Army and Royal Marines insignia
Lieutenant General John Cooper wearing both three-star insignia and British lieutenant general insignia
|Next higher rank||General|
|Next lower rank||Major-general|
Lieutenant general (Lt Gen), formerly more commonly lieutenant-general, is a senior rank in the British Army and the Royal Marines. It is the equivalent of a multinational three-star rank; some British lieutenant generals sometimes wear three-star insignia, in addition to their standard insignia, when on multinational operations.
The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.
The Corps of Royal Marines (RM) is the amphibious light infantry and also one of the five fighting arms of the Royal Navy. The marines can trace their origins back to the formation of the English Army's "Duke of York and Albany's maritime regiment of Foot" at the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company on 28 October 1664.
An officer of three-star rank is a senior commander in many of the armed services holding a rank described by the NATO code of OF-8. The term is also used by some armed forces which are not NATO members. Typically, three-star officers hold the rank of vice admiral, lieutenant general, or in the case of those air forces with a separate rank structure, air marshal.
Lieutenant general is a superior rank to major general, but subordinate to a (full) general. The rank has a NATO rank code of OF-8, equivalent to a vice-admiral in the Royal Navy and an air marshal in the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the air forces of many Commonwealth countries.
Major general, is a "two-star" rank in the British Army and Royal Marines. The rank was also briefly used by the Royal Air Force for a year and a half, from its creation to August 1919. In the British Army, a major general is the customary rank for the appointment of division commander. In the Royal Marines, the rank of major general is held by the Commandant General.
General is the highest rank currently achievable by serving officers of the British Army. The rank can also be held by Royal Marines officers in tri-service posts, for example, General Sir Gordon Messenger the Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff. It ranks above lieutenant-general and, in the Army, is subordinate to the rank of field marshal, which is now only awarded as an honorary rank. The rank of general has a NATO-code of OF-9, and is a four-star rank. It is equivalent to a full admiral in the Royal Navy or an air chief marshal in the Royal Air Force.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO's Headquarters are located in Evere, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.
The rank insignia for both the Army and the Royal Marines is a crown over a crossed sabre and baton. Since the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the St Edward's Crown, commonly known as the Queen's Crown, has been depicted. Prior to 1953, the Tudor Crown, commonly known as the King's Crown was used.
St Edward's Crown is the centrepiece of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. Named after Saint Edward the Confessor, it has been traditionally used to crown English and British monarchs at their coronations since the 13th century.
The Tudor Crown, also known as the King's Crown or Imperial Crown, is a widely used symbol in heraldry of the United Kingdom. Officially it was used from 1902 to 1953 representing not only the British monarch personally, but also "the Crown", meaning the sovereign source of governmental authority. As such, it appeared on numerous official emblems in the United Kingdom, British Empire and Commonwealth.
Ordinarily, lieutenant general is the rank held by the officer in command of an entire battlefield corps. The General Officer Commanding NATO's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps is a British lieutenant general. Historically, I Corps and II Corps were commanded by British lieutenant generals. Additionally, three lieutenant general appointments also exist within the extant British Army's Headquarters. They are the Commander Field Army, the Commander Home Command and the Chief of Materiel (Land) in Defence Equipment and Support (double-hatted as the Quartermaster-General to the Forces).
Corps is a term used for several different kinds of organisation. A military innovation by Napoleon, the formation was first named as such in 1805.
The Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation High Readiness Force (Land) Headquarters ready for deployment worldwide.
I Corps was an army corps in existence as an active formation in the British Army for most of the 80 years from its creation in the First World War until the end of the Cold War, longer than any other corps. It had a short-lived precursor during the Waterloo Campaign.
Although the senior appointment in the Royal Marines, the Commandant General, has held the lower rank of major general since 1996, prior to this date the Commandant General was a lieutenant general or full general. However, as a few more senior positions in the British Armed Forces are open to officers from different services, Royal Marines officers can and do reach the rank of lieutenant general, being posted to Joint Forces or MOD postings. Examples include Lieutenant-General Sir Robert Fry, Lieutenant-General Sir James Dutton and Lieutenant-General Sir David Capewell.
The Commandant General Royal Marines is the professional head of the Royal Marines. The title has existed since 1943. The Commandant General Royal Marines is responsible for advising the First Sea Lord, with professional responsibility for all Royal Marine units; however his direct reporting line is to the Fleet Commander. He is assisted by a Deputy Commandant General, whose rank is brigadier. This position is not to be confused with Captain General Royal Marines, the ceremonial head. The Commandant General Royal Marines is the counterpart to the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, although the latter is a full general. He is based at Navy Command, as part of the headquarters staff.
Lieutenant General Sir Robert Alan Fry, served as a Royal Marine for over 30 years and was involved in military operations in Northern Ireland, the Gulf, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. After retirement from military service he went into private business and, in 2007, became CEO of Hewlett Packard's defence and security business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In 2010 he was appointed chairman of McKinney Rogers International and subsequently, in 2011, Albany Associates.
Lieutenant General Sir James Benjamin "Jim" Dutton, is a retired Royal Marines officer and former Governor of Gibraltar. He held various staff positions in his early career, before commanding 40 Commando. As a brigadier, he held two high-level staff posts—the first at the Ministry of Defence in London, as Director of NATO policy, and the second as a British liaison to The Pentagon shortly after the September 11 attacks, where he was involved in the planning for the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan. A newspaper later pinpointed this as the moment when Dutton's career "took off".
From 1 April 1918 to 31 July 1919, the Royal Air Force maintained the rank of lieutenant general. It was superseded by the rank of air marshal on the following day. Although Sir David Henderson was an RAF lieutenant general, the then RAF Chief-of-Staff, Sir Hugh Trenchard never held this rank. Additionally, the retired Royal Navy admiral, John de Mestre Hutchison, held an honorary RAF commission in the rank of lieutenant general.
Lieutenant General Sir David Henderson, was the senior leader of British military aviation during the First World War, having previously established himself as the leading authority on tactical intelligence in the British Army. He served as the commander of the Royal Flying Corps in the field during the first year of the First World War and was instrumental in establishing the Royal Air Force as an independent service. After the war Henderson was the first Director-General of the League of Red Cross Societies.
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Hugh Montague Trenchard, 1st Viscount Trenchard, was a British officer who was instrumental in establishing the Royal Air Force. He has been described as the Father of the Royal Air Force.
Admiral John de Mestre Hutchison, was a Royal Navy officer who held senior posts during the early part of the 20th century.
The RAF lieutenant general rank insignia was similar to the naval rank insignia for a vice-admiral, with a broad band of gold being worn on the cuff with two narrower bands above it. Unlike the naval insignia the RAF lieutenant general insignia did not have an executive curl.
Brigadier is a military rank, the seniority of which depends on the country. In some countries, it is a senior rank above colonel, equivalent to a brigadier general, typically commanding a brigade of several thousand soldiers. In other countries, it is a non-commissioned rank.
Lieutenant commander is a commissioned officer rank in many navies. The rank is superior to a lieutenant and subordinate to a commander. The corresponding rank in most armies and air forces is major, and in the Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth air forces is squadron leader.
Brigadier general or brigade general is a senior rank in the armed forces. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of colonel and major general. When appointed to a field command, a brigadier general is typically in command of a brigade consisting of around 4,000 troops. In some countries a brigadier general is informally designated as a one-star general (OF-6).
Marshal of the Royal Air Force (MRAF) is the highest rank in the British Royal Air Force (RAF). In peacetime it was granted to RAF officers in the appointment of Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), and to retired Chiefs of the Air Staff (CAS), who were promoted to it on their last day of service. While surviving marshals of the RAF retain the rank for life, the highest rank to which officers on active service are promoted is now air chief marshal. Although general promotions to Marshal of the Royal Air Force have been discontinued since the British defence cuts of the 1990s, further promotions to the rank may still be made in wartime, for members of the Royal Family and certain very senior RAF air officers in peacetime at the discretion of the monarch; all such promotions in peacetime are only honorary, however. In 2012, Charles, Prince of Wales was promoted to the rank while in 2014 Lord Stirrup, who had served as Chief of the Air Staff and Chief of the Defence Staff for over seven years, was also promoted.
Squadron leader is a commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence. It is also sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure.
Air commodore is a one-star rank and the most junior general rank of the air-officer which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force. The rank is also used by the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence such as Zimbabwe, and it is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure. The name of the rank is always the full phrase and is never shortened to Commodore, which is a rank in various naval forces.
Air vice-marshal (AVM) is a two-star air officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force. The rank is also used by the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence and it is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure. Air vice-marshals may be addressed generically as "air marshal".
Air Marshal is a three-star air-officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force. The rank is also used by the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence, including the Commonwealth, and it is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure.
Air chief marshal is a four-star air officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force, where it is the most senior peacetime air force rank. The rank is also used by the air forces of many countries that have historical British influence and it is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-British air force-specific rank structure.
Flight sergeant is a senior non-commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and several other air forces which have adopted all or part of the RAF rank structure. It is equivalent to a staff sergeant or colour sergeant in the British Army, a colour sergeant in the Royal Marines, and a chief petty officer in the Royal Navy, and has a NATO rank code of OR-7. In the RAF, flight sergeant ranks above chief technician and below warrant officer.
The South African National Defence Force's rank system is largely based on the British system, with the Air Force sharing the Army rank titles. Rank titles changed over time as did the insignia.
A four-star rank is the rank of any four-star officer described by the NATO OF-9 code. Four-star officers are often the most senior commanders in the armed services, having ranks such as (full) admiral, (full) general, or air chief marshal. This designation is also used by some armed forces that are not North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) members.
An officer of two-star rank is a senior commander in many of the armed services holding a rank described by the NATO code of OF-7. The term is also used by some armed forces which are not NATO members. Typically, two-star officers hold the rank of rear admiral, counter admiral, major general, or in the case of those air forces with a separate rank structure, air vice-marshal.
Captain (Capt) is a junior officer rank of the British Army and Royal Marines and in both services it ranks above lieutenant and below major with a NATO ranking code of OF-2. The rank is equivalent to a lieutenant in the Royal Navy and to a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force. The rank of captain in the Royal Navy is considerably more senior and the two ranks should not be confused.
A warrant officer (WO) in the British Armed Forces is a member of the highest group of non-commissioned ranks, holding the Queen's warrant, which is signed by the Secretary of State for Defence. Warrant officers are not saluted as they do not hold the Queen's Commission, however they are to be addressed as 'Sir/Ma'am' by subordinates. Commissioned officers may address warrant officers either by their appointment or as "Mister", "Mrs", or "Ms" and then their last name, e.g. "Mr Smith". Although often referred to along with non-commissioned officers (NCOs), they are not NCOs, but members of a separate group, although all have been promoted from NCO rank.
Lieutenant is a junior officer rank in the British Army and Royal Marines. It ranks above second lieutenant and below captain and has a NATO ranking code of OF-1 and it is the senior subaltern rank. Unlike some armed forces which use first lieutenant, the British rank is simply lieutenant, with no ordinal attached. The rank is equivalent to that of a flying officer in the Royal Air Force (RAF). Although formerly considered senior to a Royal Navy (RN) sub-lieutenant, the British Army and Royal Navy ranks of lieutenant and sub-lieutenant are now considered to be of equivalent status. The Army rank of lieutenant has always been junior to the Navy's rank of lieutenant.
|NATO rank code||Student officer||OF-1||OF-2||OF-3||OF-4||OF-5|| OF-6|
|Royal Navy||O Cdt||Mid||SLt||Lt||Lt Cdr||Cdr||Capt||Cdre||RAdm||VAdm||Adm||Adm of the Fleet|
|Royal Marines||O Cdt||2Lt||Lt||Capt||Maj||Lt Col||Col||Brig||Maj-Gen||Lt-Gen||Gen||Capt-Gen|
|Army||O Cdt||2Lt||Lt||Capt||Maj||Lt Col||Col||Brig||Maj-Gen||Lt-Gen||Gen||Fd Mshl|
|Royal Air Force||Off Cdt / SO||APO / Plt Off||Fg Off||Flt Lt||Sqn Ldr||Wg Cdr||Gp Capt||Air Cdre||AVM||Air Mshl||Air Chf Mshl||Mshl of the RAF|