General of The Salvation Army

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General of The Salvation Army
Rank insignia of General
Standard of the Salvation Army
Lyndon Buckingham
since 3 August 2023
The Salvation Army
TypeChief Executive Officer
ResidenceLondon, United Kingdom
AppointerHigh Council,
but must be under 68 years old
Term lengthFive years,
extendable up to a maximum of seven years
Constituting instrumentThe Salvation Army Acts of 1931 and 1980 via the Parliament of the United Kingdom
Formation2 July 1865
First holderWilliam Booth
DeputyChief of the Staff

General is the title of the international leader and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Salvation Army, a Christian denomination with extensive charitable social services that gives quasi-military rank to its ministers (who are therefore known as officers). The General is elected by the High Council of The Salvation Army and serves a term of five years, which may be extended to seven years. According to the organisation, the General is purported to be appointed by God, and the council identifies that person.[1] Lyndon Buckingham is the current general, who assumed office on 3 August 2023 upon the retirement of Brian Peddle. The organisation's founder, William Booth, was the first and longest-serving general. There have been 22 generals as of 2023.

History and procedures for election[edit]

Usage of the title "General" within the context of The Salvation Army, began with the founder of The Salvation Army, William Booth. His wife, Catherine Booth, the organisation's co-founder, became known as the "Mother" of The Salvation Army. General Booth served as General until his death in 1912; Booth selected his son, Bramwell Booth as his successor. It was William Booth's intention to have each General dictate their successor, but the Salvation Army Act of 1931 passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom requires that each General is selected by the High Council of The Salvation Army. Every General after Bramwell Booth has been selected by the High Council.[2] In accordance with the Salvation Army Act of 1931, a General must retire at age 68 and may serve as long as seven years.[3] The General is elected by the High Council when their predecessor retires or dies (known within the Salvation Army as being promoted to Glory). William Booth was the only general to die in office. The High Council is composed of the Chief of the Staff, all active commissioners, except the spouse of the incumbent General, and all territorial commanders. The High Council may also remove a General from office for violations of their "covenant to God", disability, or the inability to fulfill their duties, though this has never happened.

The officer of the Salvation Army who is elected general is the worldwide spiritual leader of the Salvation Army and the Chief Executive Officer of the organization. The General has a role that is similar to the Pope's role within the Catholic Church. Since The Salvation Army maintains a hierarchical, quasi-military structure, all appointments and regulations are issued under the General's authority.

Three women have been elected General of the Salvation Army: Evangeline Booth, William Booths's daughter, in 1934, Eva Burrows in 1986, and Linda Bond in 2011.

On January 31, 2011, after 10 days of meetings which began on January 21, 2011, the 17th High Council elected Linda Bond as the 19th General of The Salvation Army. Bond was the third woman to hold the post and the fourth Canadian. This election was handled by the largest High Council in history and was especially significant due to the number of women delegates (57) outnumbering the number of men delegates (52).[4]

On 3 August 2013 the then-Commissioner André Cox was elected by the High Council of 2013 as the 20th General of The Salvation Army.[5] The High Council of 2018 selected Brian Peddle as Cox's successor in May 2018; he took office in August 2018.

On 26 May 2023 the High Council of 2023 elected Lyndon Buckingham as Peddle's successor.


In the event of vacancy, either by death or resignation, the Salvation Army Act of 1980 requires that the Chief of the Staff of The Salvation Army serve as acting general if a successor had not already been elected.[6] The most recent instance of vacancy was in 2013 when Linda Bond retired unexpectedly; Andre Cox served as acting general.

List of living retired Generals[edit]

There are four retired generals living. The most recent general to die was Shaw Clifton on 29 May 2023.


The General serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Salvation Army at the international level, but the organization is divided into many subunits controlled by other individuals. For instance, Commissioner Kenneth Hodder, appointed by Peddle, serves as the National Commander of The Salvation Army of the United States.

Generals of The Salvation Army[edit]

No. Portrait Name
Term of office Nationality Chief of the Staff
Took office Left office Time in office
1 William Booth OBE
2 July 1865 20 August 1912 † 47 years, 49 days United Kingdom Bramwell Booth
2 Bramwell Booth CH
21 August 1912 13 February 1929 16 years, 176 days United Kingdom T. Henry Howard
Edward Higgins
3 Edward Higgins
14 February 1929 11 November 1934 5 years, 270 days United Kingdom Henry Mapp
4 Evangeline Booth OF
11 November 1934 1 November 1939 4 years, 355 days United Kingdom
United States
John McMillan
Alfred G. Cunningham
5 George Carpenter
1 November 1939 21 June 1946 6 years, 232 days Australia
Charles Baugh
6 Albert Orsborn
21 June 1946 1 July 1954 8 years, 10 days United Kingdom John Allan
Edgar Dibden
7 Wilfred Kitching CBE
1 July 1954 23 November 1963 9 years, 145 days United Kingdom
William J. Dray
Norman F. Duggins
Erik Wickberg
Leger des Heils 80 jaar. Wethouder Jan Tabak van Amsterdam begroet Generaal Fre…, Bestanddeelnr 920-3452.jpg
Frederick Coutts CBE
23 November 1963 21 September 1969 5 years, 302 days United Kingdom
9 Erik Wickberg
21 September 1969 6 July 1974 4 years, 288 days Sweden Arnold Brown
10 Clarence Wiseman OC
6 July 1974 5 July 1977 2 years, 364 days Canada Arthur E. Carr
11 Arnold Brown OC
5 July 1977 14 December 1981 4 years, 162 days Canada W. Stanley Cottrill
12 Jarl Wahlström
14 December 1981 9 July 1986 4 years, 207 days Finland
Caughey Gauntlett
13 Eva Burrows AC
9 July 1986 9 July 1993 7 years, 0 days Australia
Ron Cox
Bramwell Tillsley
14 Bramwell Tillsley
9 July 1993 18 May 1994 313 days Canada Earle Maxwell
15 Paul Rader
(born 1934)
23 July 1994 23 July 1999 5 years, 0 days United States
16 John Gowans
23 July 1999 13 November 2002 3 years, 113 days United Kingdom John Larsson
17 John Larsson
13 November 2002 2 April 2006 3 years, 140 days Sweden Israel Gaither
18 Shaw Clifton
2 April 2006 2 April 2011 5 years, 0 days United Kingdom Robin Dunster
Barry Swanson
19 Linda Bond
(born 1946)
2 April 2011 13 June 2013 2 years, 72 days Canada
Andre Cox
20 André Cox
(born 1954)
3 August 2013 3 August 2018 5 years, 0 days United Kingdom Switzerland William A. Roberts
Brian Peddle
21 Brian Peddle
(born 1957)
3 August 2018 3 August 2023 5 years, 0 days Canada Lyndon Buckingham
22 Lyndon Buckingham

(born 1962)

3 August 2023 Incumbent 125 days New Zealand Edward Hill


Below is a timeline of Salvation Army Generals' terms in office.

Lyndon BuckinghamBrian PeddleAndré CoxLinda BondShaw CliftonJohn LarssonJohn GowansPaul RaderBramwell TillsleyEva BurrowsJarl WahlstromArnold Brown (General of the Salvation Army)Clarence WisemanErik WickbergFrederick CouttsWilfred KitchingAlbert OrsbornGeorge Carpenter (Salvation Army)Evangeline BoothEdward HigginsBramwell BoothWilliam Booth



  1. ^ "2023 High Council: Day One". 22 May 2023. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  2. ^ "The Salvation Army International - What is the High Council?". Retrieved Dec 2, 2020.
  3. ^ Coutts, John (1977). The Salvationists. Oxford, England: A R Mowbray & Co Ltd. p. 27. ISBN 0-264-66071-4.
  4. ^ "Linda Bond Named General-Elect". Caring Magazine Online. Caring Magazine. Retrieved 28 May 2023.
  5. ^ "The Salvation Army International - Commissioner André Cox elected 20th General of The Salvation Army". Retrieved Dec 2, 2020.
  6. ^ "IHQ Announces Retirement of General Linda Bond". The Salvation Army. Retrieved 30 May 2023.

External links[edit]