Chief of the General Staff (United Kingdom)

Chief of General Staff
Chief of the General Staff.svg
Flag of the Chief of the General Staff
General Carleton-Smith (cropped).jpg
Incumbent
General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith

since 12 June 2018
Ministry of Defence
Abbreviation CGS
Member of Defence Council
Army Board
Reports to Chief of the Defence Staff
Nominator Secretary of State for Defence
Appointer Prime Minister
Subject to formal approval by the Queen-in-Council
Term length No fixed length
Precursor Commander-in-Chief of the Forces
Formation 1904, 1964
First holder Sir Neville Lyttelton
Deputy Deputy Chief of the General Staff

Chief of the General Staff (CGS) has been the title of the professional head of the British Army since 1964. The CGS is a member of both the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Army Board. Prior to 1964 the title was Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS). Since 1959, the post has been immediately subordinate to the Chief of the Defence Staff, the post held by the professional head of the British Armed Forces.

The current Chief of the General Staff is General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith – having succeeded his predecessor, General Sir Nick Carter in June 2018.

Background

The title was also used for five years between the demise of the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in 1904 and the introduction of Chief of the Imperial General Staff in 1909. The post was then held by General Sir Neville Lyttelton and, briefly, by Field Marshal Sir William Nicholson.

Throughout the existence of the post the Chief of the General Staff has been the First Military Member of the Army Board.[1]

Roles

The Chief was responsible for commanding the entire British Army. During the Second World War, General Brooke focused on grand strategy, and his relationships, through the Combined Chiefs of Staff with his American counterparts. He was also responsible for the appointment and evaluation of senior commanders, allocation of manpower and equipment, and the organization of tactical air forces in support of land operations of field commanders; he also had primary responsibility for supervising the military operations of the Free French, Polish, Dutch, Belgian, and Czech units reporting to their governments in exile in London. Brooke vigorously allocated responsibilities to his deputies, and despite the traditional historical distrust that had existed between the military and the political side of the War Office, he got along quite well with his counterpart, the Secretary of State for War, first David Margesson and later, Sir James Grigg. [2]

Appointees

The following table lists all those who have held the post of Chief of the General Staff or its preceding positions. Ranks and honours are as at the completion of their tenure:

No. Portrait Name Took office Left office Time in office Ref
Chiefs of the General Staff
1
Sir Neville Lyttelton
Lyttelton, NevilleGeneral
Sir Neville Lyttelton
(1845–1931)
12 February 1904 2 April 1908 4 years, 50 days [3]
2
Sir William Nicholson
Nicholson, WilliamField Marshal
Sir William Nicholson
(1845–1918)
2 April 1908 22 November 1909 1 year, 234 days [4]
Chiefs of the Imperial General Staff
2
Sir William Nicholson
Nicholson, WilliamField Marshal
Sir William Nicholson
(1845–1918)
22 November 1909 15 March 1912 2 years, 114 days [5]
3
Sir John French
French, JohnField Marshal
Sir John French
(1852–1925)
15 March 1912 6 April 1914 2 years, 22 days [6]
4
Sir Charles Douglas
French, JohnGeneral
Sir Charles Douglas
(1850–1914)
6 April 1914 25 October 1914 † 202 days [7]
5
Sir James Wolfe Murray
Murray, JamesLieutenant-General
Sir James Wolfe Murray
(1853–1919)
25 October 1914 26 September 1915 1 year, 154 days [8]
6
Sir Archibald Murray
Murray, ArchibaldGeneral
Sir Archibald Murray
(1860–1945)
26 September 1915 23 December 1915 88 days [9]
7
Sir William Robertson
Robertson, WilliamGeneral
Sir William Robertson
(1860–1933)
23 December 1915 19 February 1918 2 years, 58 days [10]
8
Sir Henry Wilson
Wilson, HenryField Marshal
Sir Henry Wilson
(1864–1922)
19 February 1918 19 February 1922 4 years, 0 days [11]
9
Rudolph Lambart, 10th Earl of Cavan
Lambart, RudolphField Marshal
Rudolph Lambart, 10th Earl of Cavan
(1865–1946)
19 February 1922 19 February 1926 4 years, 0 days [12]
10
Sir George Milne
Milne, GeorgeField Marshal
Sir George Milne
(1866–1948)
19 February 1926 19 February 1933 7 years, 0 days [13]
11
Sir Archibald Montgomery-Massingberd
Montgomery, ArchibaldField Marshal
Sir Archibald Montgomery-Massingberd
(1871–1947)
19 February 1933 15 May 1936 3 years, 86 days [14]
12
Sir Cyril Deverell
Deverell, CyrilField Marshal
Sir Cyril Deverell
(1874–1947)
15 May 1936 6 December 1937 1 year, 205 days [15]
13
John Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort
Vereker, JohnGeneral
John Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort
(1886–1946)
6 December 1937 3 September 1939 1 year, 271 days [16]
14
Sir Edmund Ironside
Ironside, EdmundGeneral
Sir Edmund Ironside
(1880–1959)
4 September 1939 26 May 1940 266 days [17]
15
Sir John Dill
Dill, JohnField Marshal
Sir John Dill
(1881–1944)
26 May 1940 25 December 1941 1 year, 213 days [18]
16
Sir Alan Brooke
Brooke, AlanField Marshal
Sir Alan Brooke
(1883–1963)
25 December 1941 25 June 1946 4 years, 182 days [19]
17
Sir Bernard Montgomery
Montgomery, BernardField Marshal
Sir Bernard Montgomery
(1887–1976)
26 June 1946 1 November 1948 2 years, 129 days [19][20]
18
Sir William Slim
Slim, WilliamField Marshal
Sir William Slim
(1891–1970)
1 November 1948 1 November 1952 4 years, 0 days [21]
19
Sir John Harding
Harding, JohnField Marshal
Sir John Harding
(1896–1989)
1 November 1952 29 September 1955 2 years, 332 days [22]
20
Sir Gerald Templer
Templer, GeraldField Marshal
Sir Gerald Templer
(1898–1979)
29 September 1955 29 September 1958 3 years, 0 days [23]
21
Sir Francis Festing
Festing, FrancisField Marshal
Sir Francis Festing
(1902–1976)
29 September 1958 1 November 1961 3 years, 33 days [24]
22
Sir Richard Hull
Hull, RichardGeneral
Sir Richard Hull
(1902–1989)
1 November 1961 April 1964 2 years, 5 months [25][26][27]
Chiefs of the General Staff
22
Sir Richard Hull
Hull, RichardField Marshal
Sir Richard Hull
(1902–1989)
[a]
April 1964 8 February 1965 10 months -
23
Sir James Cassels
Cassels, JamesGeneral
Sir James Cassels
(1907–1996)
8 February 1965 1 March 1968 3 years, 22 days [26]
24
Sir Geoffrey Baker
Baker, GeoffreyGeneral
Sir Geoffrey Baker
(1912–1980)
[b]
1 March 1968 1 April 1971 3 years, 31 days [28][29][30]
25
Sir Michael Carver
Carver, MichaelField Marshal
Sir Michael Carver
(1915–2001)
[a]
1 April 1971 19 July 1973 2 years, 109 days [31][29]
26
Sir Peter Hunt
Hunt, PeterGeneral
Sir Peter Hunt
(1916–1988)
[b]
19 July 1973 15 July 1976 2 years, 362 days [32][33]
27
Sir Roland Gibbs
Gibbs, RolandGeneral
Sir Roland Gibbs
(1921–2004)
[b]
15 July 1976 14 July 1979 2 years, 364 days [34][35]
28
Sir Edwin Bramall
Bramall, EdwinField Marshal
Sir Edwin Bramall
(1923–2019)
[a]
14 July 1979 1 August 1982 3 years, 18 days [36][37][38]
29
Sir John Stanier
Stanier, JohnGeneral
Sir John Stanier
(1925–2007)
[b]
1 August 1982 28 July 1985 2 years, 361 days [33][39][40]
30
Sir Nigel Bagnall
Bagnall, NigelGeneral
Sir Nigel Bagnall
(1927–2002)
28 July 1985 10 September 1988 3 years, 44 days [41]
31
Sir John Chapple
Chapple, JohnGeneral
Sir John Chapple
(born 1931)
10 September 1988 14 February 1992 3 years, 157 days [42]
32
Sir Peter Inge
Inge, PeterGeneral
Sir Peter Inge
(born 1935)
[a][b]
14 February 1992 15 March 1994 2 years, 29 days [33][43][44]
33
Sir Charles Guthrie
Guthrie, CharlesGeneral
Sir Charles Guthrie
(born 1938)
[a]
15 March 1994 3 February 1997 2 years, 325 days [44][45]
34
Sir Roger Wheeler
Wheeler, RogerGeneral
Sir Roger Wheeler
(born 1941)
[b]
3 February 1997 17 April 2000 3 years, 74 days [46][47]
35
Sir Michael Walker
Walker, MichaelGeneral
Sir Michael Walker
(born 1944)
[a]
17 April 2000 1 February 2003 2 years, 290 days [48][49][50]
36
Sir Mike Jackson
Jackson, MikeGeneral
Sir Mike Jackson
(born 1944)
1 February 2003 29 August 2006 3 years, 209 days [51]
37
Sir Richard Dannatt
Dannatt, RichardGeneral
Sir Richard Dannatt
(born 1950)
29 August 2006 28 August 2009 2 years, 364 days [52][53]
38
Sir David Richards
Richards, DavidGeneral
Sir David Richards
(born 1950)
[a]
28 August 2009 15 September 2010 1 year, 18 days [54][55]
39
Sir Peter Wall
Wall, PeterGeneral
Sir Peter Wall
(born 1955)
15 September 2010 5 September 2014 3 years, 355 days [56]
40
Sir Nick Carter
Carter, NickGeneral
Sir Nick Carter
(born 1959)
[a]
5 September 2014 11 June 2018 3 years, 279 days [57]
41
Sir Mark Carleton-Smith
Carleton, MarkGeneral
Sir Mark Carleton-Smith
(born 1964)
11 June 2018 Incumbent 2 years, 216 days [58]

See also

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