Military Wiki
Sir John Chapple
Born 27 May 1931(1931-05-27) (age 91)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1954–1992
Rank Field Marshal
Commands held 1/2 2nd Gurkha Rifles
48 Gurkha Infantry Brigade
Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong
UK Land Forces
Battles/wars Malayan Emergency
Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire

Field Marshal Sir John Lyon Chapple, GCB, CBE (born 27 May 1931) was a career British Army officer in the second half of the 20th century. He served as Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army, from 1988 to 1992. Early in his early 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.

Army career

Born the son of C H Chapple and educated at Haileybury College,[1] Chapple undertook National Service and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Artillery on 3 June 1950.[2] He went to Trinity College, Cambridge in October 1951[3] and, while still at University, was transferred to the King's Regiment as a second lieutenant on 4 December 1952,[4] and to the South Lancashire Regiment also in the same rank on 20 October 1953.[5] He became a lieutenant in the South Lancashire Regiment on 27 May 1954[6] and, on leaving University, was transferred to the 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles) on 3 August 1954[7] retaining his rank as a lieutenant.[8]

Chapple served with the regiment in Malaya, Hong Kong and Borneo[1] and was promoted to captain on 9 February 1957[9] and to major on 9 February 1964.[10] Appointed MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours 1969[11] and promoted to lieutenant-colonel on 31 December 1969,[12] he was appointed Commanding Officer of 1 Battalion 2nd Gurkha Rifles in 1970[1] and a member of the Directing Staff at the Staff College, Camberley in 1972.[1] After spending much of the year as a services fellow at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge in 1973, he was posted to the Directorate of Staff Duties at the Ministry of Defence at the end of the year[13] and, having been promoted to colonel on 31 December 1973[14] and to brigadier on 31 December 1975,[15] was made Commander of 48 Gurkha Infantry Brigade in 1976.[1] He became Principal Staff Officer to the Chief of the Defence Staff in 1978,[1] and having been appointed CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours 1980,[16] he became Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong on 13 June 1980,[17] with the substantive rank of major-general from 1 January 1981.[18] He returned to the UK to be Director of Military Operations at the Ministry of Defence on 19 October 1982.[19]

Appointed KCB in the Queen's Birthday Honours 1985,[20] he became Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Programmes and Personnel) on 2 January 1985 in the rank of lieutenant-general[21] and was then appointed Commander-in-Chief, UK Land Forces on 1 June 1987[22] with the rank of general from 29 June 1987.[23] He was appointed ADC to the Queen on 6 October 1987[24] and advanced to GCB in the Queen's Birthday Honours 1988.[25] His last appointment was as Chief of the General Staff from 10 September 1988.[26] He served in this post, in which he provided military advice to the British Government on the conduct of the Gulf War, until he retired with promotion to field marshal on 13 February 1992.[27]

He was appointed Colonel of the 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurka Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles) on 14 September 1986[28] and Honorary Colonel of the Oxford University Officers Training Corps on 21 July 1987.[29]

Later career

He was also a trustee of the Gurkha Museum from 1973 to 2003, a trustee of the National Army Museum from 1981 to 2003, a trustee of the World Wildlife Fund UK from 1988 to 1993, President of the Zoological Society of London from 1992 to 1994 and Governor of Gibraltar from 1993 to 1995.[1]

Personal life

In 1959 Chapple married Annabel Hill; they have one son and three daughters.[1] Their eldest daughter is Rachel Lucy Chapple[30] a Social Anthropologist[31] – she has four children and lives in New York.[32] Chapple and Hill's son is David Charles Lyon Chapple, a consultant orthopaedic and spinal surgeon;[33] David's sons are Titus (or Titan, per the Daily Mail) and Magnus England Chapple;[34] David's eldest son, the late Horatio Chapple, was killed by a polar bear in Svalbard in August 2011.[32] Field Marshal Chapple was once president of BSES, the charity that had organised the trip.[32]

His interests include military history.[1]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Who's Who 2010, A & C Black, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4081-1414-8
  2. "No. 38967". 14 July 1950. 
  3. Heathcote, Anthony p. 85
  4. "No. 39877". 2 June 1953. 
  5. "No. 40041". 11 December 1953. 
  6. "No. 40183". 25 May 1954. 
  7. "No. 40265". 27 August 1954. 
  8. "No. 40268". 31 August 1954. 
  9. "No. 40995". 5 February 1957. 
  10. "No. 43241". 7 February 1964. 
  11. "No. 44863". 6 June 1969. 
  12. "No. 45013". 5 January 1970. 
  13. Heathcote, Anthony p. 86
  14. "No. 46174". 7 January 1974. 
  15. "No. 46773". 29 December 1975. 
  16. "No. 48212". 13 June 1980. 
  17. "No. 48511". 2 February 1981. 
  18. "No. 48574". 6 April 1981. 
  19. "No. 49156". 1 November 1982. 
  20. "No. 49969". 31 December 1984. 
  21. "No. 50013". 21 January 1985. 
  22. "No. 50965". 15 June 1987. 
  23. "No. 51009". 27 July 1987. 
  24. "No. 51080". 5 October 1987. 
  25. "No. 51365". 10 June 1988. 
  26. "No. 51467". 12 September 1988. 
  27. "No. 52834". 14 February 1992. 
  28. "No. 50663". 22 September 1986. 
  29. "No. 51009". 27 July 1987. 
  30. "Person Page 43671". Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  31. ""Welcome" by Rachel Chapple, PhD (Founder, Real Stories Gallery Foundation (501c) &". Real Stories Gallery. Retrieved 18 December 2011.  She has a PhD and BA (First Class) in Social Anthropology at S.O.A.S (School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London, according to the page). She is also available on LinkedIn.
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 "Norway polar bear attack victim Horatio Chapple was 'strong, fearless and kind' | Mail Online". 8 July 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  33. "Tributes paid to boy killed in polar bear attack (From Salisbury Journal)". 6 August 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  34. By ITN, (6 August 2011). "Tributes to Eton schoolboy killed by polar bear – World News – MSN News UK". Retrieved 18 December 2011. 

Further reading

  • Heathcote, Tony (1999). The British Field Marshals 1736–1997. Barnsley (UK): Pen & Sword. ISBN 0-85052-696-5. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Roy Redgrave
Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Sir Derek Boorman
Preceded by
New Post
Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Programmes and Personnel)
Succeeded by
Sir David Parry-Evans
Preceded by
Sir James Glover
Commander in Chief, UK Land Forces
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Huxtable
Preceded by
Sir Nigel Bagnall
Chief of the General Staff
Succeeded by
Sir Peter Inge
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Derek Reffell
Governor of Gibraltar
Succeeded by
Sir Hugo White

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