Military Wiki

The flag of a British Field Marshal is the Union Flag.[1]

Please see "Field Marshal" for other countries which use this rank

Field Marshal is the highest military rank of the British Army.[2] It ranks immediately above the rank of General and is the Army equivalent of an Admiral of the Fleet and a Marshal of the Royal Air Force.

The rank insignia of a Field Marshal in the British Army comprises two crossed batons in a wreath of oak leaves, with a crown above. 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.

The office of Marshal was known in England from the 12th century, but the introduction of the modern military title in Great Britain was a relative latecomer. It was introduced by King George II, who was also Prince-elector of Hanover, in the style of the continental armies. The 1st Earl of Orkney became the first Field Marshal in 1736.

During the early part of the 20th century, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff was usually a Field Marshal. After the creation of the office of Chief of the Defence Staff, Army occupants of the office were Field Marshals until the 1990s.

Current practice is that no Field Marshals are to be routinely appointed in peacetime, the last being Field Marshal The Rt Hon. Lord Inge KG GCB PC DL, although Members of the Royal Family and certain other very senior officers are still eligible to be appointed (none has, however, been appointed since the general suspension of promotions to the rank). The rank of Field Marshal is the only rank in the British Army where the individual never officially retires, as the rank is conferred for life.[3]

Traditionally, the British monarch is a Field Marshal[citation needed], HM The Queen. TRHs The Duke of Edinburgh and The Duke of Kent are two of the few remaining Field Marshals in the British Army.

The Royal Marines do not have an equivalent rank to Field Marshal, although the position of Captain General Royal Marines has the same insignia as an Army Field Marshal.

See also


  1. Bartram, Graham (2005-08-29). "United Kingdom: Ministry of Defence and army". Flags of the World. Retrieved 2006-06-01. 
  2. "Field Marshal" is equivalent to a multinational five-star rank.
  3. "Editorial comment". Flight. "Admirals of the Fleet, Field Marshals, and Marshals of the Royal Air Force do not retire. They remain officers of their respective services even though unemployed." 

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