Staff College, Camberley

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Staff College, Camberley
Staff College, Camberley.jpg
Staff College, Camberley
Active 1802–1997
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Training
Role Staff Officer Training
Garrison/HQ Camberley, Surrey

Staff College, Camberley, Surrey, was a staff college for the British Army and the Presidency armies of British India (later merged to form the Indian Army). It had its origins in the Royal Military College, High Wycombe founded in 1799, which in 1802 became the Senior Department of the new Royal Military College. In 1858 the name of the Senior Department was changed to "Staff College", and in 1870 this was separated from the Royal Military College. Apart from periods of closure during major wars, the Staff College continued to operate until 1997, when it was merged into the new Joint Services Command and Staff College. The equivalent in the Royal Navy was the Royal Naval Staff College, Greenwich and the equivalent in the Royal Air Force was the RAF Staff College, Bracknell.


Old print of the College

In 1799 Colonel John Le Marchant submitted a proposal to the Duke of York, the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, for a Royal Military College. A private officer training school, based on the idea of a senior or staff department in the proposed college, was opened in the same year by Colonel Le Marchant, at the Antelope Inn, High Wycombe, and designated the Royal Military College, High Wycombe, with himself as Commandant. This facility was officially recognised by royal warrant in 1801 as the senior department of the Royal Military College which was to open at a large house in 1802 in Great Marlow.[1] Le Marchant was now appointed as Lieutenant-Governor and Superintendent-General of the College.[2]

The course lasted for two years and in 1808 was specifically stated as intended to train future commanding officers and staff officers. Until 1858, students were required to pay to attend. The senior department of the Royal Military College moved to a building in West Street in Farnham in Surrey in 1813 and in 1820 joined the junior department (which trained aspiring officers before they were commissioned) at Sandhurst.[3]

Decline, independence and subsequent growth[edit]

The College underwent a decline and by 1857 the annual admissions had fallen to just six.[3] In 1858 the name was changed to the Staff College and it was made independent of the Royal Military College in 1870.[3] It now had its own Commandant and Adjutant, although continued to be administered by Sandhurst until 1911. However it now had properly conducted entry and final examinations, and primarily military subjects were taught. Purpose-built dedicated premises were approved in 1858, and built between 1859 and 1863 to a design by James Pennethorne, adjacent to the Royal Military College (but over the county boundary in Camberley).[4] During the 1870s there were just 40 students although numbers increased to 60 students in the 1880s.[3]

In 1903 officers of the Colonial forces first joined the college and in 1905 naval officers were first introduced.[3] The College was completely restructured in 1938, with a junior wing at Camberley, for officers of an average age of 29 years, and a senior wing at Minley Manor, Farnborough, for graduates of the former aged about 35 years.[5]

A number of the Israel Defense Forces' early officers attended classes at Camberley, including Yitzhak Rabin (1952–53).[6] In 1994 it was announced that a new Joint Services Command and Staff College would replace the Staff College, the Royal Naval Staff College, RAF Staff College, and Joint Service Defence College in 1997.[7]


Commandants since the College gained its independence in 1870 have been:[8]
Commandant, Staff College, Sandhurst

Commandant, Staff College, Camberley

Note the college was closed during the War


  1. ^ Marlow Tour Marlow Society
  2. ^ Major-General John Gaspard Le Marchant (1766–1812) Defence Academy
  3. ^ a b c d e "Full text of "Sir William Robertson, the life story of the Chief of the Imperial General Staff"". Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  4. ^ Good Stuff. "The Staff College - Camberley - Surrey - England - British Listed Buildings". Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  5. ^ Vote a. Number of Land Forces Army Estimates, 1949–50
  6. ^ Slater, Robert (1993). Rabin of Israel: A Biography of the Embattled Prime Minister. St. Martin's Press. p. 95. ISBN 0-312-09368-3. 
  7. ^ Ministry of Defence: The Joint Services Command and Staff College National Audit Office Report 2002
  8. ^ Army Commands
  9. ^ Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  10. ^ Archibald Alison at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  11. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24580. p. 2990. 10 May 1878. Retrieved 2011-09-05.
  12. ^ "- Person Page 7509". Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  13. ^ Denis Larionov & Alexander Zhulin. "Read the eBook The Catholic who's who by F. C. (Francis Cowley) Burnand online for free (page 10 of 55)". Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  14. ^ Whitaker's Almanack 1894

Coordinates: 51°20′27″N 0°44′55″W / 51.3408°N 0.7485°W / 51.3408; -0.7485