Army Council (1904)
Flag of the Army Council
|Parent agency||War Office|
The disastrous campaigns of the Crimean War led to the consolidation of all administrative duties in 1855 under the Secretary of State for War, a Cabinet post. That office was not, however, solely responsible for the Army; the Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) held a virtually equal level of responsibility. This was reduced in theory by the 1870 reforms introduced by Edward Cardwell, which subordinated the C-in-C to the Secretary for War. In practice, however, a huge amount of influence was retained by the exceedingly conservative C-in-C Field Marshal Prince George, 2nd Duke of Cambridge, who held the post between 1856–1895. His resistance to reform caused military efficiency to lag well behind Britain's rivals, a problem which became painfully obvious during the Second Boer War.
The situation was only remedied in 1904 when the post of Commander-in-Chief was abolished and replaced with that of the Chief of the General Staff. An Army Council was created along similar lines to the Board of Admiralty, chaired by the Secretary of State for War, and an Imperial General Staff was established to coordinate Army administration. All branches of the Army were directed to be subordinated to the Army Council, which was designated as the "supreme administering body" of the Army.
In 1964 the Army Council was reconstituted as the Army Board.
Principal members of the council
- Secretary of State for War, as Chairman of the Board, (1904–1964)
- Chief of the General Staff, (1904–1909)
- Chief of the Imperial General Staff, (1909–1964)
- Deputy Chief of the General Staff, (1914–1964)
- Vice-Chief of the Imperial General Staff, (1940–1964)
- Master-General of the Ordnance, (1904–1964)
- Clark, Andrew (20 February 1904), "The Army Council and Military Medical Administration", The British Medical Journal, 1 (2251): 442, JSTOR 20279611
- Holmes, Richard (2011), Soldiers: Army Lives and Loyalties from Redcoats to Dusty Warriors, UK: Harper Collins, pp. 22–23, ISBN 9780007457724
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