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 British Army Field Marshal
CountryUnited Kingdom
Service branch British Army
Rank Five-star rank
NATO rank code OF-10
Non-NATO rank O-11
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 St Edward's Crown. Like Marshals of the RAF and Admirals of the Fleet, Field Marshals traditionally remain officers for life, though on half-pay when not in an appointment. [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 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 held the honour, though three (Wilhelm II, German Emperor; Franz Joseph I, Austrian Emperor; and Hirohito, Emperor of Japan) were stripped of it when their countries became enemies of Britain and her 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 to 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 the 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] ImageBornDiedDate of promotion [19]
George Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney Royal Regiment of Foot 1stEarlOfOrkney.jpg 1666173712 January 1736 [20]
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 1680174314 January 1736 [21]
Richard Boyle, 2nd Viscount Shannon Horse Guards Regiment Richard Boyle, 2nd Viscount Shannon by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt.jpg 167417402 July 1739 [22]
François de La Rochefoucauld, Marquis de Montandre Arms of the House of La Rochefoucauld.svg 167217392 July 1739 [23]
John Dalrymple, 2nd Earl of Stair 26th (Cameronian) Regiment of Foot John Dalrymple 2nd Earl of Stair (1673-1747) General and Diplomat.jpg 1673174718 March 1742 [24]
Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham 6th Regiment of Foot Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham by Jean Baptiste van Loo.jpg 1669174914 December 1742 [25]
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 1673174814 December 1742 [26]
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 1685176828 November 1757 [27]
Richard Molesworth, 3rd Viscount Molesworth Royal Scots Lord Molesworth, English School 18th century.jpg 1680175829 November 1757 [28]
John Ligonier, 1st Earl Ligonier 10th Regiment of Foot 1st Earl Ligonier.jpg 1680177030 November 1757 [29]
James O'Hara, 2nd Baron Tyrawley 39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot MontaguTyrawleyUnknown.jpg 169017731 June 1763 [30]
Henry Seymour Conway 5th Royal Irish Lancers Henryseymour.jpg 1721179412 October 1793 [31]
Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh 13th Regiment of Foot WilliamHenryDukeOfGloucesterThomasGainsborough.jpg 1743180512 October 1793 [32]
Sir George Howard 24th Regiment of Foot Lieutenant-General (later Field Marshal Sir) George Howard (1718- c.1796), c.1762.jpg 1720179612 October 1793 [33]
Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany Grenadier Guards Frederick, Duke of York 1800-1820.jpg 1763182710 February 1795 [34]
John Campbell, 5th Duke of Argyll Royal Scots Fusiliers John Campbell, 5th Duke of Argyll (1723-1806) by Thomas Gainsborough.jpg 1723180630 July 1796 [35]
Jeffery Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst Grenadier Guards Jeffreyamherst.jpg 1717179730 July 1796 [36]
John Griffin, 4th Baron Howard de Walden Scots Guards John Griffin, 4th Baron Howard de Walden.jpg 1719179730 July 1796 [37]
Studholme Hodgson Grenadier Guards Studholme Hodgson-cropped.jpg 1708179830 July 1796 [38]
George Townshend, 1st Marquess Townshend 7th Queen's Own Hussars George Townshend.jpg 1724180730 July 1796 [39]
Lord Frederick Cavendish Coldstream Guards 1729180330 July 1796 [40]
Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond Coldstream Guards Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond.jpg 1735180630 July 1796 [41]
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn Royal Fusiliers Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn by Sir William Beechey.jpg 176718205 September 1805 [42]
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington 33rd Regiment of Foot Sir Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.png 1769185221 June 1813 [43]
Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale — (Royal Family; afterwards King of Hanover) Ernest Augustus by Fischer 1823.jpg 177118516 November 1813 [44]
Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge Hanoverian Guards Adolphus Frederick duke of Cambridge.jpg 1774185026 November 1813 [45]
Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh Scots Guards 2ndDukeOfGloucester.jpg 1776183424 May 1816 [46]
Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha — (Royal Family; afterwards King of the Belgians) Saksen-Koburg Leopold-2a.jpeg 1790186524 May 1816 [47]
Charles Moore, 1st Marquess of Drogheda 12th Dragoons Charles Moore, 1st Marquess of Drogheda.jpg 1730182119 July 1821 [48]
William Harcourt, 3rd Earl Harcourt Grenadier Guards 3rdEarlHarcourt.jpg 1743183019 July 1821 [20]
Sir Alured Clarke 50th (Queen's Own) Regiment of Foot Field Marshal Sir Alured Clarke.jpg 1745183222 July 1830 [49]
Sir Samuel Hulse Grenadier Guards Portrait of Sir Samuel Hulse-detail.jpg 1747 or 1748183722 July 1830 [50]
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha — (Royal Family) Prince Albert - Franz Xaver Winterhalter 1842.jpg 181918618 February 1840 [51]
William II — (King of the Netherlands) King Willem II.jpg 1792184928 July 1845 [52]
Sir George Nugent, 1st Baronet 39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot Georgenugent.gif 175718499 November 1846 [53]
Thomas Grosvenor Grenadier Guards Thomas Grosvenor by Robert Bowyer.jpg 176418519 November 1846 [54]
Henry Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey 80th Regiment of Foot (Staffordshire Volunteers) Op77.jpg 176818549 November 1846 [55]
FitzRoy Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan 4th Light Dragoons Fitzroy James Henry Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan by William Salter.jpg 178818555 November 1854 [56]
Stapleton Cotton, 1st Viscount Combermere 23rd Regiment of Foot Stapleton Cotton, 1st Viscount Combermere by Mary Martha Pearson (nee Dutton).jpg 177318652 October 1855 [57]
John Byng, 1st Earl of Strafford 33rd Regiment of Foot John Byng, 1st Earl of Strafford by William Salter.jpg 177218602 October 1855 [58]
Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge Queen's Rangers Henryhardinge.jpg 178518562 October 1855 [59]
John Colborne, 1st Baron Seaton East Devonshire Regiment John Colborne.jpg 177918631 April 1860 [60]
Sir Edward Blakeney 99th Regiment of Foot Edwardblakeney.png 177818689 November 1862 [61]
Hugh Gough, 1st Viscount Gough Seaforth Highlanders Hugh Gough, 1st Viscount Gough, 1850.png 177918699 November 1862 [62]
Prince George, Duke of Cambridge 12th Royal Lancers George 2nd Cambridge.png 181919049 November 1862 [63]
Colin Campbell, 1st Baron Clyde 9th (East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot Lord-clyde.jpg 179218639 November 1862 [64]
Sir Alexander Woodford 9th (East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot Alexander Woodford.png 178218701 January 1868 [65]
Sir William Gomm 9th (East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot Sir William Maynard Gomm by William Salter.jpg 178418751 January 1868 [66]
Sir Hew Ross Royal Artillery Sir Hew Dalrymple Ross by Thomas Heaphy.jpg 177918681 January 1868 [67]
Sir John Burgoyne Royal Engineers John-fox-burgoyne.jpg 178218711 January 1868 [68]
Sir George Pollock, 1st Baronet Bengal Artillery Sir George Pollock, 1st Baronet(3 4 Profile).jpg 1786187224 May 1870 [69]
Sir John FitzGerald — (Retired)1785187729 May 1875 [70]
George Hay, 8th Marquess of Tweeddale Grenadier Guards 8thMarquessOfTweeddale.jpg 1787187629 May 1875 [71]
King Edward VII — (Royal Family) Edward VII in coronation robes.jpg 1841191029 May 1875 [72]
Sir William Rowan 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot Sir William Rowan.jpg 178918792 June 1877 [73]
Sir Charles Yorke 35th (Royal Sussex) Regiment of Foot Field Marshal Sir Charles Yorke.jpg 179018802 June 1877 [74]
Hugh Rose, 1st Baron Strathnairn 93rd (Sutherland Highlanders) Regiment of Foot Hugh Henry Rose, 1st Baron Strathnairn.png 180118852 June 1877 [75]
Robert Napier, 1st Baron Napier of Magdala Bengal Engineer Group Robert Napier, 1st Baron Napier of Magdala - Project Gutenberg eText 16528.png 181018901 January 1883 [76]
Sir Patrick Grant 11th Bengal Native Infantry Patrick Grant.jpg 1804189524 June 1883 [77]
Sir John Michel 64th (2nd Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot John-michel-by-william-notman.jpg 1804188627 March 1886 [78]
Sir Richard Dacres Royal Artillery Richard James Dacres.jpg 1799188627 March 1886 [79]
Lord William Paulet 85th Regiment of Foot (Bucks Volunteers) Lord William Paulet.jpg 1804189310 July 1886 [80]
George Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan 6th Regiment of Foot George Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan.png 1800188821 June 1887 [81]
Sir Lintorn Simmons Royal Engineers SirJohnLintonSimmons.jpg 1821190321 May 1890 [82]
Sir Frederick Haines 4th Regiment of Foot Frederick Haines.jpg 1818190921 May 1890 [83]
Sir Donald Stewart, 1st Baronet 9th Bengal Native Infantry Donald Martin Stewart.jpg 1824190026 May 1894 [84]
Garnet Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley 12th Regiment of Foot Garnet Wolseley.jpg 1833191326 May 1894 [85]
Frederick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts, VC Bengal Artillery Frederick Roberts.jpg 1832191425 May 1895 [86]
Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar 67th (South Hampshire) Regiment of Foot Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar 1855.jpg 1823190222 June 1897 [87]
Sir Neville Bowles Chamberlain 55th Bengal Native Infantry Field Marshal Sir Neville Bowles Chamberlain.jpg 1820190225 April 1900 [88]
Wilhelm II, German Emperor — (German Emperor; King of Prussia) Arthur Stockdale Cope - Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany 1905.jpg 1859194127 January 1901 [89]
Sir Henry Norman 1st Bengal Native Infantry StateLibQld 1 113832 Sir Henry Wylie Norman.jpg 1826190426 June 1902 [90]
Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn Royal Engineers Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught.jpg 1850194226 June 1902 [91]
Sir Evelyn Wood, VC 13th Light Dragoons Wood-evelyn.jpg 183819198 April 1903 [92]
Sir George White, VC 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot George Stewart White-001.jpg 183519128 April 1903 [93]
Franz Joseph I of Austria — (Emperor of Austria; King of Hungary) Kaiser franz.jpg 183019161 September 1903 [94]
Francis Grenfell, 1st Baron Grenfell King's Royal Rifle Corps Francis Wallace Grenfell.jpg 1841192511 April 1908 [95]
Sir Charles Brownlow 51st Sikhs (Frontier Force) Charles Brownlow.jpg 1831191620 June 1908 [96]
Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener Royal Engineers Horatio Herbert Kitchener (cropped).jpg 1850191610 September 1909 [97]
King George V Royal Welsh Fusiliers — (Royal Family) King George 1923 LCCN2014715558 (cropped).jpg 186519367 May 1910 [98]
Paul Methuen, 3rd Baron Methuen Scots Guards Paul Methuen, 3rd Baron Methuen.png 1845193219 June 1911 [99]
William Nicholson, 1st Baron Nicholson Royal Engineers Wnicholson.jpg 1845191819 June 1911 [100]
John French, 1st Earl of Ypres 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars Major-General Sir J.D.P. French.jpg 185219253 June 1913 [101]
Nicholas II of Russia — (Emperor of Russia) Nicholas II of Russia painted by Earnest Lipgart.jpg 186819181 January 1916 [102]
Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig 7th Queen's Own Hussars Douglas Haig.jpg 186119281 January 1917 [103]
Sir Charles Egerton 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment of Foot Sir Charles Egerton.jpg 1848192116 March 1917 [104]
Emperor Taishō (Yoshihito)— (Emperor of Japan) Emperor Taisho.jpg 187919261 January 1918 [105]
Ferdinand Foch 35th Artillery Regiment – (French Army) Foch.jpg 1851192919 July 1919 [106]
Herbert Plumer, 1st Viscount Plumer York and Lancaster Regiment Gen sir herbert plumer.jpg 1857193231 July 1919 [107]
Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Allenby.jpg 1861193631 July 1919 [108]
Sir Henry Wilson, 1st Baronet Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) Henry Hughes Wilson, British general, photo portrait standing in uniform.jpg 1864192231 July 1919 [109]
Sir William Robertson, 1st Baronet 3rd Dragoon Guards Sir William Robertson.jpg 1860193329 March 1920 [110]
Sir Arthur Barrett 44th (East Essex) Regiment of Foot Field Marshal Sir Arthur Barrett.jpg 1857192612 April 1921 [111]
Albert I of Belgium — (King of the Belgians) Albert I Koning der Belgen.jpg 187519344 July 1921 [112]
William Birdwood, 1st Baron Birdwood Royal Scots Fusiliers William Birdwood.jpg 1865195120 March 1925 [113]
Sir Claud Jacob Worcestershire Regiment LtGen Claud William Jacob.jpg 1863194830 November 1926 [114]
George Milne, 1st Baron Milne Royal Artillery George Francis Milne.jpg 1866194830 January 1928 [115]
Alfonso XIII of Spain — (King of Spain) Alfonso XIII in uniform of a British Field Marshall.jpg 188619413 June 1928 [116]
Hirohito (Emperor Shōwa)— (Emperor of Japan) Hirohito in dress uniform.jpg 1901198926 June 1928 [117]
Julian Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy King's Royal Rifle Corps Julian Byng.jpg 1861193517 July 1932 [118]
Rudolph Lambart, 10th Earl of Cavan Grenadier Guards Earl of Cavan.jpg 1865194631 October 1932 [119]
Philip Chetwode, 1st Baron Chetwode Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Philipchetwode.jpg 1869195013 February 1933 [120]
Sir Archibald Montgomery-Massingberd Royal Artillery Mmassingberd.jpg 187119477 June 1935 [121]
King Edward VIII — (Royal Family) Edward Prince of Wales during his visit to Canada in 1919.jpg 1894197221 January 1936 [122]
Sir Cyril Deverell West Yorkshire Regiment Sir Cyril John Deverell.jpg 1874194715 May 1936 [123]
King George VI — (Royal Family) King George VI of England, formal photo portrait, circa 1940-1946.jpg 1895195212 December 1936 [124]
Edmund Ironside, 1st Baron Ironside Royal Artillery Edmund Ironside.jpg 1880195920 July 1940 [125]
Jan Smuts — (South African Army) JanSmutsFM.png 1870195024 May 1941 [126]
Sir John Dill Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment The British Army in North Africa, 1941 E2384E.jpg 1881194418 November 1941 [127]
John Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort, VC Grenadier Guards General the Viscount Gort Vc, Gcb, Cbe, Dso, Mvo, Mc Art.IWMARTLD730.jpg 188619461 January 1943 [128]
Archibald Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell Black Watch Archibald Wavell2.jpg 188319501 January 1943 [129]
Alan Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke Royal Artillery Alan Brooke at desk 1942.jpg 188319631 January 1944 [130]
Harold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis Irish Guards Harold Alexander E010750678-v8.jpg 189119694 June 1944 [131]
Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein Royal Warwickshire Regiment Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery, 1944 TR2721.jpg 188719761 September 1944 [132]
Henry Maitland Wilson, 1st Baron Wilson Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) Hmwilson1944.jpg 1881196429 December 1944 [133]
Sir Claude Auchinleck 62nd Punjabis (Indian Army) Auchinleck.jpg 188419811 June 1946 [134]
William "Bill" Slim, 1st Viscount Slim Royal Warwickshire Regiment FM william Slim.jpg 189119704 January 1948 [135]
Sir Thomas Blamey — (Australian Army) Blamey.jpg 188419518 June 1950 [136]
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh Royal Navy – (Royal Family) Prince Phillip of Edinburgh.jpg 1921202115 January 1953 [137] [138]
John Harding, 1st Baron Harding of Petherton Somerset Light Infantry Jharding.jpg 1896198921 July 1953 [139]
Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester King's Royal Rifle Corps Dukeofgloucester.jpg 1900197431 March 1955 [140]
Sir Gerald Templer Royal Irish Fusiliers Sir gerald templer.gif 1898197927 November 1956 [141]
Sir Francis Festing Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) Ffesting.jpg 190219761 September 1960 [142]
Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah — (King of Nepal) Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah.jpg 1920197217 October 1962 [143]
Haile Selassie I — (Emperor of Ethiopia) Haile Selassie in full dress (cropped).jpg 1892197520 January 1965 [144]
Sir Richard Hull 17th/21st Lancers 190719898 February 1965 [145]
Sir James Cassels Seaforth Highlanders 1907199629 February 1968 [146]
Sir Geoffrey Baker Royal Artillery GHB Constable of HM The Tower of London photo frame size.jpg 1912198031 January 1971 [147]
Michael Carver, Baron Carver Royal Tank Corps 19152001 [148] 18 July 1973 [149]
Sir Roland Gibbs King's Royal Rifle Corps 19212004 [150] 13 July 1979 [151]
Birendra Bir Bikram Shah — (King of Nepal) Birendra Bir Bikram Shah.jpg 19452001 [152] 18 November 1980 [153]
Edwin Bramall, Baron Bramall King's Royal Rifle Corps Lord Bramall.jpg 19232019 [154] 1 January 1982 [155]
Sir John Stanier 7th Queen's Own Hussars 19252007 [156] 10 July 1985 [157]
Sir Nigel Bagnall Green Howards 19272002 [158] 9 September 1988 [159]
Richard Vincent, Baron Vincent of Coleshill Royal Artillery 193120182 April 1991 [160]
Sir John Chapple 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles) 1931202214 February 1992 [161]
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent Royal Scots Greys – (Royal Family) Duke of Kent2013,6.jpg 1935Living11 June 1993 [162]
Peter Inge, Baron Inge Green Howards Field Marshal Sir Peter Inge KG, GCB.JPG 1935202215 March 1994 [163]
King Charles III Welsh Guards, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force – (Royal Family) Charles2015army (cropped).jpg 1948Living16 June 2012 [7]
Charles Guthrie, Baron Guthrie of Craigiebank Welsh Guards General Guthrie.jpg 1938Living16 June 2012 [7]
Michael Walker, Baron Walker of Aldringham Royal Anglian Regiment General Sir Michael Walker.png 1944Living13 June 2014 [8]

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. A "—" 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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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 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 was 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">Richard Vincent, Baron Vincent of Coleshill</span>

Field Marshal Richard Frederick Vincent, Baron Vincent of Coleshill, was a British Army officer. After serving with British Army of the Rhine he served with the Commonwealth Brigade in Malaysia during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation. He commanded 12th Light Air Defence Regiment in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, and later commanded 19th Airportable Brigade. Although he never served as one of the individual service heads, he went on to be Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff in the late 1980s and then Chief of the Defence Staff in the aftermath of the Gulf War. He subsequently became Chair of the Military Committee of NATO in the mid-1990s.

<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 general officer rank and the highest attainable rank in the Indian Army. Field Marshal is ranked immediately above general, but not exercised in the regular army structure. It is a largely ceremonial or wartime rank, having been awarded only twice. A Field Marshal’s insignia consists of the national emblem over a crossed baton and sabre in a lotus blossom wreath.

Indian Army Ranks can be broadly classified into three categories: Commissioned Officers, Junior Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks.

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 rank insignias of various Commonwealth of Nations are sometimes referred to colloquially as pips, but are stars of the orders of the Garter, Thistle or Bath or 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.
  6. The Prince of Wales Archived 29 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine The Queen appoints The Prince of Wales to Honorary Five-Star rank 16 June 2012
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  12. Ashcroft, pp. 79–81.
  13. London Gazette 4 September 1860.
  14. London Gazette 3 June 1881.
  15. London Gazette 26 November 1918.
  16. London Gazette 24 December 1858.
  17. 1 2 Heathcote, p. 7.
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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. The Guardian& 12 December 2001.
  149. Heathcote, pp. 75–79.
  150. The Daily Telegraph& 2 November 2004.
  151. Heathcote, pp. 144–146.
  152. BBC News & 2 June 2001.
  153. Heathcote, pp. 45–46.
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  156. The Times& 13 November 2007.
  157. Heathcote, pp. 269–270.
  158. The Independent& 11 April 2002.
  159. Heathcote, pp. 35–37.
  160. Heathcote, pp. 283–285.
  161. Heathcote, pp. 85–86.
  162. Heathcote, pp. 113–114.
  163. Heathcote, pp. 183–185.

Works cited