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Major-general (Maj Gen), is a "two-star" rank in the
British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' us ...
and
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 airc ...
. The rank was also briefly used by the
Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for th ...
for a year and a half, from its creation to August 1919. In the British Army, a major general is the customary rank for the appointment of
division Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematics), the inverse of multiplication *Division algorithm, a method for computing the result of mathematical division Military *Division (military), a formation typically consisting o ...
commander. In the Royal Marines, the rank of major general is held by the Commandant General. A major general is senior to a
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 ...
but subordinate to
lieutenant general Lieutenant general (Lt Gen, LTG and similar) is a three-star rank, three-star military rank (NATO code OF-8) used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages, where the title of lieutenant general was held by the second-in ...
. The rank is OF-7 on the NATO rank scale, equivalent to a
rear admiral Rear admiral is a senior naval A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for wa ...
in the
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 opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
or an
air vice-marshal Air vice-marshal (AVM) is a two-star air officer An air officer is an air force officer of the rank of air commodore or higher. Such officers may be termed "officers of air rank". While the term originated in the Royal Air Force The ...
in the
Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for th ...
and the air forces of many
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...

Commonwealth
countries. The rank insignia is the star (or 'pip') of the
Order of the Bath The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an order of knights typically founded during or inspired by the original Catholic mili ...

Order of the Bath
, over a crossed sword and baton. In terms of orthography, compound ranks were invariably hyphenated, prior to about 1980. Nowadays the rank is almost equally invariably non-hyphenated. When written as a title, especially before a person's name, both words of the rank are always capitalised, whether using the "traditional" hyphenated style of, say, the two World Wars, or the modern un-hyphenated style. When used as common nouns, they might be written in lower-case: "Major-General Montgomery was one of several major-generals to be promoted at this time."


British Army usage

In the British Army, a
division Division or divider may refer to: Mathematics *Division (mathematics), the inverse of multiplication *Division algorithm, a method for computing the result of mathematical division Military *Division (military), a formation typically consisting o ...
is commanded by a major general. However, other appointments may also be held by major generals. For example, the Commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst is a major general. Until around the 1980s, the heads of each branch of service, such as the
Royal Armoured Corps The Royal Armoured Corps is the component of the British Army The British Army is the principal Army, land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of the British Armed Forces. , the British Army comprises 80,040 regular full-time person ...
, the
Royal Artillery The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery (RA) and colloquially known as "The Gunners", is the artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch Ammunition, munitions far be ...
and the
Corps of Infantry
Corps of Infantry
, were major-generals. Other, administrative, commands were also appointments for a major-general. In addition, in wartime, the senior officer of the
Royal Army Chaplains Department The Royal Army Chaplains' Department (RAChD) is an all-officer corps that provides ordained clergy to minister to the British Army. History Image:Royalarmychaplainsdepartmentcap.JPG, left, 150px, A post 1953 RAChD No.1 dress cap The Army Chaplains ...
, the
Chaplain-General The chaplain general is a senior chaplain in non-church organisations, such as the British and Canadian armies, and is responsible for the supervision of chaplains conducting religious services and ceremonies, representing the Christian faith in t ...
, and similar appointments, were accorded 'the relative precedence' - that is to say the equivalence rather than the full powers and authority - of the rank of major-general.


Royal Marines usage

The
Commandant General Royal Marines The Commandant General Royal Marines is the professional head of the Royal Marines. The title has existed since 1943. The Commandant General Royal Marines is responsible for advising the First Sea Lord, with professional responsibility for all Roya ...
has held the rank of major general since 1996, when the post was downgraded from lieutenant general. As in the British Army, a Royal Marine major general ranks below lieutenant general and above brigadier.


Royal Air Force usage

From its foundation on 1 April 1918 to 31 July 1919, the
Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for th ...
(RAF) briefly maintained the rank of major-general. The service was a wartime amalgamation of the Army's
Royal Flying Corps "Through Adversity to the Stars" , colors= , colours_label= , march= , mascot= , anniversaries= , decorations= , battle_honours= , battles_label=Wars , battles=First World War , disbanded=merged with RNAS The Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) ...
and the Navy's
Royal Naval Air Service The Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) was the air arm of the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by Kingdom of England, English and Kingdom of Scotland, Scottish kings fro ...
, so the Third Service ranks were a compromise between these two traditions. The insignia of the rank was derived from that of a Royal Navy rear-admiral and featured a broad gold stripe on the cuff below one narrow gold stripe. The two stripes were surmounted by an eagle (volant and affronty) under a king's crown. The RAF replaced the rank of major-general with the rank of air vice-marshal on 1 August 1919. Despite the short duration, the significance of the RAF to modern warfare was indicated by the number of senior officers who did wear the rank of major-general in the RAF: *
Edward Ashmore Admiral of the Fleet (Royal Navy), Admiral of the Fleet Sir Edward Beckwith Ashmore, (11 December 1919 – 28 April 2016) was a senior Royal Navy officer. He saw active service in the Second World War and later commanded two frigates before ach ...
*
Sefton Brancker Air Vice Marshal Sir William Sefton Brancker, (22 March 1877 – 5 October 1930) was a British pioneer in civil aviation, civil and military aviation and senior officer of the Royal Flying Corps and later Royal Air Force. He was killed in an air ...
*
George Cayley Sir George Cayley, 6th Baronet (27 December 1773 – 15 December 1857) was an English engineer Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are Professional, professionals who Invention, invent, design, analyze, build and test Machine, mac ...
*
Edward Ellington Marshal of the Royal Air Force Marshal of the Royal Air Force (MRAF) is the highest rank in the British Royal Air Force (RAF). In peacetime it was granted to RAF officers in the appointment of Chief of the Defence Staff (United Kingdom), Chief ...
*
Philip Game Sir Philip Woolcott Game, (30 March 1876 – 4 February 1961) was a British Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingd ...
* The Honorable Sir Frederick Gordon * Frederick Heath-Caldwell *
John Higgins John Higgins, (born 18 May 1975) is a Scottish professional snooker Snooker (pronounced , ) is a cue sports, cue sport that was first played by British Army officers stationed in India in the second half of the 19th century. It is playe ...
* Mark Kerr * Charles Lambe * Charles Longcroft *
Godfrey Paine Rear Admiral Sir Godfrey Marshall Paine, (21 November 1871 – 23 March 1932) was a senior officer in the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish ...
*
Geoffrey Salmond Air Chief Marshal Sir William Geoffrey Hanson Salmond, (19 August 1878 – 27 April 1933) was a senior commander in the Royal Flying Corps "Through Adversity to the Stars" , colors= , colours_label= , march= , mascot= , anniversaries= , decor ...
*
John Salmond Marshal of the Royal Air Force Marshal of the Royal Air Force (MRAF) is the highest rank in the British Royal Air Force (RAF). In peacetime it was granted to RAF officers in the appointment of Chief of the Defence Staff (United Kingdom), Chief ...
*
Ernest Swinton Major-General Sir Ernest Dunlop Swinton, (21 October 1868 – 15 January 1951) was a British Army The British Army is the principal Army, land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of the British Armed Forces. , the British Army comp ...
*
Frederick Sykes Air Vice Marshal Air vice-marshal (AVM) is a two-star rank, two-star air officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force. The rank is also used by the air forces of many Commonwealth of Nations, countries whic ...

Frederick Sykes
*
Hugh Trenchard
Hugh Trenchard


See also

* British and U.S. military ranks compared *
British Army Other Ranks rank insignia The term used to refer to all ranks below British Army officer rank insignia, officers in the British Army and the Royal Marines is "Other ranks (UK), other ranks" (abbreviated "ORs"). It includes warrant officers, non-commissioned officers (" ...
*
British Army officer rank insignia Listed in the table below are the insignia—emblems of authority—of the British Army. Badges for field officer A field officer, field-grade officer, or senior officer is an Army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ' ...


Notes


References


External links


British Army Website
{{UK officer ranks Military ranks of the British Army Military ranks of the Royal Marines Former military ranks of the Royal Air Force