Edwin Bramall

Field Marshal Edwin Noel Westby Bramall, Baron Bramall, KG, GCB, OBE, MC, JP, DL (born 18 December 1923) is a retired senior British Army officer. He served as Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army, between 1979 and 1982, and as Chief of the Defence Staff, professional head of the British Armed Forces, from 1982 to 1985.

The Lord Bramall
Lord Bramall
Lord Bramall in the robes of a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter, June 2006
Born18 December 1923 (age 95)
Tonbridge, Kent, England
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1942–1985
RankField Marshal
Commands heldChief of the Defence Staff
Chief of the General Staff
Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces
Commander British Forces in Hong Kong
1st Division
5th (Airportable) Infantry Brigade
2nd Battalion Royal Green Jackets
Battles/warsSecond World War
Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation
Falklands War
AwardsKnight of the Order of the Garter
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Military Cross
Knight of the Order of St John
Mentioned in Despatches

Early life and family

Bramall was born on 18 December 1923 in Tonbridge, Kent, England, the son of Major Edmund Haselden Bramall (1889-1964) (son of Ernest Edward Bramall (1864-1938), Managing Director of Desford Colliery, Leicester[1]) by his wife Katherine Bridget Westby.[2] He was educated at Eton College.[3] In 1949 he married Dorothy Avril Wentworth Vernon, by whom he had one son and one daughter.[2] His older brother Ashley Bramall was a barrister, Labour politician and Leader of the Inner London Education Authority.[4]

Military career

Bramall was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the King's Royal Rifle Corps on 22 May 1943 during the Second World War.[5] He took part in the Normandy landings in June 1944[3] and served with the 2nd Battalion of his regiment in Northwest Europe during the later stages of the war, receiving the Military Cross on 1 March 1945.[6]

Bramall was promoted to lieutenant on 18 June 1946[7] and served in the occupation of Japan from 1946, before becoming an instructor at the School of Infantry in 1949.[2] Promoted to captain on 18 December 1950,[8] he was stationed in the Middle East from 1953[9] and was then promoted to major on 18 December 1957.[10] Continuing his military career, he served two years as an instructor at the Staff College, Camberley from 1958, and then was appointed to serve on Lord Mountbatten's staff in 1963.[9]

Operation Overlord (the Normandy Landings)- D-day 6 June 1944 B5245
The Normandy landings, in which Bramall took part, during the Second World War

Appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1965 New Year Honours,[11] and promoted to lieutenant colonel on 25 January 1965,[12] he was appointed Commanding Officer of the 2nd Green Jackets, The King's Royal Rifle Corps: the Battalion was deployed to Borneo during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation in the first half of 1966 where his actions earned him a mention in despatches.[13] He was given command of the 5th (Airportable) Infantry Brigade in November 1967[9] with promotion to brigadier on 31 December 1967.[14]

Bramall was made General Officer Commanding the 1st Division on 6 January 1972,[15] with the substantive rank of major general from 6 April 1972,[16] Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong with the rank of lieutenant general on 1 December 1973[17] and appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the New Year Honours 1974.[18] He went on to be Commander-in-Chief, UK Land Forces on 15 May 1976[19] and was promoted to full general on 25 June 1976.[20] He was appointed Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff (Personnel and Logistics) on 20 March 1978,[21] advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in the New Year Honours 1979,[22] before being made ADC General to the Queen on 26 June 1979[23] and appointed Chief of the General Staff on 14 July 1979.[24] In this role he strongly supported the plan in May 1982 to land troops at San Carlos Water and then advance rapidly from those positions at the early stages of the Falklands War.[25]

Bramall was promoted to field marshal on 1 August 1982,[26] and appointed Chief of the Defence Staff on 1 October that year.[27] In this capacity he developed the concept of the "Fifth Pillar" pulling together the activities of defence attachés to form a structure for intervention in smaller countries.[25] He retired in November 1985.[25] He was also Colonel of the 3rd Battalion the Royal Green Jackets from December 1973, Colonel of the 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles) from 14 September 1976[28] and Colonel Commandant of the Special Air Service Regiment from 19 May 1985.[29]

Later career

After his retirement Bramall served as Lord Lieutenant of Greater London from 1986[30] to 1998.[2] He was invested as a Knight of the Garter in 1990.[31] He was a former President of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC)[32] and is now an Honorary Life Vice President of the MCC.[33] His other interests include painting and travel and he is a Vice-President of the welfare organisation SSAFA Forces Help.[2]

Bramall was created a life peer as Baron Bramall of Bushfield in the County of Hampshire in 1987.[34][35] Bramall spoke out in the House of Lords against the involvement of the United Kingdom in the Second Iraq War warning that "unlike naked aggression, terrorism cannot be defeated by massive military means" but by "competent protection and positive diplomacy".[36]

On 27 August 2006 it was reported that Bramall, then aged 82, hit Lord Janner, then 78, after Bramall made what witnesses claim were a series of "anti-Israel" comments during an argument over the Lebanon conflict. Janner sought the advice of fellow peers about how and whether to make a formal complaint against Bramall, before deciding to accept an apology after which Janner said the matter was now resolved.[37]

On 25 April 2013 Bramall retired from service in the House of Lords. He retains his title.[38]

Targetted by fantasist

Bramall was one of several senior establishment figures targetted by Carl Beech, the convicted fantasist and perjurer. Following invented complaints by Beech, on 4 March 2015 officers of the Metropolitan Police searched Bramall's house near Farnham as part of the Operation Midland child sexual abuse investigation.[39] Bramall released a statement after the search, saying: "Categorically, never have I had a connection or anything to do with the matters being investigated."[40] On 30 April 2015 under the same investigation Lord Bramall attended a police station in Surrey by appointment. Officers interviewed him for two hours but did not charge or arrest him.[41] On 15 January 2016, the police confirmed that there was insufficient evidence to bring any charges and he would face no further action.[42] Bramall's wife Lady Bramall died in July 2015, without knowing that he would not be charged.[43] In October 2016, after what The Guardian described as a "chorus of calls" for an official apology to Lord Bramall,[44] the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe apologised to Bramall.[45] On 1 September 2017 it was reported that the Metropolitan Police had paid substantial compensation to Bramall for having raided his home "after accepting that the searches had been unjustified and should never have taken place."[46]

Beech went on trial for 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraud in May 2019. He was convicted on all charges and sentenced to 18 years in prison in July 2019.[47] The court was told that "immeasurable distress" had been caused to those falsely accused as well as "obvious reputational damage".[48] Bramall said of the ordeal: "I can honestly say however I was never as badly wounded in all my time in the military as I have been by the allegations made by [Beech] that formed the basis of Operation Midland."[49]


  1. ^ Obituary, The Times 1 Sep 1938 page 1 col A
  2. ^ a b c d e Who's Who 2010, A & C Black, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4081-1414-8
  3. ^ a b Heathcote, Anthony pg 53
  4. ^ "Field Marshal The Lord Bramall of Bushfield". Royal Green Jackets Association. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  5. ^ "No. 36074". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 June 1943. p. 2980.
  6. ^ "No. 36961". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 February 1945. p. 1176.
  7. ^ "No. 37698". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 August 1946. p. 4238.
  8. ^ "No. 39093". The London Gazette (Supplement). 19 December 1950. p. 6320.
  9. ^ a b c Heathcote, Anthony pg 54
  10. ^ "No. 41254". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 December 1957. p. 7346.
  11. ^ "No. 43529". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1964. p. 6.
  12. ^ "No. 43682". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 1965. p. 5687.
  13. ^ "No. 44196". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 December 1966. p. 13461.
  14. ^ "No. 44493". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1967. p. 74.
  15. ^ "No. 45569". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 January 1972. p. 347.
  16. ^ "No. 45641". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 April 1972. p. 4283.
  17. ^ "No. 46143". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 December 1973. p. 14387.
  18. ^ "No. 46162". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 1973. p. 2.
  19. ^ "No. 46901". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 May 1976. p. 7063.
  20. ^ "No. 46947". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 June 1976. p. 8989.
  21. ^ "No. 47493". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 March 1978. p. 3563.
  22. ^ "No. 47723". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1978. p. 2.
  23. ^ "No. 47911". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 July 1979. p. 9345.
  24. ^ "No. 47916". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 July 1979. p. 9695.
  25. ^ a b c Heathcote, Anthony pg 55
  26. ^ "No. 49069". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 August 1982. p. 10134.
  27. ^ "No. 49142". The London Gazette (Supplement). 18 October 1982. p. 13571.
  28. ^ "No. 47012". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 September 1976. p. 12491.
  29. ^ "No. 50128". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 May 1985. p. 7058.
  30. ^ "No. 50422". The London Gazette. 5 February 1986. p. 1671.
  31. ^ "No. 52120". The London Gazette. 24 April 1990. p. 8251.
  32. ^ "British media wants Pak team to be sent home". cricketnext. 31 August 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  33. ^ "Official House of Lords Biography". House of Lords. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  34. ^ "No. 50834". The London Gazette. 16 February 1987. p. 2023.
  35. ^ "No. 22092". The Edinburgh Gazette. 13 February 1987. p. 195.
  36. ^ "House of Lords Debates". 26 May 2004. Retrieved 26 May 2007.
  37. ^ "War hero, 82, hits fellow peer in Lords". London Evening Standard. 27 August 2006. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  38. ^ "Retirement of a Member: Lord Bramall". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Lords. 25 April 2013. col. 1519.
  39. ^ Barrett, David (8 March 2015). "Police search home of Lord Bramall as part of paedophile sex abuse inquiry". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  40. ^ Symonds, Tom (9 March 2015). "Ex-army chief Lord Bramall 'mystified' by police search of house". BBC News. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  41. ^ Press Association (30 April 2015). "Lord Bramall interviewed by police over historical child abuse claims". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  42. ^ Rawlinson, Kevin (15 January 2016). "Lord Bramall 'will face no further action' in Operation Midland investigation". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  43. ^ Robert Mendick (5 March 2017). "Exclusive: 'Met Police allowed my wife to die without knowing I was innocent'—Lord Bramall finally gets apology over child sex abuse claims". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  44. ^ Robert Mendick (5 March 2017). "Met explains why it investigated Lord Bramall over child abuse allegations". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  45. ^ "Lord Bramall 'receives Met Police apology' over abuse claims". BBC News. 5 March 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  46. ^ Martin Evans, "Met Police pays compensation to Lord Bramall and Lady Brittan over disastrous Operation Midland investigation", The Daily Telegraph, 1 September 2017, accessed 2 September 2017
  47. ^ "Carl Beech trial: 'VIP abuse' accuser guilty of false claims". BBC News. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  48. ^ "Man 'invented paedophile ring claims'". 14 May 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2019 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  49. ^ Driver, Tony; Johnson, Jaimie; Dixon, Hayley (26 July 2019). "Met police 'fanned the flames' of Carl Beech's false allegations of Westminster paedophile ring". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  50. ^ The Companion Magazine. College of St George. No. 15 (Summer–Autumn 2012), p. 5.
  51. ^ Chesshyre, Hubert (1996), The Friends of St. George's & Descendants of the Knights of the Garter Annual Review 1995/96, VII, p. 289

Further reading

  • Heathcote, Tony (1999). The British Field Marshals 1736–1997. Barnsley: Pen & Sword. ISBN 0-85052-696-5.
  • Tillotson, Michael (2006). The Fifth Pillar: the life and philosophy of the Lord Bramall K.G. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-4239-8.

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Jack Harman
GOC 1st Division
Succeeded by
David Alexander-Sinclair
Preceded by
Sir Richard Ward
Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Sir John Archer
Preceded by
Sir Roland Gibbs
C-in-C, UK Land Forces
Preceded by
Sir Anthony Morton
Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff
Succeeded by
Sir Patrick Howard-Dobson
Preceded by
Sir Roland Gibbs
Chief of the General Staff
Succeeded by
Sir John Stanier
Preceded by
Sir Terence Lewin
Chief of the Defence Staff
Succeeded by
Sir John Fieldhouse
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Baroness Phillips
Lord Lieutenant of Greater London
Succeeded by
Peter Imbert
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Lord Sanderson of Bowden
Baron Bramall
Followed by
The Lord Irvine of Lairg
Alfred Earle

Air Chief Marshal Sir Alfred Earle, (11 December 1907 – 27 March 1990) was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War who later served as Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff (1964–66), and Director General of British Defence Intelligence (1966-1968).

Anthony Bagnall

Air Chief Marshal Sir Anthony John Crowther "Tony" Bagnall, (born 8 June 1945) is a retired senior Royal Air Force officer and former Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff.

Anthony Morton

Admiral Sir Anthony Storrs Morton (6 November 1923 – 6 May 2006) was a senior Royal Navy officer and Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff.


Bramall may refer to:


Edwin Bramall

John BramallOther uses:

Bramall Hall

Bramall Lane

Chief of the General Staff (United Kingdom)

Chief of the General Staff (CGS) has been the title of the professional head of the British Army since 1964. The CGS is a member of both the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Army Board. Prior to 1964 the title was Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS). Since 1959, the post has been immediately subordinate to the Chief of the Defence Staff, the post held by the professional head of the British Armed Forces.

The current Chief of the General Staff is General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith – having succeeded his predecessor, General Sir Nick Carter in June 2018.

David Evans (RAF officer)

Air Chief Marshal Sir David George Evans, is a retired senior commander of the Royal Air Force.

George Cole (British Army officer)

Lieutenant General Sir George Sinclair Cole (12 March 1911 – 2 March 1973) was a senior British Army officer who achieved high office in the 1960s.

John Archer (British Army officer)

General Sir (Arthur) John Archer, KCB, OBE (12 February 1924 – 12 March 1999) was a senior officer of the British Army and a former Commander in Chief, UK Land Forces.

John Gibbon (British Army officer)

General Sir John Houghton Gibbon (21 September 1917 – 1997) was a British soldier who served as Master-General of the Ordnance from 1974 until his retirement in 1977.

John Wilfred Stanier

Field Marshal Sir John Wilfred Stanier, (6 October 1925 – 10 November 2007) was a senior British Army officer who was Chief of the General Staff from 1982 to 1985. He was the first person after the Second World War to become the professional head of the British Army without having seen active service in that war or any subsequent campaign.

John Willis (RAF officer)

Air Chief Marshal Sir John Frederick Willis (27 October 1937 – 9 January 2008) was a senior Royal Air Force officer.

London Victory Parade of 1982

The London Victory Parade of 1982 was a British victory parade held after the defeat of Argentina in the Falklands War and organised by the City of London as a salute to the task force. It took place in the United Kingdom capital of London, mainly encompassing a military parade with military bands through the City of London. The parade took place on 12 October 1982, almost four months after the Argentine surrender; it was the first time the City had celebrated a military event since it had entertained the crew of HMS Amethyst in 1949.The Parade began at Armoury House, off City Road near Finsbury Square and progressed via Finsbury pavement, Moorgate, Lothbury, Bartholomew Lane and Threadneedle Street past Mansion House, then continued along Poultry, Cheapside and King Street to Guildhall. Approximately 300,000 people lined the mile-long route of the parade. At Mansion House the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Christopher Leaver took the salute from the armed forces personnel as they marched past. He was accompanied by Prime Minister Mrs Margaret Thatcher , Admiral Sir Terence Lewin, and the Chief of the Defence Staff, Field Marshal Sir Edwin Bramall.

After the parade there was a Salute to the Task Force luncheon at the Guildhall in which Thatcher gave a speech:

We, the British people, are proud of what has been done, proud of these heroic pages in our island story, proud to be here today to salute the task force. Proud to be British.

Nick Houghton

General John Nicholas Reynolds Houghton, Baron Houghton of Richmond, (born 18 October 1954) is a retired senior British Army officer and former Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) of the British Armed Forces. He was appointed CDS in July 2013, following the retirement of General Sir David Richards. He served as Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, the Green Howards in Northern Ireland during The Troubles and later became Commander of the 39th Infantry Brigade in Northern Ireland. He deployed as Senior British Military Representative and Deputy Commanding General, Multi-National Force – Iraq during the Iraq War. Later, he became Chief of Joint Operations at Permanent Joint Headquarters and served as Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff until assuming the position of CDS. Houghton retired from the British Army in July 2016, and was succeeded as CDS by Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach.

Patrick Howard-Dobson

General Sir Patrick John Howard-Dobson (12 August 1921 – 8 November 2009) was a senior British Army officer and Quartermaster-General to the Forces.

Peter Herbert (Royal Navy officer)

Admiral Sir Peter Geoffrey Marshall Herbert, (28 February 1929 – 3 May 2019) was a senior Royal Navy officer and former Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff.

Richard Vincent, Baron Vincent of Coleshill

Field Marshal Richard Frederick Vincent, Baron Vincent of Coleshill, (23 August 1931 – 8 September 2018) was a British Army officer. After serving with British Army of the Rhine he served with the Commonwealth Brigade in Malaysia during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation. He commanded 12th Light Air Defence Regiment in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, and later commanded 19th Airportable Brigade. Although he never served as one of the individual service heads, he went on to be Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff in the late 1980s and then Chief of the Defence Staff in the aftermath of the Gulf War. He subsequently became Chair of the Military Committee of NATO in the mid-1990s.

Stuart Peach

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart William Peach, (born 22 February 1956) is a senior Royal Air Force officer. After training as a navigator, Peach commanded IX (Bomber) Squadron and then became Deputy Station Commander RAF Bruggen. He was deployed as NATO Air Commander (Forward) in Kosovo in 2000. He went on to be Chief of Defence Intelligence in 2006, Chief of Joint Operations in 2009 and the first Commander of Joint Forces Command in December 2011 before being appointed Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff in May 2013. Peach succeeded General Sir Nick Houghton as Chief of the Defence Staff on 14 July 2016. He succeeded General Petr Pavel as Chairman of the NATO Military Committee on 29 June 2018.

Timothy Fraser

Admiral Timothy Peter Fraser, is a senior Royal Navy officer who serves as Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff since May 2019.

Timothy Granville-Chapman

General Sir Timothy John Granville-Chapman, (born 5 January 1947) is a former British Army officer, who served as Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff of the British Armed Forces (2005–2009).

Coat of arms of Edwin Bramall
Coat of Arms of Edwin, Baron Bramall
Baron Bramall since 1987
A coronet of a Baron
Statant lion barry Or and Azure supporting a UK Field Marshal’s Baton erect proper.
Mantling Or and Sable.
Per fess embattled Sable and Or between three Stafford knotts a lion rampant all counterchanged.
Dexter: A Malayan Tiger holding in the dexter paw a Kukri, all proper.

Sinister: a Chinese Dragon proper, holding in the sinister claw a Maltese Cross Sable.

Latin: "Stand fast and step ahead"[50]
The Order of the Garter circlet.
The collar as Grand Cross Knight of the Order of the Bath.
The badge as Officer of the Order of the British Empire.[51]
Garter Banner of the Baron Bramall.svg Heraldic banner of Baron Bramall, Knight of the Garter, as shown in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
Commanders-in-Chief of the Forces
Chief of the General Staff
Chiefs of the Imperial General Staff
Chiefs of the General Staff
Ex officio
Knights and Ladies
Royal Knights
and Ladies
Stranger Knights
and Ladies


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