Talk:Field marshal (United Kingdom)

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Four Field Marshals have been VC[edit]


The article says that four Field Marshals have been VC, but only three have the post-nominal VC. Who was the fourth man? JDAWiseman (talk) 20:35, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

My bad, that would be Roberts. Fixed now.Thanks for bringing it up! HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 20:58, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

Sir John Burgoyne ?[edit]

Sorry, english it's not my native language.

Probably a mystake with Sir John Burgoyne. It's not the same person in this list and in the article Sir John Burgoyne. Ludo29 (talk) 08:44, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Accessibility and usability review[edit]

I've checked through the list for accessibility and some aspects of usability and have the following comments:

  1. Text size and colours are all well within our normal standards and should present no more difficulty in reading than the best of our articles.
  2. Background colours conform to the standard used by default and are therefore accessible.
  3. Images all have alt text, but the text for the images inside the tables is very sparse. A screen reader would simply be repeating the subject's name (already given in the second field). Ideally, the alt text would describe succinctly the major features of the image, so that a visually-impaired visitor would gain at least some idea of what the subject looked like.
  4. The table identifies row and column headers, and scopes them appropriately.
  5. Both tables lack captions. A caption is often redundant where a table follows immediately after a section heading, as it commonly repeats that heading. However, in this case, the textual description preceding each table separates it sufficiently from the section header that I'd recommend adding a caption to each table. Perhaps something like "Field marshals who were professional soldiers in the British Army" and "Field marshals without a career in the British Army or British Indian Army", or similar would improve accessibility – this also has the usability advantage for re-users of our content that the tables become self-contained, should they be used in other contexts.
  6. All of the columns that can be sensibly sorted are sortable. I'm a little puzzled by the sort key for the date of promotion, where sometimes the year and sometimes the ISO-style date is used, although I can see that it makes no difference in a case such as this where no other rows could be interspersed. I assume that the choice of directly-coded CSS hidden spans for those sort keys, rather than the use of {{Dts|yyyy|mm|dd}} is an effort to reduce the number of transclusions and hence the load time. Although from a usability perspective, encapsulating dates for sorting is preferred, I appreciate the balance that has generally to be struck between usability and load times. Nevertheless, in this case, an edit preview is generated in around 3 seconds, so I doubt that even another 138 {{Dts}} templates would worsen that significantly as long as the fully parametrised version were used (the {{Dts|yyyy-mm-dd}} version uses a parser function that limits it to around 100 or less transclusions).

In summary, the standard of both accessibility and usability is high enough to meet featured criteria, but could still be improved with some effort. --RexxS (talk) 16:45, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

I concur with the above, and have done some of it. The captions, for example. I've also helped the refs as mentioned on my talk. My thinking is that the 8 still in the footnotes section should find their way to the specific section as I've done with the London Gazette ones. They're in LDR at the moment but this is just an interim step. The fn "Heathcote, pp. 55–256." seems odd; 255? The {dts} remains to do and will be a bit tedious. Preview and load times have not been noticeable for me, so I'd say just do the right thing. Alarbus (talk) 02:15, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

Thanks gents. I'm not sure much is gained by changing refs to the linked Harvard style, but nothing is lost by it anyway. I don't know if it's improved since the last time I used it, but I've found the |refs= system to be very fragile in the past, which is why I don't normally use it. Moving references, especially those only cited once, from the footnotes to the specific references column seems like a lot of complicated markup for only aesthetic improvements, at the expense of an extra click for the reader.

Forgive my ignorance (I usually stick to articles—I'm much better with prose than with markup), but how does one add a caption to a table? Is that what this edits was about? The use of hard coding rather than templates was done by Courcelles (he was kind enough to sort out my tables from the pile of rubbish I'd managed to produce), but when we're talking about 138 transclusions, on top of the 138 for the refs and a few more things like cite templates, I worry about running into the limit. The difference in sort keys I think was an attempt at reducing the amount of clutter produced by the markup—where only one officer was promoted in a given year, only the year is used; the full ISO-style date is used in cases where multiple officers were promoted in a given year. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 20:37, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

The {sfn} system does the collation of duplicate references automatically; e.g. you don't have to have name="Heathcote p123" to combine them. There were several duplicates that this has caused to combine (there are 2 fewer footnotes than before). More importantly, you don't have to bother with names when updating page numbers. The |refs= (WP:LDR) is really just a migratory mechanism in this case; I'd move them further along so that they're invoked inline with {sfn}, too. Sometimes I do it all in one step, such as here (Yeoman). I believe in having the full citations together in a block, not some embedded in the footnotes, and others further down in a bibliography (whatever the labels are). If an article is all web sources, they're probably all going to be in wide columns in the footnotes. With book/journal sources (paginated), split is more flexible and allows narrower (i.e. more) columns. Templates like {sfn} and {dts} have low overhead, and de-clutter things a lot, which is goodness. Finishing the {sfn} (getting rid of the |refs=) is fairly straightforward and I'd be glad to do it when I finish what I'm doing with C. D. Howe. Doing the {dts} is more tedious and I'll wait until this talk runs before touching that. Oh, |+ Professional soldiers is how to do a table caption; I just copied the section header, but use whatever you like. I also set some column widths to keep dates from wrapping. Best, Alarbus (talk) 21:03, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
I take it back. That's very clever! I can see the advantages of collating all the full references together, especially as this article is heavy on Harvard-style book refs and light on web sources, and it would look better here, though I wouldn't normally use it on an article with a higher proportion of web sources. I'm less convinced on {{dts}}, because the only benefit seems to be a light reduction in the amount of markup visible in edit mode, and if somebody would be scared off by <span style="display: none;">, I'm not sure a fiddly template is going to be any less scary (in fact, it's possibly more so—I've got to know wiki markup well enough that I can work out that that markup means "invisible text", but wouldn't know what the template did if you hadn't told me). If your alternative is less fiddly and less fragile than the |refs= system, then by all means go for it. I've got the hang of table captions now, thanks! ;) Thanks for all your help. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 22:29, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
Not my cleverness, though; {{sfn}} was developed by Charlie Gillingham (yes, that's an article). I have seen this system used in articles using all web sources. It can be done (it shouldn't be done). In general, templates are to be preferred because they can be changed centrally if need be. By using them, you open the door to the future. I also think that html and css are “scarier” to the mundanes than a templates is. But I'll leave you and Rexx to sort that one out (I don't wanna do 138 dates by hand anyway).
You know how {sfn} does the auto collation? It's generating named ref tags and if they're duplicates, MediaWiki itself combines them. Since the names are generated consistently by the template per the args, the names match if all the args match.
The WP:LDR (|refs=) system is a good one in that it de-clutters prose in editboxes. People get tripped up by cutting the references to them inline while leaving the definition down below. Too many people are doing section editing instead of page editing. With the {sfn} system, if you cut all uses of a ref, the page still generates without error (although you should install the script to get useful feedback on how things are working (or not working). Best, Alarbus (talk) 23:32, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
Hehe - what have I told you about holes and digging, Harry? "where only one officer was promoted in a given year, only the year is used" see numbers 1 and 2 (1736-01-12 and 1736-01-14) versus numbers 3 and 4 (1739 and 1739). Now do you believe me when I say I'm puzzled?
Templates have a bad reputation in some quarters for being bulky and for slowing down pages. Indeed, some of them are and do. The cite family are complex, lumbering beasts that add some "weight" to a page, but sfn and sort are sprightly and lean, and nothing to be afraid of. Sprinkle them about liberally; you'll be doing future editors a big favour. Cheers, --RexxS (talk) 21:55, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
Please, sir, it wasn't my fault! Honest! ;) I see your point, but when the sorting was actually done, I had no idea what sorting even was, so I'm not surprised it's a mess!
My only hesitation with templates in general is the number of them that would be required if we're using one for each entry (with the refs and the sorting alone, that'd be 276 transclusions). I don't know what the limit is, but if you two assure me that the list can be safely expanded (templates 'n' all) if the MoD decide to re-activate the rank, without the limit being an issue, I'll take your word for it. My slight hesitation with Alarbus' suggestion is that it would be replacing fiddly (but just-about-comprehensible) markup with a fiddly template, with the only benefit being a reduction of clutter in edit mode. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 22:29, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
Upon further inspection, it seems my above description is how it's supposed to be, but not exactly how it is. The ISO-style date is only necessary when two officers were promoted on different dates in the same year. It seems to be used on all entries that match this rule, and on a lot more where it's not necessary but it doesn't hurt anything. I can't see an instance where just the year is used when there were multiple promotions in the same year (which, obviously, is the only case in which it would bugger the sorting). HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 00:07, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
See Pedro II of Brazil. It has 450 footnotes and 569 uses of {{sfn}}. “Scary?” The generated page says
  • Post-expand include size: 374868/2048000 bytes
That's less than 20% of the available space, so it could probably support five times as many footnotes. It's an FA and is already pretty comprehensive, so I don't see it growing five-fold. There's a big difference in the burden different templating systems impose. Barack Obama is full of web sources; the POV types Googling for shite that supports their, uh, shite! Most of the sources are used once, inline; as the battle rages, the sources come and go.
  • Post-expand include size: 2004768/2048000 bytes
/That's/ scary. And only 302 footnotes. Add a source, and the page breaks. Add a navbox and the page breaks. Modify one of the templates and this page and hundreds more break. The main cite templates need to have their options pruned back to reduce their burden. This is what we did with WP:HLIST and navboxes. We've cut million of the {·} type templates. They have a fairly small load each, but some pages had several thousand in a wad of overdone navboxes. nb: reducing clutter in the editbox is a worthwhile goal in itself; it's what people deal with day in and day out. Best, Alarbus (talk) 23:54, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
@Harry, sorry I wasn't clearer in my earlier comment. Look at number 3, Richard Boyle, 2nd Viscount Shannon:
  • <span style="display: none;">1739</span>2 July 1739
and compare with number 4, François de La Rochefoucauld, marquis de Montendre:
  • <span style="display: none;">1739</span>2 July 1739
Both were promoted in the same year, but just 1739 was used for sorting. "Aha," you may say, "they were both promoted on the same day!", but then you can compare them with numbers 12, 13 and 14: all promoted on 12 October 1793, but 1793-10-12 is used as the sort key. Let's face it; the style used was whatever the editor felt like using (as long as it worked). It's no big deal, but it doesn't help other editors who copy this sort of stuff and (mis)use it in other articles because they can't tell which bit of the date goes where. Seriously, why not use a template like {{dts|1739|July|2|format=dmy}}? which displays as 2 July 1739 but sorts as 1739-07-02 - which is exactly the behaviour we want; is easy to copy; and can't be misused. Cheers, --RexxS (talk) 00:55, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, it's a bit of a mess, which doesn't surprise me. There are reasons to tidy it up, and I might do it at some point, but it's not affecting how it displays, so it's not a high priority. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 01:09, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
(unless you're intending to take this to FA-ville (I guess that would be FL-ville), as there's a bit of the MOS wut says to eschew html in favour of wikimarkup (which templates are). And there's Google, which reads text while ignoring things like css… Alarbus (talk) 01:18, 27 March 2012 (UTC))

Sorting names[edit]

I would have thought those Field Marshals who were peers should be sorted under the titles by which they were known rather than their surnames (which are only used in works of reference), so George Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lucan would be under L not B. And should the regiments/corps be sorted by precedence rather than alphanumerically, or is that a bit specialised for a general encyclopaedia? Opera hat (talk) 17:34, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

Youngest FM[edit]

At present the article states that "Wellington, 44 at the time of his promotion, was the youngest officer to earn the rank of field marshal". The first Duke of Cambridge was born on 24 February 1774 and promoted field marshal on 26 November 1813, at the age of thirty-nine. Is there a source for the statement that Wellington was the youngest? Opera hat (talk) 21:52, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

And the Duke of Kent was born on 2 November 1767 and made field marshal 5 November 1805, age thirty-eight, while the Duke of York was born 16 August 1763 and promoted field marshal 18 February 1795, age thirty-one. Opera hat (talk) 02:38, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

Heathcote (1999) page 6 states that "[t]he youngest non-royal field marshal was the Duke of Wellington, promoted at the age of 44 for his victories in the Peninsular War". I'm amending the article to include this qualification. Opera hat (talk) 18:41, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Professional vs honorary[edit]

Are the numbers of field marshals who were professional soldiers and honorary appointments actually given in Heathcote's book? Because I believe they are incorrect: the King of Hanover (formerly Prince Ernest, Duke of Cumberland) should be in the first list. Admittedly all his active service was with the Hanoverian army during the Flanders campaign, but he was made lieutenant-general in the British Army in 1799 and general in 1803, and held various home staff appointments before being promoted to field marshal in 1813. In this he is no different to his younger brother the Duke of Cambridge, who is in the first list; in fact the brothers' careers in the British Army before 1813 were almost identical. It is certainly wrong to class the King of Hanover with the other monarchs as he didn't even become King until 1837. Opera hat (talk) 22:26, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

Right. This figure of 22 non-Britsh or Indian Army field marshals comes from Table 3 at the end of Heathcote's book: "Arms or Branches of the Army in which the field marshals served" (pages 336-337). The note at the start of the section says that the arm or branch shown (including British and foreign monarchs) is that in which the individual spent most of his regimental duty, which does not preclude royal field marshals having served with the British Army any more than it precludes a Royal Armoured Corps field marshal having served with the cavalry. I don't think there is any justification for separating those listed in Heathcote's Table 3 as "British or foreign monarchs, royal consorts and officers of Commonwealth or allied armies" any more than there is separating those who served in the Artillery (10 field marshals) or the Infantry of the Line (20 field marshals) from those who served with the Engineers (5 field marshals) and those in the Indian Gurkhas (2 field marshals). I am therefore merging them into the main list. Opera hat (talk) 20:55, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
Note that Heathcote says that, of the 138 field marshals, 118 (not 138-22=116) "served as regular officers in the British military" (page 5) and that the first and only honorary field marshal was the late King Birenda of Nepal (page 46); all others held substantive rank. Opera hat (talk) 22:25, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

It is also untrue to say that none of the other field marshals on the honorary list had previous service with the British Army. Edward VIII joined the Grenadier Guards and served on the Western Front during the Great War, and William II of the Netherlands (when Hereditary Prince of Orange) joined the British Army as a lieutenant-colonel in 1811 and served through the Peninsular War before being promoted major-general in 1813 and lieutenant-general and general in 1814. It was in his capacity as a British general that he took command of the British forces in the Low Countries during the short peace, and led the Allied I Corps at Waterloo, where he was wounded. Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg (later Leopold I of the Belgians) had been made a British general on 2 May 1816 before he was promoted field marshal on 24 May, but I don't suppose that counts. Opera hat (talk) 22:26, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

  • I see you've now combined the two tables, which is probably the best way forward in the absence of an agreement on the definitions. The "seniority" field is now rather redundant, so I'll probably remove that at some point. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 12:40, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

Disputed statements[edit]

This is a good and informative article, but at present it contains several (relatively minor) inaccuracies as described above. I tagged the relevant sentences for discussion rather than going right in and amending them, because I didn't have access to the primary source for the article, Heathcote's book: I've since ordered a copy. In the meantime I think it better the article should reflect that some statements are under dispute until these can be discussed here, resolved and the article improved. Opera hat (talk) 23:53, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

In case anybody's watching: I haven't forgotten about this. I've acquired a copy of Heathcote's book and I think there are a few tweaks that need to be made to the article, but I'm in the middle of moving house at the moment and I haven't really had time to sit down and work out exactly what needs to be done to ensure minimal disruption to the article. Opera hat (talk) 21:18, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
There's one "dubious" tag that I still need to rephrase in line with what the cited source says, and a few other things in the article that could be improved. I'll be back soon. Opera hat (talk) 21:49, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
Although we've disagreed, I just wanted to say that I admire your dedication in acquiring a copy of the book. I bought a copy to write the article, but it's nice to have somebody else working on the article with access to the main source. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 12:43, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

Honorary promotion[edit]

Lord Guthrie.

Phd8511 (talk) 05:37, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

Thanks. I'm somewhat sceptical of these most recent promotions. They've attracted some attention among the news media, but the media are quoting unnamed "Buckingham Palace sources" and there's no mention of it in the London Gazette (in which all military promotions and appointments are recorded) or any other non-news source. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 12:15, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Here's a non-news source: [1] Kernel Saunters (talk) 12:55, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. That looks like the original press release, which is better than a regurgitation of it by the media, but doesn't provide much enlightenment. The absence of these promotions from the London Gazette makes me wonder whether they have yet taken effect. If the gap between the announcement and the promotions taking effect is only a few days, it shouldn't be a problem, but if the Buckingham Palace press team chose to make the announcement when they did because that's when it would have the most impact rather than because the promotions had taken effect, I wonder whether entering them on this list is premature. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 13:33, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

British sovereigns who have been field marshals[edit]

"George V, Edward VIII and George VI all assumed the rank of field marshal on their respective accessions, though no previous British sovereigns (including George II, who appointed the first British field marshals and was himself a capable general) had thought it necessary to add to their royal dignities in this way." (Heathcote, p. 4)

  • Edward VII: "The Prince of Wales became a field marshal on 29 May 1875." (Heathcote, p. 106) "War Office, Pall Mall, 29th May, 1875. Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to approve of the following promotions in the Army, viz. :— To be Field-Marshals. [FitzGerald, Tweeddale and] General His Royal Highness Albert Edward, Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall [...] Dated 29th May, 1875." (The London Gazette: no. 24213. p. 2851. 29 May 1875.) "He succeeded to the throne as Edward VII on 22 January 1901, though a serious illness led to the postponement of his coronation until August 1902." (Heathcote, p. 106)
  • George V: "George V was first commissioned in the Army on 26 June 1902, when, as Prince of Wales, he became a general. After succeeding to the throne, he was waited upon by his field marshals, who formally asked him to add himself to their number. He did so, with an antedate to 7 May 1910, and was thus the first British monarch to assume the rank of field marshal on his accession." (Heathcote, pp. 136-137) "War Office, Whitehall, 3rd June, 1910. His Majesty the King has been pleased to assume the rank of Field-Marshal. Dated 7th May, 1910." (The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 28380. p. 3859. 3 June 1910.)
  • Edward VIII: "He had been demobilized from the Army in 1919, but returned to the active list with the rank of lieutenant general on 1 September 1932. On the death of his father on 20 January 1936, he succeeded to the throne as Edward VIII and, following the precedent set by George V, became a field marshal the next day." (Heathcote, pp. 109-110) "War Office, 31st January, 1936. His Majesty the KING has been pleased to assume the rank of Field-Marshal, with effect from the 21st January, 1936." (The London Gazette: no. 34251. p. 665. 31 January 1936.) "He relinquished all his regimental appointments at the time of his abdication, but remained a field marshal on the active list until his death." (Heathcote, p. 112)
  • George VI: "Following the precedent set by George V and Edward VIII, he became a field marshal from the date of his accession, on 11 December 1936." (Heathcote, p. 139) "War Office, 18th December, 1936. His Majesty the KING has been pleased to assume the rank of Field-Marshal, with effect from the 11th December, 1936." (The London Gazette: no. 34351. p. 8187. 18 December 1936.)

Comparing the dates when these monarchs became field marshals against the list of coronations of British monarchs shows that the current statement in the lead section of the article that "[f]our British monarchs—Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, and George VI—appointed themselves to the rank on their coronations" is incorrect. Opera hat (talk) 15:46, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the quote. I'm away from home atm and couldn't remember the exact phrase Heathcote used. Do you mean it's incorrect in that I'm using coronation and accession (incorrectly) interchangeably? If so, do you have a suggestion? Preferably one that makes it clear they appointed themselves? Also, while we're on the subject, do you think the article should discuss the necessity (or otherwise) of those self-promotions? I've been incline against it so far, but I'd like to hear your opinion since you're the only other editor I've come across who has a copy of the book in front of them. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 17:02, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Accession is when the monarch becomes King (or Queen), i.e. as soon as the previous monarch dies ("the King is dead. Long live the King"). Coronation is the ceremony of the crown actually being placed on the monarch's head, usually some months later. Most modern-day European monarchs do not have a coronation at all, and Edward VIII wasn't crowned as he abdicated before the scheduled date. My suggestion would be "three British monarchs—George V, Edward VIII, and George VI—assumed the rank on their respective accessions". Edward VII had been a field marshal for 25 years by the time he became King in 1901, so he shouldn't be mentioned at all. To say that his successors "assumed" the rank is not ambiguous, and it adheres to the wording used in Heathcote's book (the primary source for the article) and more importantly by the London Gazette (the official paper of record for government appointments). I don't think it's necessary to get bogged down in explaining that this rank is not automatic. Opera hat (talk) 17:34, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Okay, I've reverted myself. I still think it would be good to work in something about them appointing themselves, but we can come back to that when I'm of the road (which will be another two or three weeks). HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 22:23, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Field marshals in the Cabinet[edit]

"Four field marshals (Conway, Hardinge, Kitchener and Alexander) sat in Cabinet as Secretaries of State for departments normally headed by civilian politicians. One (the Duke of Wellington) was Prime Minister." (Heathcote, p.7)

  • John Ligonier, 1st Earl Ligonier was promoted field marshal in 1757 and sat in the Cabinet as Master-General of the Ordnance from July 1759 to April 1763, being also Commander-in-Chief of the Forces.
  • Henry Seymour Conway sat in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for the Southern Department from July 1765 to May 1766, then as Secretary of State for the Northern Department from May 1766 to January 1768, remaining as Minister without Portfolio until October 1770. From March 1782 to December 1783 he was Commander-in-Chief, sitting in the Cabinet as such until April 1783. He was promoted field marshal in 1793.
  • George Townshend, 1st Marquess Townshend sat in the Cabinet as Master-General of the Ordnance from 1772 to 1782 and in 1783. He was promoted field marshal in 1796.
  • Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond sat in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for the Southern Department from May to July 1766 and as Master-General of the Ordnance from March 1782 to December 1783 then again from January 1784 to February 1795. He was promoted field marshal in 1796.
  • Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington was promoted field marshal in 1813. He sat in the Cabinet as Master-General of the Ordnance from January 1819 to April 1827, as First Lord of the Treasury from January 1828 to November 1830, as First Lord of the Treasury and sole Secretary of State from November to December 1834, as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from December 1834 to April 1835, and as Minister without Portfolio from September 1841 to June 1846.
  • Henry Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey sat in the Cabinet as Master-General of the Ordnance from 1827 to 1830. He was promoted field marshal in 1846.
  • Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge sat in the Cabinet as Secretary at War (not Secretary of State for War) from September 1841 to May 1844. He was promoted field marshal in 1855.
  • Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener was promoted field marshal in 1909 and sat in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for War from August 1914 to June 1916.
  • Harold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis was promoted field marshal in 1944 and sat in the Cabinet as Minister of Defence (not Secretary of State for Defence) from March 1952 to October 1954.

Assuming I haven't missed any, that's nine field marshals who also served as Cabinet ministers, of whom four served as Secretaries of State (including Wellington), but only four field marshals (Ligonier, Wellington, Kitchener and Alexander) who sat in the Cabinet as field marshals, two of them (Wellington and Kitchener) as Secretaries of State. Opera hat (talk) 14:20, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Foreign members[edit]

With this comment "Two non-British officers have been appointed field marshals in the British Army—Ferdinand Foch of France and Sir Thomas Blamey of Australia" aren't we missing out Jan Smuts? Presumably if Blamey isn't classified as British, then neither should Smuts? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:23, 15 December 2014 (UTC)