General (Australia)

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General
Australian Army OF-9.svg
The GEN insignia of Crown of St Edward above a star of the Order of the Bath above a crossed sword and baton, with the word 'Australia' at the bottom.
CountryAustralia
Service branch Australian Army
AbbreviationGEN
RankFour-star
NATO rankOF-9
Non-NATO rankO-10
Formation1917
Next higher rankField marshal
Next lower rankLieutenant general
Equivalent ranks

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][2]

Australian generals[edit]

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

Name Year
promoted
Born Died Notes
William Birdwood, 1st Baron Birdwood
GCB, GCSI, GCMG, GCVO, CIE, DSO
1917 1865 1951 Appointed a general in the Australian Imperial Force in 1917, and made honorary field marshal in the Australian Army in 1925.[3]
Sir Harry Chauvel GCMG, KCB 1929 1865 1945 Chief of the General Staff (1923–30) and Inspector-in-Chief Volunteer Defence Corps (1940–45)
Sir John Monash GCMG, KCB, VD 1929 1865 1931 Australian Corps (1918)
Sir Brudenell White KCB, KCMG, KCVO, DSO 1940 1876 1940 Chief of the General Staff (1920–23, 1940)
Sir Thomas Blamey GBE, KCB, CMG, DSO, ED 1941 1884 1951 Promoted field marshal in 1951. Deputy Commander-in-Chief Middle East Command (1941–1942), General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Australian Military Forces (1942–45) and Commander of Allied Land Forces, South West Pacific Area (1942–45)
Sir John Wilton KBE, CB, DSO 1968 1910 1981 Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (1966–70)
Sir Frank Hassett AC, KBE, CB, DSO, LVO 1975 1918 2008 Chief of the Defence Force Staff (1976–77)
Sir Arthur MacDonald KBE, CB 1977 1919 1995 Chief of the Defence Force Staff (1977–79)
Sir Phillip Bennett AC, KBE, DSO 1984 1928 Chief of the Defence Force (1984–87) and Governor of Tasmania (1987–95)
Peter Gration AC, OBE 1987 1932 Chief of the Defence Force (1987–93)
John Baker AC, DSM 1995 1936 2007 Chief of the Defence Force (1995–98)
Sir Peter Cosgrove AK, MC 2002 1947 Chief of the Defence Force (2002–05) and Governor-General of Australia (2014–)
David Hurley AC, DSC 2011 1953 Chief of the Defence Force (2011–14) and Governor of New South Wales (2014–)
Angus Campbell AO, DSC 2018 Chief of the Defence Force (2018–)

In addition, John Northcott held the honorary rank of general while acting as Governor-General of Australia in 1951 and 1956.[4]

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

Name Year promoted Born Died Notes
Sir John Hackett GCB, CBE, DSO & Two Bars, MC 1966 1910 1997

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Chapter 4: Badges and Emblems" (PDF). Army Dress Manual. Canberra: Australian Army. 6 June 2014. p. 48. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 April 2015.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ When Birdwood 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.
  4. ^ Coates, Henry John (2000). "Northcott, Sir John (1890–1966)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 13 April 2009.