John Kiszely

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Sir John Kiszely
Birth name John Panton Kiszely
Born (1948-04-02) 2 April 1948 (age 68)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1969–2008
Rank Lieutenant General
Service number 486680
Commands held 1st Bn Scots Guards
7th Armoured Brigade
1st (UK) Armoured Division
Regional Forces
Battles/wars Falklands War
Bosnian war
Iraq War
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Military Cross
Mention in Dispatches
Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service
Legion of Merit (United States)

Lieutenant General Sir John Panton Kiszely, KCB, MC (born 2 April 1948) is a retired senior British Army officer who was Director General of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. He is a former National President of The Royal British Legion, having resigned because he had said to undercover journalists that he was able to lobby government defence ministers.

Military career[edit]

The son of Dr John Kiszely and Mrs Kiszely, Kiszely was educated at Marlborough College and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst before being commissioned into the Scots Guards as a second lieutenant on 20 December 1968.[1] He served with the regiment as a platoon commander, company commander and commanding officer in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Germany, Cyprus and the Falkland Islands.[2]

Kiszely became commanding officer of 1st Battalion the Scots Guards in 1986 and, following various other military appointments, took command of 7th Armoured Brigade in early 1993. In 1996 he was appointed General Officer Commanding 1st (UK) Armoured Division and served as Commander of the Multi-National Division (South-West) in Bosnia.[3]

In September 1998 Kiszely was appointed Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Resource and Plans) at the Ministry of Defence.[4] In 2002 he was appointed Commander of Regional Forces at Land Command[2] and in 2004 he was deployed as Senior British Military Representative and Deputy Commanding General, Multinational Force, Iraq.[2] In 2005 he took up his post as Director General of the Defence Academy.[2] He retired from this post on 30 May 2008.[5]

Later life[edit]

On 14 December 2009, Kiszely gave evidence to The Iraq Inquiry in which he claimed that American officials had refused to admit that they were dealing with an insurgency in Iraq.[6]

In December 2008 Kiszely was appointed as the new National President of The Royal British Legion. He took over the role from Air Marshal Ian Macfadyen CB OBE FRAeS who recommended him for the post.[7] In October 2012 the Sunday Times published an article which alleged that Kiszely was among several retired military leaders who had offered to lobby and influence MPs and government defence ministers on behalf of arms firms.[8] When the Royal British Legion announced it was setting up an inquiry into Kiszely's behaviour, he resigned, admitting that he had made "exaggerated and foolish claims" and therefore it would be "inappropriate" for him to keep his role at the Legion. However, he claimed that he had not broken Whitehall rules.[9] Defence secretary Phillip Hammond said that the allegations against Kiszely and others are damaging and that he may restrict the access that former officers have to current staff.[10] "If they're abusing that access for commercial purposes then we will have to tighten it up or maybe even shut it down," he said. However, he argued that former military officers did not have influence on how the Ministry of Defence spends taxpayers' money.[10] The Ministry of Defence said it would investigate whether Kiszely and other ex-generals implicated by the investigation had broken any rules and if so, what punishment was appropriate.[10]

Honours and decorations[edit]

Kiszely was awarded the Military Cross for an action during the Battle of Mount Tumbledown during the Falklands War. He led a single-handed charge into the Argentine position, shooting two enemy soldiers and killing a third with his bayonet. The Argentines were promptly routed and surrendered.[11]


Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely is married with three children.[12]


Military offices
Preceded by
Roddy Cordy-Simpson
General Officer Commanding the 1st (UK) Armoured Division
Succeeded by
Redmond Watt
Preceded by
Mike Jackson
Commander Multi-National Division (South-West), Bosnia
June 1996–December 1996
Succeeded by
Evelyn Webb-Carter
New title Commander Regional Forces
Succeeded by
Sir John McColl
Preceded by
John McColl
Senior British Military Representative
and Deputy Commanding General, Multinational Force, Iraq

Succeeded by
Robin Brims
Preceded by
Sir Roger Jackling
Director General of the Defence Academy
Succeeded by
Andrew Graham
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Ian Macfadyen
President of the Royal British Legion
Succeeded by
Peter Wilkinson