Thursday, 5 December 2013

Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank receives his Field Marshal's baton from HM The Queen

Yesterday, HM The Queen presented Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB, LVO, OBE, DL, Gold Stick-in-Waiting to The Queen, with his Field Marshal's baton. 

Field Marshal the Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank is former Chief of the General Staff, former Chief of the Defence Staff, Colonel of the Life Guards and Colonel Commandant of the SAS. 

Britain only has eight living field marshals, three of whom are members of the Royal Family: HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duke of Kent. In recent decades it was the practice to appoint Chiefs of the (Imperial) General Staff to the rank of Field Marshal on the last day of their appointment whilst Chiefs of the Defence Staff would become Field Marshals upon the first day of their appointment. However, since the 1990s service chiefs have not been able to expect these 5 star appointments -- instead, promotion to the rank of field marshal, admiral of the fleet or marshal of the Royal Air Force are seen as special appointments or reserved honours. 

Lord Guthrie was actually the first Chief of the Defence Staff not to become a Field Marshal upon his appointment (the last CDS to be appointed was Lord Inge in 1994). Britain therefore had a period of 18 years without the appointment of any new Field Marshals. 

This was remedied in 2012 when Lord Guthrie was appointed a Field Marshal along with The Prince of Wales (who, in preparation for his future role as Commander-in-Chief, also got 5-star ranking in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force as Admiral of the Fleet and Marshal of the Royal Air Force). 

The five Chiefs of the Defence Staff that have served since Guthrie are not Field Marshals (but they are all Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath). 

Lord Guthrie was also Vice President of the British Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and is a Patron of the Polish Association of the Knights of Malta (UK).

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