Military Wiki
Sir Hugh Beach
Born 20 May 1923(1923-05-20) (age 99)
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1941-1981
Rank General
Commands held Staff College, Camberley
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Military Cross

General Sir Hugh Beach, GBE, KCB, MC (born 20 May 1923) is a British soldier who, in retirement, researches and advises on defence policy, arms control and disarmament, with an active interest in promoting concerns about ethical issues of peace and war.

Military career

Educated at Winchester College, Peterhouse, Cambridge (MA 1961) and Edinburgh University (M.Sc. 1971), Beach joined the Corps of Royal Engineers in August 1941. He saw active service in France in 1944 and in Java in 1946. During the 1960s he commanded an engineer regiment and an infantry brigade, both at Osnabrück in Germany. He was director of army staff duties at the Ministry of Defence from 1971 to 1973, commandant of the Staff College, Camberley from 1974 to 1975 and Deputy Commander-in-Chief UK Land Forces from 1976 to 1977 before becoming Master-General of the Ordnance (Army Board member for Procurement) from 1977 to 1981.

Retiring from the army in 1981, he served as warden of St. George's House, Windsor Castle from 1981 to 1986, vice-Lord Lieutenant of Greater London from 1981 to 1987, Chief Royal Engineer from 1982 to 1987 and member of the Security Commission from 1982 to 1991. He chaired Ministry of Defence Study Groups on Censorship in War in 1983 and Education in the Army in 1984. He was director of the Council for Arms Control from 1986 to 1989. In the 1990s he was chairman of the governors of Gordon's and Bedales schools, and also chaired the boards of the Church Army and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. He is currently a member of the board or executive committee of: the Council for Christian Approaches to Defence,[1] the Centre for Defence Studies (King's College London), the Verification Technology Information Centre (VERTIC),[2] the International Security Information Service (ISIS),[3] and of the British Pugwash Group.[4] He lectures and has contributed chapters to over two dozen books as well as publishing a number of monographs, articles and book reviews. In 1999 he co-authored, with Nadine Gurr, a book on British nuclear weapons policy[5] and, in 2001, a briefing paper on cluster bombs,[6]

He holds an honorary Doctorate of Civil Laws from the University of Kent in Canterbury (1990). He is an honorary fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge and of the Chartered Institute of Building Service Engineers, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute.[7]

In January 2009, The Times newspaper published a joint letter from Field Marshal Lord Bramall, General Lord Ramsbotham and General Beach arguing that the UK government should fund more realistic military needs rather than perpetuate its Trident programme,[8] arguing that

Nuclear weapons have shown themselves to be completely useless as a deterrent to the threats and scale of violence we currently, or are likely to, face — particularly international terrorism; and the more you analyse them the more unusable they appear.


  1. Council for Christian Approaches to Defence and Disarmament
  3. ISIS
  4. Pugwash Conferences on science and world affairs
  5. Beach H and Gurr N Flattering the Passions, Or, The Bomb and Britain's Bid for a World Role
  6. Beach H Cluster Bombs: the Case for New Controls, ISIS Europe, May 2001
  7. Hugh Beach – A Memoir (ed) David Evans, (W. G. H. Beach, London, 2003)
  8. UK does not need a nuclear deterrent The Times, 16 January 2009
Military offices
Preceded by
Patrick Howard-Dobson
Commandant of the Staff College, Camberley
Succeeded by
John Stanier
Preceded by
Sir Allan Taylor
Deputy Commander-in-Chief UK Land Forces
Succeeded by
Sir Peter Hudson
Preceded by
Sir John Gibbon
Master-General of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
Sir Peter Leng
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir David Willison
Chief Royal Engineer
Succeeded by
Sir George Cooper

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