General (Australia)

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Australian general's rank insignia
See General for other countries which use this rank

General (abbreviated GEN) is the second highest rank, and the highest active rank, of the Australian Army and was created as a direct equivalent of the British military rank of general; it is also considered a four-star rank.

Prior to 1958, generals (and field marshals) were only appointed in exceptional circumstances. In 1958, the position which is currently called Chief of the Defence Force was created, and since 1966, the rank of general has been held when an army officer is appointed to that position.

General is a higher rank than lieutenant general, but is lower than field marshal. General is the equivalent of admiral in the Royal Australian Navy and air chief marshal in the Royal Australian Air Force.

A general's insignia is St Edward's Crown above a star of the Order of the Bath (or 'pip') above a crossed sword and baton, with the word 'Australia' at the bottom.[1]

Australian generals[edit]

The following have held the rank of general in the Australian Army:

Rank Name Year promoted Born Died Notes
Field Marshal Birdwood, WilliamWilliam Birdwood, 1st Baron Birdwood GCBGCSIGCMGGCVOCIEDSO 1917 1865 1951 Appointed a general in the Australian Imperial Force in 1917, and made honorary field marshal in the Australian Army in 1925.[2]
General Sir Chauvel, HarryHarry Chauvel GCMGKCB 1929 1865 1945 Chief of the General Staff (1923–30) and Inspector-in-Chief Volunteer Defence Corps (1940–45)
General Sir Monash, JohnJohn Monash GCMGKCBVD 1929 1865 1931 Australian Corps (1918)
General Sir White, BrudenellBrudenell White KCBKCMGKCVODSO 1940 1876 1940 Chief of the General Staff (1920–23) and Chief of the General Staff (1940)
Field Marshal Sir Blamey, ThomasThomas Blamey GBEKCBCMGDSOED 1941 1884 1951 Promoted to field marshal in 1951. Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police (1925–36), General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Australian Military Forces (1942–45) and Commander of Allied Land Forces, South West Pacific Area (1942–45)
General Sir Wilton, JohnJohn Wilton KBECBDSO 1968 1910 1981 Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (1966–70)
General Sir Hassett, FrankFrank Hassett ACKBECBDSOLVO 1975 1918 2008 Chief of the Defence Force Staff (1976–77)
General Sir MacDonald, ArthurArthur MacDonald KBECB 1977 1919 1995 Chief of the Defence Force Staff (1977–79)
General Sir Bennett, PhillipPhillip Bennett ACKBEDSO 1984 1928 Chief of the Defence Force (1984–87) and Governor of Tasmania (1987–95)
General Gration, PeterPeter Gration ACOBE 1987 1932 Chief of the Defence Force (1987–93)
General Baker, JohnJohn Baker ACDSM 1995 1936 2007 Chief of the Defence Force (1995–98)
General Sir Cosgrove, PeterPeter Cosgrove AKMC 2002 1947 Chief of the Defence Force (2002–05) and Governor-General of Australia (2014–)
General Hurley, DavidDavid Hurley ACDSC 2011 1953 Chief of the Defence Force (2011–14) and Governor of New South Wales (2014–)

The following Australians have held the rank of general in the British Army:

Rank Name Year promoted Born Died Notes
General Sir Hackett, JohnJohn Hackett GCBCBEDSO and BarMC 1966 1910 1997

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Australian Army officer rank insignia are identical to British Army officer rank insignia, with the difference that Australian Army insignia have the word "Australia" below them.
  2. ^ When "Birdy" was promoted to field marshal in the British Army in 1925, he was given the honorary rank of field marshal in the Australian Army. He is one of only three Australian field marshals.