Edwin Bramall, Baron Bramall

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"Bramall" redirects here. For the hall in Greater Manchester, see Bramall Hall. For the area containing the hall, see Bramhall.
The Lord Bramall
Lord Bramall.jpg
Lord Bramall in the robes of a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter, June 2006
Born (1923-12-18) 18 December 1923 (age 91)
Tonbridge, Kent
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1942–1985
Rank Field Marshal
Commands held Chief of the Defence Staff
Chief of the General Staff
Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces
Commander British Forces in Hong Kong
1st Division
5th (Airportable) Infantry Brigade
2nd Battalion Royal Green Jackets
Battles/wars World War II
Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation
Falklands War
Awards Knight of the Order of the Garter
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Military Cross
Mentioned in Despatches

Field Marshal Edwin Noel Westby Bramall, Baron Bramall KGGCBOBEMCJPDL (born 18 December 1923) is a British Army officer who served as Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army, between 1979 and 1982, and as Chief of the Defence Staff, professional head of the British Armed Forces, from 1982 to 1985. He developed the concept of the "Fifth Pillar" pulling together the activities of defence attachés to form a structure for intervention in smaller countries.

Military career[edit]

Born the son of Edmund Haselden Bramall and Katherine Bridget Bramall (née Westby),[1] and educated at Eton College,[2] Bramall was commissioned into the King's Royal Rifle Corps on 22 May 1943.[3] He took part in the Normandy landings in 1944[2] and served with his regiment in Northwest Europe during the later stages of World War II, receiving the Military Cross on 1 March 1945.[4] He was promoted to lieutenant on 18 June 1946[5] and served in the occupation of Japan from 1946, before becoming an instructor at the School of Infantry in 1949.[1] Promoted to captain on 18 December 1950,[6] he was stationed in the Middle East from 1953[7] and was then promoted to major on 18 December 1957.[8] Continuing his military career, he served two years as an instructor at the Staff College, Camberley from 1958, and then was appointed to serve on Lord Mountbatten's staff in 1963.[7]

The Normany landings, in which Bramell took part, during the Second World War

Appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year Honours 1965,[9] and promoted to lieutenant colonel on 25 January 1965,[10] he was appointed Commanding Officer of 2nd Royal Green Jackets which was deployed to Borneo in Spring 1966 during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation where his actions earned him a mention in despatches.[11] He was given command of 5th (Airportable) Infantry Brigade in November 1967[7] with promotion to brigadier on 31 December 1967.[12]

He was made General Officer Commanding the 1st Division on 6 January 1972,[13] with the substantive rank of major-general from 6 April 1972,[14] Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong with the rank of lieutenant-general on 1 December 1973[15] and appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the New Year Honours 1974.[16] He went on to be Commander-in-Chief, UK Land Forces on 15 May 1976[17] and was promoted to full general on 25 June 1976.[18] He was appointed Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff (Personnel and Logistics) on 20 March 1978,[19] advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in the New Year Honours 1979,[20] before being made ADC General to the Queen on 26 June 1979[21] and appointed Chief of the General Staff on 14 July 1979.[22] In this role he strongly supported the plan in May 1982 to land troops at San Carlos Water and then advance rapidly from those positions at the early stages of the Falklands War.[23]

He was promoted to field marshal on 1 August 1982,[24] and appointed Chief of the Defence Staff on 1 October that year.[25] In this capacity he developed the concept of the "Fifth Pillar" pulling together the activities of defence attachés to form a structure for intervention in smaller countries.[23] He retired in November 1985.[23]

He was also Colonel of the 3rd Battalion the Royal Green Jackets from December 1973, Colonel of the 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles) from 14 September 1976[26] and Colonel Commandant of the Special Air Service Regiment from 19 May 1985.[27]

Later career[edit]

Bramall has served as President of the Marylebone Cricket Club

After his retirement Bramall served as Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London from 1986 to 1998.[1] He was created Baron Bramall, of Bushfield in the County of Hampshire, in 1987,[1] then further invested as a Knight of the Garter in 1990.[28] He was a former President of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC)[29] and is now an Honorary Life Vice President of the MCC.[30] His other interests include painting and travel and he is a Vice-President of the welfare organisation SSAFA Forces Help.[1]

Life peer[edit]

As a life peer, he spoke out in the House of Lords against the involvement of the United Kingdom in the Second Iraq War warning that 'unlike naked aggression, terrorism cannot be defeated by massive military means' but by 'competent protection and positive diplomacy'.[31]

On 27 August 2006, the Mail on Sunday reported that Bramall hit Lord Janner, 78, a veteran campaigner for Holocaust victims and a senior member of Britain's Jewish community, after making what witnesses claim were a series of 'anti-Israel' comments during an argument over the Lebanon conflict. The newspaper reported that the incident took place in one of the rooms close to the debating chamber and the peers who witnessed the incident were extremely shocked by Bramall's behaviour. The newspaper reported that Bramall later apologised by phone to Lord Janner who accepted his apology. No action was taken by the Lords authorities and Lord Janner has made no complaint.[32]

Following the leak of a purported list of members of the far-right British National Party in October 2009 there was a short-lived claim that Lord Bramall was a member of the party, due to the appearance of a "Lord Bramhall" on the list. There is no such peer in the House of Lords and Lord Bramall swiftly denied being a member, while his naming as such was rapidly acknowledged to be a case of mistaken identity.[33]

On 25 April 2013 he retired from service in the House of Lords, although he retains his title.[34]

Family[edit]

In 1949 he married Dorothy Avril Wentworth Vernon; they had one son and one daughter.[1] His older brother Ashley Bramall was a barrister, Labour politician and Leader of the Inner London Education Authority.[35]

Arms[edit]

Arms of Edwin Bramall, Baron Bramall
Coat of Arms of Edwin, Baron Bramall.svg
Notes
Baron Bramall since 1987
Coronet
A coronet of a Baron
Crest
Statant lion barry Or and Azure supporting an UK Field Marshal’s Baton erect proper.
Torse
Mantling Or and Sable.
Escutcheon
Per fess embattled Sable and Or between three Stafford knotts a lion rampant all counterchanged.
Supporters
Dexter: A Malayan Tiger holding in the dexter paw a Kukri, all proper.

Sinister: a Chinese Dragon proper, holding in the sinister claw a Maltese Cross Sable.

Motto
PERSTA ET PROESTA
Latin: [36]
Orders
The Order of the Garter circlet.
The collar as Grand Cross Knight of the Order of the Bath.
The badge as Officer of the Order of the British Empire.[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Who's Who 2010, A & C Black, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4081-1414-8
  2. ^ a b Heathcote, Anthony pg 53
  3. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36074. p. 2980. 29 June 1943. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36961. p. 1176. 27 February 1945. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37698. p. 4238. 20 August 1946. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 39093. p. 6320. 19 December 1950. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  7. ^ a b c Heathcote, Anthony pg 54
  8. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 41254. p. 7346. 13 December 1957. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 43529. p. 6. 29 December 1964. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 43682. p. 5687. 11 June 1965. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 44196. p. 13458. 9 December 1966. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 44493. p. 74. 29 December 1967. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  13. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 45569. p. 347. 10 January 1972. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  14. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 45641. p. 4283. 10 April 1972. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  15. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46143. p. 14387. 3 December 1973. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  16. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46162. p. 2. 28 December 1973. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  17. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46901. p. 7063. 17 May 1976. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  18. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46947. p. 8989. 28 June 1976. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  19. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 47493. p. 3563. 20 March 1978. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  20. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 47723. p. 2. 29 December 1978. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  21. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 47911. p. 9345. 23 July 1979. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  22. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 47916. p. 9695. 30 July 1979. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  23. ^ a b c Heathcote, Anthony pg 55
  24. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49069. p. 10134. 2 August 1982. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  25. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49142. p. 13571. 18 October 1982. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  26. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 47012. p. 12491. 13 September 1976. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  27. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 50128. p. 7058. 20 May 1985. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  28. ^ The London Gazette: no. 52120. p. 8251. 24 April 1990. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  29. ^ "British media wants Pak team to be sent home". cricketnext. 31 August 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2011. 
  30. ^ "Official House of Lords Biography". House of Lords. Retrieved 24 December 2011. 
  31. ^ "House of Lords Debates". 26 May 2004. Retrieved 26 May 2007. 
  32. ^ "War hero, 82, hits fellow peer in Lords". Mail on Sunday. Retrieved 20 July 2007. 
  33. ^ Weaver, Matthew (20 October 2009). "BNP controversy – live". The Guardian. I'm completely apolitical and I've had no involvement with the BNP. ... I'm the last person who would have anything to do with them. I fought fascism in the second world war. People do have views of every sort in a democracy, but many of the BNP's views are very unattractive. 
    "Guardian confuse former Chief of Defence Staff with BNP amateur genealogist". Political Scrapbook. 20 October 2009. 
  34. ^ The Lord Speaker (25 April 2013). http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldhansrd/text/130425-0001.htm |chapter-url= missing title (help). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Lords. col. 1519. 
  35. ^ "Field Marshal The Lord Bramall of Bushfield". Royal Green Jackets Association. Retrieved 24 December 2011. 
  36. ^ The Companion Magazine. College of St George. No. 15 (Summer-Autumn 2012), p. 5.
  37. ^ Chesshyre, Hubert (1996), The Friends of St. George's & Descendants of the Knights of the Garter Annual Review 1995/96 VII, p. 289 

Further reading[edit]

  • Heathcote, Tony (1999). The British Field Marshals 1736–1997. Barnsley (UK): Pen & Sword. ISBN 0-85052-696-5. 
  • Tillotson, Michael (2006). The Fifth Pillar: the life and philosophy of the Lord Bramall K.G. Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-4239-8. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Jack Harman
General Officer Commanding the 1st Division
1972–1973
Succeeded by
David Alexander-Sinclair
Preceded by
Sir Richard Ward
Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong
1973–1976
Succeeded by
Sir John Archer
Preceded by
Sir Roland Gibbs
Commander-in-Chief, UK Land Forces
1976–1978
Succeeded by
Sir John Archer
Preceded by
Sir Anthony Morton
Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff
1978–1979
Succeeded by
Sir Patrick Howard-Dobson
Preceded by
Sir Roland Gibbs
Chief of the General Staff
1979–1982
Succeeded by
Sir John Stanier
Preceded by
Sir Terence Lewin
Chief of the Defence Staff
1982–1985
Succeeded by
Sir John Fieldhouse
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Baroness Phillips
Lord Lieutenant of Greater London
1986–1998
Succeeded by
Peter Imbert