Field Marshal (UK)

Field Marshal is the highest military rank of the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

. It ranks immediately above the rank of General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

 and is the Army equivalent of an Admiral of the Fleet
Admiral of the Fleet (Royal Navy)
Admiral of the fleet is the highest rank of the British Royal Navy and other navies, which equates to the NATO rank code OF-10. The rank still exists in the Royal Navy but routine appointments ceased in 1996....

 and a Marshal of the Royal Air Force
Marshal of the Royal Air Force
Marshal of the Royal Air Force is the highest rank in the Royal Air Force. In peacetime it was granted to RAF officers in the appointment of Chief of the Defence Staff, and to retired Chiefs of the Air Staff, who were promoted to it on their last day of service. Promotions to the rank have ceased...


The rank insignia of a Field Marshal in the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 comprises two crossed batons
Baton (symbol)
The ceremonial baton is a short, thick stick, carried by select high-ranking military officers as a uniform article. The baton is distinguished from the swagger stick in being thicker and less functional . Unlike a staff of office, a baton is not rested on the ground...

 in a wreath of oak leaves, with a crown above. In some other countries, historically under the sphere of British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 influence, an adapted version of the insignia is used for Field Marshal
Field Marshal
Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...

s, often with the crown being replaced with an alternative cultural or national emblem.

The office of Marshal
Marshal , is a word used in several official titles of various branches of society. The word is an ancient loan word from Old French, cf...

 was known in England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 from the 12th century, but the introduction of the modern military title in Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 was a relative latecomer. It was introduced by King George II
George II of Great Britain
George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Archtreasurer and Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 until his death.George was the last British monarch born outside Great Britain. He was born and brought up in Northern Germany...

, who was also Prince-elector of Hanover, in the style of the continental armies. The 1st Earl of Orkney
George Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney
Field Marshal George Douglas-Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney KT was a British soldier and Scottish nobleman and the first British Army officer to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. The son of the Duke and Duchess of Hamilton, he fought for William of Orange in Ireland and the Low Countries...

 became the first Field Marshal in 1736. Around 15 years later, the rank appeared in its shortened form simply as "Marshal" in the additional verse to God Save the King
God Save the Queen
"God Save the Queen" is an anthem used in a number of Commonwealth realms and British Crown Dependencies. The words of the song, like its title, are adapted to the gender of the current monarch, with "King" replacing "Queen", "he" replacing "she", and so forth, when a king reigns...

 which, demonstrating anti-Jacobite sentiment, expressed the hope that "Marshal Wade
George Wade
Field Marshal George Wade served as a British military commander and Commander-in-Chief of the Forces.-Early career:Wade, born in Kilavally, Westmeath in Ireland, was commissioned into the Earl of Bath's Regiment in 1690 and served in Flanders in 1692, during the Nine Years War, earning a...

" would crush the "Rebellious Scots
Jacobitism was the political movement in Britain dedicated to the restoration of the Stuart kings to the thrones of England, Scotland, later the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the Kingdom of Ireland...


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
Chief of the Defence Staff (United Kingdom)
The Chief of the Defence Staff is the professional head of the British Armed Forces, a senior official within the Ministry of Defence, and the most senior uniformed military adviser to the Secretary of State for Defence and the Prime Minister...

, 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
Peter Inge, Baron Inge
Field Marshal Peter Anthony Inge, Baron Inge was the Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army, between 1992 and 1994. He then served as Chief of the Defence Staff before retiring in 1997.-Army career:...

 KG GCB PC DL, although Members of the Royal Family
British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The term is also commonly applied to the same group of people as the relations of the monarch in her or his role as sovereign of any of the other Commonwealth realms, thus sometimes at variance with...

 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.

Traditionally, the British monarch is a Field Marshal, HM The Queen
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...


Royal Highness
Royal Highness is a style ; plural Royal Highnesses...

 The Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is the husband of Elizabeth II. He is the United Kingdom's longest-serving consort and the oldest serving spouse of a reigning British monarch....

 and HRH The Duke of Kent
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent
The Duke of Kent graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on 29 July 1955 as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Scots Greys, the beginning of a military career that would last over 20 years. He was promoted to captain on 29 July 1961. The Duke of Kent saw service in Hong Kong from 1962–63...

 are two of the few remaining Field Marshals in the British Army.

The Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 do not have an equivalent rank to Field Marshal, although the position of Captain General Royal Marines
Captain General Royal Marines
The Captain General Royal Marines is the ceremonial head of the Royal Marines. The current incumbent is HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.The uniform and insignia are those of a Field Marshal....

has the same insignia as an Army Field Marshal.
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