 1879
Sir Charles Yorke 35th (Royal Sussex) Regiment of Foot Field Marshal Sir Charles Yorke.jpg 17902 June 1877 [74] 1880
Hugh Rose, 1st Baron Strathnairn 93rd (Sutherland Highlanders) Regiment of Foot Hugh Henry Rose, 1st Baron Strathnairn.png 18012 June 1877 [75] 1885
Robert Napier, 1st Baron Napier of Magdala Bengal Engineer Group Robert Napier, 1st Baron Napier of Magdala - Project Gutenberg eText 16528.png 18101 January 1883 [76] 1890
Sir Patrick Grant 11th Bengal Native Infantry Patrick Grant.jpg 180424 June 1883 [77] 1895
Sir John Michel 64th (2nd Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot John-michel-by-william-notman.jpg 180427 March 1886 [78] 1886
Sir Richard Dacres Royal Artillery Richard James Dacres.jpg 179927 March 1886 [79] 1886
Lord William Paulet 85th Regiment of Foot (Bucks Volunteers) Lord William Paulet.jpg 180410 July 1886 [80] 1893
George Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan 6th Regiment of Foot George Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan.png 180021 June 1887 [81] 1888
Sir Lintorn Simmons Royal Engineers SirJohnLintonSimmons.jpg 182121 May 1890 [82] 1903
Sir Frederick Haines 4th Regiment of Foot Frederick Haines.jpg 181821 May 1890 [83] 1909
Sir Donald Stewart, 1st Baronet 9th Bengal Native Infantry Donald Martin Stewart.jpg 182424 May 1894 [84] 1900
Garnet Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley 12th Regiment of Foot Garnet Wolseley.jpg 183324 May 1894 [85] 1913
Frederick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts, VC Bengal Artillery Frederick Roberts.jpg 183225 May 1895 [86] 1914
Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar 67th (South Hampshire) Regiment of Foot Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar 1855.jpg 182322 June 1897 [87] 1902
Sir Neville Bowles Chamberlain 55th Bengal Native Infantry Field Marshal Sir Neville Bowles Chamberlain.jpg 182025 April 1900 [88] 1902
Wilhelm II, German Emperor — (German Emperor; King of Prussia) Arthur Stockdale Cope - Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany 1905.jpg 185927 January 1901 [89] 1941
Sir Henry Norman 1st Bengal Native Infantry StateLibQld 1 113832 Sir Henry Wylie Norman.jpg 182626 June 1902 [90] 1904
Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn Royal Engineers Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught.jpg 185026 June 1902 [91] 1942
Sir Evelyn Wood, VC 13th Light Dragoons Wood-evelyn.jpg 18388 April 1903 [92] 1919
Sir George White, VC 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot George Stewart White-001.jpg 18358 April 1903 [93] 1912
Franz Joseph I of Austria — (Emperor of Austria; King of Hungary) TomvonDregerFranzJosephSchonbrunn.jpg 18301 September 1903 [94] 1916
Francis Grenfell, 1st Baron Grenfell King's Royal Rifle Corps Francis Wallace Grenfell.jpg 184111 April 1908 [95] 1925
Sir Charles Brownlow 51st Sikhs (Frontier Force) Charles Brownlow.jpg 183120 June 1908 [96] 1916
Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener Royal Engineers Horatio Herbert Kitchener (cropped).jpg 185010 September 1909 [97] 1916
King George V Royal Welsh Fusiliers — (Royal Family) King George 1923 LCCN2014715558 (cropped).jpg 18657 May 1910 [98] 1936
Paul Methuen, 3rd Baron Methuen Scots Guards Paul Methuen, 3rd Baron Methuen.png 184519 June 1911 [99] 1932
William Nicholson, 1st Baron Nicholson Royal Engineers Wnicholson.jpg 184519 June 1911 [100] 1918
John French, 1st Earl of Ypres 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars Major-General Sir J.D.P. French.jpg 18523 June 1913 [101] 1925
Nicholas II of Russia — (Emperor of Russia) Nicholas II of Russia painted by Earnest Lipgart.jpg 18681 January 1916 [102] 1918
Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig 7th Queen's Own Hussars Douglas Haig.jpg 18611 January 1917 [103] 1928
Sir Charles Egerton 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment of Foot Sir Charles Egerton.jpg 184816 March 1917 [104] 1921
Emperor Taishō (Yoshihito)— (Emperor of Japan) Emperor Taisho.jpg 18791 January 1918 [105] 1926
Ferdinand Foch 35th Artillery Regiment – (French Army) Foch.jpg 185119 July 1919 [106] 1929
Herbert Plumer, 1st Viscount Plumer York and Lancaster Regiment Gen sir herbert plumer.jpg 185731 July 1919 [107] 1932
Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Allenby.jpg 186131 July 1919 [108] 1936
Sir Henry Wilson, 1st Baronet Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) Henry Hughes Wilson, British general, photo portrait standing in uniform.jpg 186431 July 1919 [109] 1922
Sir William Robertson, 1st Baronet 3rd Dragoon Guards Sir William Robertson.jpg 186029 March 1920 [110] 1933
Sir Arthur Barrett 44th (East Essex) Regiment of Foot Field Marshal Sir Arthur Barrett.jpg 185712 April 1921 [111] 1926
Albert I of Belgium — (King of the Belgians) Albert I Koning der Belgen.jpg 18754 May 1921 [112] 1934
William Birdwood, 1st Baron Birdwood Royal Scots Fusiliers William Birdwood.jpg 186520 March 1925 [113] 1951
Sir Claud Jacob Worcestershire Regiment LtGen Claud William Jacob.jpg 186330 November 1926 [114] 1948
George Milne, 1st Baron Milne Royal Artillery George Francis Milne.jpg 186630 January 1928 [115] 1948
Alfonso XIII of Spain — (King of Spain) Alfonso XIII in uniform of a British Field Marshall.jpg 18863 June 1928 [116] 1941
Hirohito (Emperor Shōwa)— (Emperor of Japan) Hirohito in dress uniform.jpg 190126 June 1928 [117] 1989
Julian Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy King's Royal Rifle Corps Julian Byng.jpg 186117 July 1932 [118] 1935
Rudolph Lambart, 10th Earl of Cavan Grenadier Guards Earl of Cavan.jpg 186531 October 1932 [119] 1946
Philip Chetwode, 1st Baron Chetwode Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Philipchetwode.jpg 186913 February 1933 [120] 1950
Sir Archibald Montgomery-Massingberd Royal Artillery Mmassingberd.jpg 18717 June 1935 [121] 1947
King Edward VIII — (Royal Family) Edward Prince of Wales during his visit to Canada in 1919.jpg 189421 January 1936 [122] 1972
Sir Cyril Deverell West Yorkshire Regiment Sir Cyril John Deverell.jpg 187415 May 1936 [123] 1947
King George VI — (Royal Family) King George VI of England, formal photo portrait, circa 1940-1946.jpg 189512 December 1936 [124] 1952
Edmund Ironside, 1st Baron Ironside Royal Artillery Edmund Ironside.jpg 188020 July 1940 [125] 1959
Jan Smuts — (South African Army) JanSmutsFM.png 187024 May 1941 [126] 1950
Sir John Dill Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment The British Army in North Africa, 1941 E2384E.jpg 188118 November 1941 [127] 1944
John Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort, VC Grenadier Guards General the Viscount Gort Vc, Gcb, Cbe, Dso, Mvo, Mc Art.IWMARTLD730.jpg 18861 January 1943 [128] 1946
Archibald Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell Black Watch Archibald Wavell2.jpg 18831 January 1943 [129] 1950
Alan Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke Royal Artillery Alan Brooke at desk 1942.jpg 18831 January 1944 [130] 1963
Harold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis Irish Guards Harold Alexander E010750678-v8.jpg 18914 June 1944 [131] 1969
Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein Royal Warwickshire Regiment Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery, 1944 TR2721.jpg 18871 September 1944 [132] 1976
Henry Maitland Wilson, 1st Baron Wilson Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) Hmwilson1944.jpg 188129 December 1944 [133] 1964
Sir Claude Auchinleck 62nd Punjabis (Indian Army) Auchinleck.jpg 18841 June 1946 [134] 1981
William 'Bill' Slim, 1st Viscount Slim Royal Warwickshire Regiment FM william Slim.jpg 18914 January 1948 [135] 1970
Sir Thomas Blamey — (Australian Army) Blamey.jpg 18848 June 1950 [136] 1951
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh Royal Navy – (Royal Family) Prince Phillip of Edinburgh.jpg 192115 January 1953 [137] [138] 2021
John Harding, 1st Baron Harding of Petherton Somerset Light Infantry Jharding.jpg 189621 July 1953 [139] 1989
Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester King's Royal Rifle Corps Dukeofgloucester.jpg 190031 March 1955 [140] 1974
Sir Gerald Templer Royal Irish Fusiliers Sir gerald templer.gif 189827 November 1956 [141] 1979
Sir Francis Festing Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own) Ffesting.jpg 19021 September 1960 [142] 1976
Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah — (King of Nepal) Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah.jpg 192017 October 1962 [143] 1972
Haile Selassie — (Emperor of Ethiopia) Haile Selassie in full dress (cropped).jpg 189220 January 1965 [144] 1975
Sir Richard Hull 17th/21st Lancers 19078 February 1965 [145] 1989
Sir James Cassels Seaforth Highlanders 190729 February 1968 [146] 1996
Sir Geoffrey Baker Royal Artillery GHB Constable of HM The Tower of London photo frame size.jpg 191231 January 1971 [147] 1980
Michael Carver, Baron Carver Royal Tank Corps 191518 July 1973 [148] 2001 [149]
Sir Roland Gibbs King's Royal Rifle Corps 192113 July 1979 [150] 2004 [151]
Birendra Bir Bikram Shah — (King of Nepal) Birendra Bir Bikram Shah.jpg 194518 November 1980 [152] 2001 [153]
Edwin Bramall, Baron Bramall King's Royal Rifle Corps Lord Bramall.jpg 19231 January 1982 [154] 2019 [155]
Sir John Stanier 7th Queen's Own Hussars 192510 July 1985 [156] 2007 [157]
Sir Nigel Bagnall Green Howards 19279 September 1988 [158] 2002 [159]
Richard Vincent, Baron Vincent of Coleshill Royal Artillery 19312 April 1991 [160] 2018
Sir John Chapple 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles) 193114 February 1992 [161] 2022
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent Royal Scots Greys – (Royal Family) Duke of Kent2013,6.jpg 193511 June 1993 [162] living
Peter Inge, Baron Inge Green Howards Field Marshal Sir Peter Inge KG, GCB.JPG 193515 March 1994 [163] 2022
King Charles III Welsh Guards, Royal Navy, and Royal Air Force – (Royal Family) Charles III (No. 4 Dress) Salute 2024.jpg 194816 June 2012 [7] living
Charles Guthrie, Baron Guthrie of Craigiebank Welsh Guards General Guthrie.jpg 193816 June 2012 [7] living
Michael Walker, Baron Walker of Aldringham Royal Anglian Regiment General Sir Michael Walker.png 194413 June 2014 [8] living

See also


  1. Titles and styles are those held by the field marshal when they died, or those currently held in the case of living field marshals; in most cases, these are not the same as the titles and styles held by an officer upon their promotion to the rank, nor (in the case of operational field marshals) those held when the officer retired from active service. All post-nominal letters, with the exception of 'VC' (denoting the Victoria Cross) are omitted.
  2. The regiment given is the regiment into which the field marshal was commissioned. This is not necessarily the regiment the officer first joined, nor is it necessarily the regiment in which the officer spent most of his career. An '—' indicates either that the officer did not lead a career in the British Army, or that the officer was not initially commissioned into a formal regiment.

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Air chief marshal is a high-ranking air officer rank used by some air forces, with origins from the Royal Air Force. The rank is used by air forces of many countries that have historical British influence. This rank is also equivalent to an Admiral in a navy or a full general in an army or other nations' air forces.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Michael Carver</span> British Field Marshal (1915–2001)

Field Marshal Richard Michael Power Carver, Baron Carver, was a senior British Army officer. Lord Carver served as the Chief of the General Staff (CGS), the professional head of the British Army, and then as the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), the professional head of the British Armed Forces. He served with distinction during the Second World War and organised the administration of British forces deployed in response to the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya and later in his career provided advice to the British government on the response to the early stages of The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roland Gibbs</span> British Field Marshal (1921–2004)

Field Marshal Sir Roland Christopher Gibbs, was Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army, from 1976 to 1979, and Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire from 1989 to 1996. He saw active service in the Second World War and acted as chief of staff to the commander of the operation to evacuate all British troops and civilians from Aden during the Aden Emergency.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nigel Bagnall</span> British Army general

Field Marshal Sir Nigel Thomas Bagnall, was a career British Army officer who served as Commander-in-Chief of the British Army of the Rhine, from 1983 to 1985, and then as Chief of the General Staff (CGS), the professional head of the British Army, from 1985 to 1988. Early in his military career he saw action during the Palestine Emergency, the Malayan Emergency, the Cyprus Emergency and the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation, and later in his career he provided advice to the British Government on the future role of Britain's nuclear weapons.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Chapple (British Army officer)</span> British Army officer (1931–2022)

Field Marshal Sir John Lyon Chapple, was a British Army officer who served as Chief of the General Staff (CGS), the professional head of the British Army, from 1988 to 1992. Early in his military career he saw action during the Malayan Emergency and again during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation and later in his career he provided advice to the British government during the Gulf War.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Peter Inge, Baron Inge</span> Chief of the General Staff and Defence Staff; head of the British Army (1935–2022)

Field Marshal Peter Anthony Inge, Baron Inge, was a senior British Army officer. He was the Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army, from 1992 to 1994 and then served as Chief of the Defence Staff before retiring in 1997. Early in his military career he saw action during the Malayan Emergency and Operation Banner in Northern Ireland, and later in his career he provided advice to the British Government during the Bosnian War.

Marshal of the air force or marshal of the air is a five-star rank and an English-language term for the most senior rank in some air forces. It is usually the direct equivalent of a general of the air force in other air forces, a field marshal or general of the army in many armies, or a naval admiral of the fleet.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Stanier (British Army officer)</span> British Army officer (1925–2007)

Field Marshal Sir John Wilfred Stanier, was a senior British Army officer who served as Chief of the General Staff from 1982 to 1985. He was the first person after the Second World War to become the professional head of the British Army without having seen active service in that war or any subsequent campaign.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Field marshal (Australia)</span> Rank in Australian Army

Field marshal is the highest rank of the Australian Army and was created as a direct equivalent of the British military rank of field marshal. It is a five-star rank, equivalent to the ranks in the other armed services of Admiral of the Fleet in the Royal Australian Navy, and Marshal of the Royal Australian Air Force. The subordinate army rank is general.

Field marshal is a five–star officer rank and the highest attainable rank in the Indian Army. Field marshal ranks immediately above general, but is not in use in the army's current structure. Awarded only twice, field marshal is a rank bestowed on generals for ceremonial purposes or during times of war.

Australian Army officers receive a commission from the Governor-General of Australia, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defence Force. The commission is signed by both the Governor-General and the Minister of Defence. Rank insignia for commissioned officers is identical to that of the British Army, with the addition of a band containing the word "Australia" beneath the insignia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Five-star rank</span> Senior military rank used by some nations armed forces

A five-star rank is the highest military rank in many countries. The rank is that of the most senior operational military commanders, and within NATO's standard rank scale it is designated by the code OF-10. Not all armed forces have such a rank, and in those that do the actual insignia of the five-star ranks may not contain five stars. For example: the insignia for the French OF-10 rank maréchal de France contains seven stars; the insignia for the Portuguese marechal contains four gold stars. The stars used on the various Commonwealth of Nations rank insignias are sometimes colloquially referred to as pips, but in fact either are stars of the orders of the Garter, Thistle or Bath or are Eversleigh stars, depending on the wearer's original regiment or corps, and are used in combination with other heraldic items, such as batons, crowns, swords or maple leaves.

General is the second-highest rank, and the highest active rank, of the Australian Army and was created as a direct equivalent of the British military rank of general; it is also considered a four-star rank.



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  2. The Daily Telegraph& 12 April 2008.
  3. Heathcote, p. 4.
  4. Heathcote, p. 1.
  5. "No. 60350". The London Gazette. 7 December 2012. p. 23557.
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  14. London Gazette 3 June 1881.
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  16. London Gazette 24 December 1858.
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  19. Heathcote, pp. 320–326, Table 1.
  20. 1 2 Heathcote, pp. 166–167.
  21. Heathcote, pp. 71–73.
  22. Heathcote, pp. 52–53.
  23. Heathcote, pp. 99–101.
  24. Heathcote, pp. 97–99.
  25. Heathcote, pp. 272–273.
  26. Heathcote, pp. 285–287.
  27. Heathcote, pp. 245–246.
  28. Heathcote, pp. 211–212.
  29. Heathcote, pp. 202–204.
  30. Heathcote, pp. 234–235.
  31. Heathcote, pp. 92–94.
  32. Heathcote, pp. 302–303.
  33. Heathcote, pp. 179–180.
  34. Heathcote, pp. 127–130.
  35. Heathcote, pp. 73–75.
  36. Heathcote, pp. 23–26.
  37. Heathcote, pp. 153–154.
  38. Heathcote, pp. 178–179.
  39. Heathcote, pp. 277–279.
  40. Heathcote, pp. 82–83.
  41. Heathcote, pp. 199–200.
  42. Heathcote, pp. 112–113.
  43. Heathcote, pp. 291–295.
  44. Heathcote, pp. 116–118.
  45. Heathcote, pp. 9–10.
  46. Heathcote, pp. 301–302.
  47. Heathcote, pp. 200–202.
  48. Heathcote, pp. 222–223.
  49. Heathcote, pp. 89–90.
  50. Heathcote, pp. 182–183.
  51. Heathcote, pp. 12–13.
  52. Heathcote, pp. 297–299.
  53. Heathcote, pp. 232–234.
  54. Heathcote, pp. 154–155.
  55. Heathcote, pp. 235–237.
  56. Heathcote, pp. 267–269.
  57. Heathcote, pp. 94–96.
  58. Heathcote, pp. 63–64.
  59. Heathcote, pp. 171–173.
  60. Heathcote, pp. 90–92.
  61. Heathcote, pp. 46–47.
  62. Heathcote, pp. 148–150.
  63. Heathcote, pp. 141–144.
  64. Heathcote, pp. 69–71.
  65. Heathcote, pp. 316–318.
  66. Heathcote, pp. 146–148.
  67. Heathcote, pp. 255–256.
  68. Heathcote, pp. 60–63.
  69. Heathcote, pp. 243–245.
  70. Heathcote, pp. 121–122.
  71. Heathcote, pp. 173–174.
  72. Heathcote, pp. 105–108.
  73. Heathcote, pp. 256–257.
  74. Heathcote, pp. 318–319.
  75. Heathcote, pp. 253–255.
  76. Heathcote, pp. 223–225.
  77. Heathcote, pp. 150–151.
  78. Heathcote, pp. 207–208.
  79. Heathcote, pp. 96–97.
  80. Heathcote, pp. 237–238.
  81. Heathcote, pp. 41–43.
  82. Heathcote, pp. 257–259.
  83. Heathcote, pp. 163–165.
  84. Heathcote, pp. 270–272.
  85. Heathcote, pp. 311–314.
  86. Heathcote, pp. 246–250.
  87. Heathcote, pp. 114–115.
  88. Heathcote, pp. 83–85.
  89. Heathcote, pp. 299–301.
  90. Heathcote, pp. 230–232.
  91. Heathcote, pp. 26–28.
  92. Heathcote, pp. 314–316.
  93. Heathcote, pp. 295–297.
  94. Heathcote, pp. 125–127.
  95. Heathcote, pp. 151–153.
  96. Heathcote, pp. 59–60.
  97. Heathcote, pp. 191–197.
  98. Heathcote, pp. 135–137.
  99. Heathcote, pp. 205–207.
  100. Heathcote, pp. 228–230.
  101. Heathcote, pp. 130–135.
  102. Heathcote, pp. 225–228.
  103. Heathcote, pp. 155–160.
  104. Heathcote, pp. 115–116.
  105. Heathcote, pp. 319–320.
  106. Heathcote, pp. 122–125.
  107. Heathcote, pp. 240–243.
  108. Heathcote, pp. 19–23.
  109. Heathcote, pp. 303–308.
  110. Heathcote, pp. 250–253.
  111. Heathcote, pp. 39–41.
  112. Heathcote, pp. 10–12.
  113. Heathcote, pp. 43–45.
  114. Heathcote, pp. 190–191.
  115. Heathcote, pp. 208–211.
  116. Heathcote, pp. 17–19.
  117. Heathcote, pp. 176–178.
  118. Heathcote, pp. 64–69.
  119. Heathcote, pp. 197–199.
  120. Heathcote, pp. 86–89.
  121. Heathcote, pp. 219–222.
  122. Heathcote, pp. 108–112.
  123. Heathcote, pp. 101–102.
  124. Heathcote, pp. 137–141.
  125. Heathcote, pp. 185–190.
  126. Heathcote, pp. 264–267.
  127. Heathcote, pp. 102–105.
  128. Heathcote, pp. 279–283.
  129. Heathcote, pp. 287–291.
  130. Heathcote, pp. 56–59.
  131. Heathcote, pp. 13–17.
  132. Heathcote, pp. 212–219.
  133. Heathcote, pp. 308–311.
  134. Heathcote, pp. 28–35.
  135. Heathcote, pp. 259–264.
  136. "No. 38930". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 June 1950. p. 2811.
  137. Heathcote, pp. 238–240.
  138. "No. 39752". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 January 1953. p. 339.
  139. Heathcote, pp. 167–171.
  140. Heathcote, pp. 174–176.
  141. Heathcote, pp. 273–277.
  142. Heathcote, pp. 118–121.
  143. Heathcote, pp. 204–205.
  144. Heathcote, pp. 160–163.
  145. Heathcote, pp. 180–182.
  146. Heathcote, pp. 79–82.
  147. Heathcote, pp. 37–39.
  148. Heathcote, pp. 75–79.
  149. The Guardian& 12 December 2001.
  150. Heathcote, pp. 144–146.
  151. The Daily Telegraph& 2 November 2004.
  152. Heathcote, pp. 45–46.
  153. BBC News & 2 June 2001.
  154. Heathcote, pp. 53–56.
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  156. Heathcote, pp. 269–270.
  157. The Times& 13 November 2007.
  158. Heathcote, pp. 35–37.
  159. The Independent& 11 April 2002.
  160. Heathcote, pp. 283–285.
  161. Heathcote, pp. 85–86.
  162. Heathcote, pp. 113–114.
  163. Heathcote, pp. 183–185.

Works cited