The Commandant General Royal Marines is the professional head of the
Royal Marines The Corps of Royal Marines (RM) is an amphibious Amphibious means able to use either land or water. In particular it may refer to: * ''Amphibious'' (film), a 2010 film * Amphibious aircraft An amphibious aircraft or amphibian is an air ...
. The title has existed since 1943. The Commandant General Royal Marines is responsible for advising the
First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff The First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff (1SL/CNS) is the professional head of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy and Naval Service (United Kingdom), Naval Service. Admiral Ben Key was appointed First Sea Lord in November 2021. Originally ...
, with professional responsibility for all Royal Marine units; however his direct reporting line is to the
Fleet Commander The Fleet Commander is a senior Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposi ...
. He is assisted by a Deputy Commandant General, whose rank is
brigadier Brigadier is a military rank, the seniority of which depends on the country. In some countries, it is a senior rank above colonel, equivalent to a brigadier general or commodore (rank), commodore, typically commanding a brigade of several thous ...
. This position is not to be confused with
Captain General Royal Marines The Captain General Royal Marines is the ceremonial head of the Royal Marines. The uniform and insignia worn by the Captain General are those of a Royal Marines Colonel or higher depending on the appointee's current or previously held rank. This ...
, the ceremonial head. The Commandant General Royal Marines is the counterpart to the
Commandant Commandant ( or ) is a title often given to the officer in charge of a military (or other uniformed service) training establishment or academy. This usage is common in English-speaking nations. In some countries it may be a military or police rank ...
of the
United States Marine Corps The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines, is the maritime land force service branch Military branch (also service branch or armed service) is according to common standard the subdivision of the na ...
, although the latter is a
full general A general officer is an Officer (armed forces), officer of highest military ranks, high rank in the army, armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines. The term ''general'' is used in two ways: as the generic title for all ...


In 1760 three naval captains were appointed colonels of marines. However, these were naval officers and it meant that the furthest a marine officer could advance was to lieutenant colonel. It was not until 1771 that commandants of the three divisions (
Portsmouth Portsmouth ( ) is a port and island city status in the United Kingdom, city with Unitary authorities of England, unitary authority status in the ceremonial county of Hampshire, southern England. It is the most densely populated city in the Unit ...

Plymouth Plymouth () is a port city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: ...

and Chatham) were appointed. The first single professional head of the Royal Marine Forces was the Deputy Adjutant-General, a post which existed from 1825 until 1914 when the post was re-designated the Adjutant-General: the post holder usually held the rank of full
general A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral zone in suppo ...
. Since 1943 the professional head of the Royal Marines has been the Commandant-General who held the rank of full general until 1977, the rank of lieutenant general in 1996 and until April 2021 all Commandant General's held the rank of major-general. On 30 April 2021 the Royal Marines announced for the first time since 1996, that a lieutenant general would be taking over the role, that person being Lieutenant General Robert Magowan. Magowan is also the first person to assume the role twice. From 1825 until 1964 his headquarters office which changed location several times was known as the Royal Marine Office.


The appointment has been held concurrently with that of Commander United Kingdom Amphibious Forces (COMUKAMPHIBFOR) since the creation of the Fleet Battle Staff in 2001. COMUKAMPHIBFOR was one of two deployable two-star maritime operational commanders (the other being Commander UK Maritime Forces (COMUKMARFOR), now
Commander United Kingdom Strike Force Commander United Kingdom Strike Force (COMUKSTRKFOR or CSF) and Rear Admiral Surface Ships (RASS) is a senior post in the Royal Navy. The post is the highest seagoing command in the Royal Navy. Its role is to direct UK, Allied or Coalition mari ...
, with particular responsibility for amphibious and littoral warfare. Unlike COMUKMARFOR, COMUKAMPHIBFOR is primarily configured to command as a combined joint task force and designed to support a single two star commander.

Present role

In April 2018 it was announced that the two separate deployable two-star maritime operational commanders (COMUKMARFOR and COMUKAMPHIBFOR) would be merged into a single, larger, maritime battle staff.

General Officers Commanding

General Officers Commanding have included:

Deputy Adjutant General Royal Marines

*Major-General Sir James Campbell 1825–1831 *Major-General Sir John Savage 1831–1836 *Lieutenant-General Sir John Owen 1836–1854 *Lieutenant-General Sir Samuel Robert Wesley, Robert Wesley 1854–1862 *General George Colt Langley, Sir George Langley 1862–1867 *General Samuel Lowder 1867–1872 *General George Augustus Schomberg, Sir George Schomberg 1872–1875 *Lieutenant General George Brydges Rodney (Royal Marines officer), George Rodney 1875–1878 *Major-General Sir Charles Adair (Royal Marines officer), Charles Adair 1878–1883 *General Sir John William Collman Williams, John Williams 1883–1888 *General Sir Howard Sutton Jones, Howard Jones 1888–1893 *General Sir Henry Tuson 1893–1900 *Lieutenant-General John Ignatius Morris, John Morris 1900–1902 *Lieutenant-General Sir William Purvis WWilliam Wright 1902–1907 *General Sir William Adair 1907–1911 *General Sir William Nicholls (Royal Marines officer), William Nicholls 1911–1914

Adjutant General Royal Marines

*General Sir William Nicholls (Royal Marines officer), William Nicholls 1914–1916 *Major-General Sir David Mercer (Royal Marines officer), David Mercer 1916–1920 *Major-General Gunning Campbell July 1920–November 1920 *General Sir Herbert Blumberg 1920–1924 *General Sir Alexander Richard Hamilton Hutchison, Alexander Hutchison 1924–1927 *General Sir Lewis Halliday 1927–1930 *General Sir Richard Ford (Royal Marines officer), Richard Ford 1930–1933 *General Sir Richard Foster (Royal Marines officer), Richard Foster 1933–1936 *General Sir William Wellington Godfrey, William Godfrey 1936–1939 *General Sir Alan Bourne 1939-1943

Commandant General Royal Marines

List of Deputy Commandants General

The following have served as Deputy Commandant General: * –2013: Brigadier Bill Dunham * 2014–2017: Brigadier Richard Spencer * 2017–2020: Brigadier Haydn White * 2020–present: Brigadier Anthony R. Turner


{{Navy Department (Ministry of Defence) Royal Marines Military appointments of the Royal Marines Royal Marines generals,