Patrick Sanders (British Army officer)

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Sir Patrick Sanders
General Sanders in 2022
Born (1966-04-06) 6 April 1966 (age 57)
Tidworth, Wiltshire, England
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1984–present
Service number520489
UnitThe Rifles
Commands heldChief of the General Staff
Strategic Command
Field Army
3rd (United Kingdom) Division
Task Force Helmand
20th Armoured Brigade
4th Battalion, The Rifles
2nd Battalion, The Royal Green Jackets
Battles/warsThe Troubles
Kosovo War
Iraq War
War in Afghanistan
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Companion of the Distinguished Service Order
Alma materRoyal Military Academy Sandhurst

General Sir Patrick Nicholas Yardley Monrad Sanders, KCB, CBE, DSO, ADC Gen (born 6 April 1966), is a senior British Army officer serving as Chief of the General Staff since June 2022.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Born on 6 April 1966 at Tidworth, Wiltshire, he is the son of Lieutenant Colonel John Sanders.[2] He was educated at Worth School.[2] He then went up to the University of Exeter,[3] later pursuing further studies at Cranfield University.[4]

Military career[edit]

KCB breast star

Sanders was commissioned into the Royal Green Jackets on 23 September 1984.[5] He served as a subaltern in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and then undertook tours in Kosovo in 1999 and Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2001.[3] He became Chief of Staff of 1st Mechanised Brigade in 2002 and then Commanding Officer of 2nd Battalion the Royal Green Jackets in 2005.[3] In the latter role he managed the transition of his battalion to become 4th Battalion The Rifles, then seeing action at the siege of UK bases in Basra in 2007 during the Iraq War.[6] On 25 July 2008, he was appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) "in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Iraq during the period 1st October 2007 to 31st March 2008".[7]

Sanders became Commander of 20th Armoured Brigade in August 2009,[8] deployed under Task Force Helmand to Afghanistan in October 2011.[6] On 28 September 2012, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) "in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Afghanistan during the period 1 October 2011 to 31 March 2012".[9] He served as Chief of the Defence Staff's Liaison Officer to the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2012 and Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Operations) in March 2013.[10] In 2014, he attended the Prime Minister's COBRA meetings on the floods crisis.[6]

General officer[edit]

Sanders took command of the 3rd (United Kingdom) Division in April 2015.[11] Then in December 2016, he was appointed Commander Field Army and promoted lieutenant general.[12] Sanders was promoted general on 6 May 2019 and appointed as Commander Joint Forces Command;[13] Joint Forces Command was renamed as Strategic Command on 9 December 2019.[14]

Sanders was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2020 New Year Honours.[15] He was the preferred candidate of the Ministry of Defence to succeed General Sir Nick Carter as Chief of the Defence Staff in 2021, due to his expertise in cyber capability, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson picked Admiral Sir Tony Radakin instead.[16][17] Announced in February 2022, Sanders became Chief of the General Staff in June 2022.[18]

On 7 June 2022, Sanders took the decision to cancel an overseas deployment by the 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment after a number of incidents which demonstrated a poor standard of discipline in the unit.[19] Armed Forces Minister, James Heappey, was said to be "sorry and embarrassed" by the "disgraceful" behaviour.[20]

On 16 June 2022, Sanders told British soldiers they are the generation that must prepare "to fight in Europe once again" as the conflict in Ukraine escalated, stating "There is now a burning imperative to forge an Army capable of fighting alongside our allies and defeating Russia in battle."[21]

The Guardian reported, in June 2023, that, following concerns in the Ministry of Defence that Sanders might resign over spending cuts in the Army, interviews had already taken place to find Sanders' successor.[22]

Speaking at a military conference in January 2024, Sanders described the British people as part of a "prewar generation" who may have to prepare themselves to fight in a war against Russia. Sanders said the UK needed to take "preparatory steps to enable placing our societies on a war footing". Such action was "not merely desirable, but essential", he added.[23]

Honorary appointments[edit]

Colonel Commandant of The Rifles (2019–2023),[24] Sanders was then appointed Colonel Commandant and President of the Honourable Artillery Company on 31 January 2019, succeeding General Sir Richard Barrons.[25]

A Freeman of the City of London, he is also a Liveryman of the Blacksmiths' Company.[26]

In May 2023, Sanders carried the Queen's Sceptre in the Royal Procession at the Coronation of Charles III and Camilla.[27]


  1. ^ "Chief of the General Staff". British Army.
  2. ^ a b "Sanders, Lt Gen. Patrick Nicholas Yardley Monrad". Who's Who 2018. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2017. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U271381. ISBN 978-0-19-954088-4.
  3. ^ a b c "Major-General Patrick Sanders" (PDF). Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  4. ^ 'SANDERS, Maj. Gen. Patrick Nicholas Yardley Monrad', Who's Who 2016, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2016
  5. ^ "No. 49939". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 November 1984. p. 16021.
  6. ^ a b c "UK floods: Iraq war veteran Maj Gen Patrick Sanders leads military flood response". The Telegraph. 12 February 2014. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014.
  7. ^ "No. 58776". The London Gazette (Supplement). 25 July 2008. p. 11244.
  8. ^ "Senior Army Commands" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  9. ^ "No. 60283". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 September 2012. p. 18623.
  10. ^ "Army Commands" (PDF). Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  11. ^ "Court & Social". The Times. 30 July 2014.
  12. ^ "No. 61793". The London Gazette (Supplement). 19 December 2016. p. 26901.
  13. ^ "No. 62635". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 May 2019. p. 8120.
  14. ^ "Joint Forces Command to Strategic Command, the journey". Strategic Command. 9 December 2019. JFC is also being renamed Strategic Command to better reflect the contribution it makes to defence.
  15. ^ "No. 62866". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 2019. p. N2.
  16. ^ Parker, George (2 October 2021). "UK military chiefs battle to become next head of armed forces". Financial Times. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  17. ^ Sheridan, Danielle (8 October 2021). "PM went against MOD to appoint Radakin". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  18. ^ "Defence secretary names new chief of general staff". Civil Service World. 25 February 2022. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  19. ^ "Paratroops banned from deployment over orgy filmed at Merville Barracks". The Times. 17 June 2022. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  20. ^ "Army minister 'embarrassed' over alleged paratrooper sex video at Colchester's Merville Barracks". ITV. 9 June 2022. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  21. ^ "New UK Army chief issues Russia rallying cry". BBC. 19 June 2022. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  22. ^ "Head of British army could quit in row over further cuts". The Guardian. 29 June 2023. Retrieved 30 June 2023.
  23. ^ Sabbagh, Dan; Walker, Peter (24 January 2024). "Army chief says people of UK are 'prewar generation' who must be ready to fight Russia" – via The Guardian.
  24. ^ "No. 64276". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 January 2024. p. 26495.
  25. ^ "Buckingham Palace". The Times. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  26. ^ "Modern Freedom". City of London. Retrieved 9 May 2023.
  27. ^ "Coronation order of service in full". BBC News. 5 May 2023. Retrieved 6 May 2023.
Military offices
Preceded by General Officer Commanding,
3rd (United Kingdom) Division

Succeeded by
Preceded by Commander Field Army
Succeeded by
Preceded by Commander Joint Forces Command
(Commander Strategic Command from December 2019)

Succeeded by
Preceded by Colonel Commandant and President,
Honourable Artillery Company

Preceded by Chief of the General Staff