Nicholas Cottam

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Nicholas Cottam
Born 17 February 1951
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1973-2008
Rank Major-General
Commands held 5th Infantry Division
Battles/wars Operation Banner
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Officer of the Order of the British Empire

Major-General Nicholas Jeremy Cottam CB OBE (born 17 February 1951) was a senior British Army officer who went on to be Military Secretary and thereafter Registrar of St Paul's Cathedral.

Military career[edit]

Cottam was commissioned into the Royal Green Jackets in 1973.[1] He became Commanding Officer of his Regiment and was deployed in Northern Ireland in the early 1990s being appointed to the OBE[2] and mentioned in despatches for his service there.[3] In 1994 he went to South Africa as part of a Commonwealth Peace Keeping Force.[4]

He became Director of Personnel Services in 2001 for the Army[5] and went on to be General Officer Commanding 5th Infantry Division in 2003[6] and Military Secretary in 2005.[6] In that role he increased the retirement age for officers in the Territorial Army to 60[7] and carried out a review of the Reserves recommending that they be used for augmentation as much as for maximum effort.[8]

Cathedral Registrar[edit]

In 2008, after retirement from the Army, Cottam became Registrar of St Paul's Cathedral,.[9] In this position he returned to global prominence during the 2011-2012 Occupy London protests outside the cathedral buildings. He led the public response of the cathedral community to the protests, and made public statements on the resignations of three members of the cathedral's clergy,[10] namely: the Rt Revd Graeme Knowles, the Dean of St Paul's, who resigned following criticism of the Cathedral Chapter's resolution to evict the Occupy London protesters; the Revd Canon Dr Giles Fraser, Canon Chancellor, who resigned due to his opposition to the Chapter's majority decision, and a minor cleric Fraser Dyer, who resigned from a part-time chaplaincy role. Cottam spoke out against the unruly behaviour of the protesters, who he said had in some instances desecrated the cathedral.[11] Cottam was reported to have been angered by Fraser's decision not to support agreed policy and to resign his position.[12] Cottam retired in September 2015.[13]


  1. ^ "No. 46125". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 November 1973. p. 13473. 
  2. ^ "No. 52137". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 May 1990. p. 9153. 
  3. ^ "No. 53453". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 October 1993. p. 16388. 
  4. ^ Reports of the African National Congress 11 February 1994
  5. ^ Families lobby for Deepcut inquiry BBC News, 29 October 2002
  6. ^ a b "Maj-Gen N J Cottam, CB, OBE Authorised Biography - Debrett's People of Today". Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  7. ^ Dad's Army fills officer shortage The Times, 9 October 2005
  8. ^ Reserves Review TA Quarterly, April 2009
  9. ^ Appointments Church Times, 14 November 2008
  10. ^ "Dean of St Paul's Cathedral resigns with 'great sadness'". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Blasphemous 666 sign was daubed on St Paul's pillar: Registrar says Cathedral has been 'desecrated' by protesters". Daily Mail. 21 December 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "The struggle for St Paul's". The Daily Telegraph. 30 October 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "Nicholas Cottam, Registrar of St Paul's Cathedral, to retire". Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Arthur Denaro
General Officer Commanding the 5th Division
Succeeded by
Andrew Farquhar
Preceded by
Freddie Viggers
Military Secretary
Succeeded by
Mark Mans