Adjutant-General to the Forces

The Adjutant-General to the Forces, commonly just referred to as the Adjutant-General (AG), was for just over 250 years one of the most senior officers in the British Army. He was latterly responsible for developing the Army's personnel policies and supporting its people.[1] The Adjutant-General usually held the rank of general or lieutenant general. Despite his administrative role, the Adjutant-General, like most officers above the rank of major general, was invariably drawn from one of the combat arms, not from the support corps.


In origin the Adjutant-General was chief staff officer to the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces.[2] The post of Adjutant-General is first recorded in 1673 and it was established on a permanent basis in the English Army from 1680.[2] For a time there were two Adjutants-General, one 'for the Foot' and one 'for the Horse' until the two were consolidated into a single appointment 'of the Forces' in 1701. Until the passing of the respective Acts of Union there were Scottish and Irish Adjutants-General; on occasions a separate Adjutant-General would be appointed for deployments overseas; and the Board of Ordnance had an independent Adjutant-General and Deputy for the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers (respectively) until they were integrated into the British Army in the 1850s.[2]

In the 18th century the Adjutant-General was tasked with issuing orders to the Army, receiving monthly returns from the Regiments, regulation of officers' appointments and leave of absence, and oversight of military reviews, exercises, manoeuvres and matters of discipline.[2] By the early 1800s the Adjutant-General had responsibility for 'all subjects connected with the Discipline, Equipment and Efficiency of the Army'; he also took on general responsibility for recruitment at this time.[3] A century later he is described as 'a general officer and at the head of his department of the War Office, which is charged with all duties relative to personnel'.[4]

In the 20th century the Adjutant-General was the Second Military Member of the Army Council and its successor the Army Board.[5] Headquarters Adjutant-General was latterly based at the former RAF Upavon, now Trenchard Lines, Upavon, Wiltshire. On 1 April 2008 it amalgamated with HQ Land Command to form HQ Land Forces under 'Project Hyperion'.[6]

In December 2009 it was announced that the responsibilities of the Commander Regional Forces (i.e. responsibility for support) would be subsumed within those of the Adjutant-General to the Forces who henceforth would take responsibility for both personnel and support.[1] In 2015 the post was re-designated Commander Personnel and Support Command (renamed Commander Home Command the following year).[7] In evidence to the House of Commons Defence Committee the Chief of the General Staff explained:

"In my new operating model, I no longer have an Adjutant-General. The reason that I do not have an Adjutant-General is that effectively I am the Adjutant-General. People matter so much to me that I have put that at the heart of my agenda. I am the first CGS ever to have done that."[8] (14 June 2016)

The appointment of a Deputy Adjutant-General is first recorded in 1757, with Assistant Adjutants-General being appointed from 1806.[2]

List of Adjutants-General to the Forces

Holders of the post include:[9]

For subsequent equivalent appointments see Commander Home Command.

Deputy Adjutants-General to the Forces

See also


  1. Army conducts Top Level Organisational Review Defence News, 9 December 2009
  2. Roper, Michael (1998). The Records of the War Office and Related Departments, 1660-1964. Kew, Surrey: Public Record Office.
  3. General Regulations and Orders for the Army. Horse Guards, London: Adjutant General's Office. 1811. p. 47.
  4. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Adjutant-General" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  5. The Army in 1906: A Policy and a Vindication By Hugh Oakeley Arnold-Forster, Page 481 Bibliobazaar, 2008, ISBN 978-0-559-66499-1
  6. Drumbeat Archived 2012-03-07 at the Wayback Machine
  7. "A new painting marks Army's relationship with Scotland over last 100 years". Ministry of Defence. 7 October 2005. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  8. "Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 and the Army". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  9. Army Commands Archived July 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  10. Arthur William Alsager Pollock, The United service magazine (1882), p. 102: "The Adjutant-Generalship. — The appointment of Lieutenant-General R. C. H. Taylor, C.B., to officiate as Adjutant-General to the Forces, during the absence of Sir Garnet Wolseley on special service, is one that cannot fail to afford much satisfaction to the army." Wolseley was overseas to command British forces during the Second Anglo-Egyptian War of 1882.
  11. "No. 27360". The London Gazette. 1 October 1901. p. 6400.
  12. "No. 27168". The London Gazette. 23 February 1900. p. 1260.
  13. "No. 27433". The London Gazette. 13 May 1902. p. 3179.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.