Kevin O'Donoghue

General Sir Kevin O'Donoghue, KCB, CBE (born 9 December 1947) is a retired British Army officer and former Chief of Defence Materiel.[1] He retired from the service in December 2010, being succeeded as Chief of Defence Materiel by Bernard Gray.

Sir Kevin O'Donoghue
Born (1947-12-09) 9 December 1947
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1968–2011
Service number486538
Commands heldChief of Defence Materiel
25 Engineer Regiment
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire

Early life

O'Donoghue was born on 9 December 1947,[2] to Phillip James O'Donoghue and Winifred Mary O'Donoghue.[3] He studied at University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.[4] He graduated in 1971 with a first-class Bachelor of Science.[3][5]

Military career

O'Donoghue joined the Territorial Army in 1968. He was commissioned in the Royal Engineers as a second lieutenant (on probation) on 10 October 1968.[6] He was attending university and had previously been an officer cadet.[6] In 1971, after approximately two years as a troop commander in 75 Engineer Regiment,[7] he converted to a Regular Commission and spent the next 5 years in the British Army of the Rhine.[4]

In 1976, O'Donoghue moved to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as an instructor. He then attended the Canadian Forces' Command and staff Course in Toronto before being posted to the Ministry of Defence as Military Assistant to the Chief of the General staff.[4]

O'Donoghue returned to Germany as Officer Commanding 4 Field Squadron RE (21 Engineer Regiment) in support of 7th Armoured Brigade. During this time he was instrumental in the development and introduction of the mini minefield defence concept. On promotion he returned to the UK and became a member of the Directing staff for the Army staff Course. Command of 25 Engineer Regiment included a deployment to the Falkland Islands. He then attended the Higher Command and Staff Course in 1990 and was promoted to brigadier and assumed the appointment of Commander Corps Royal Engineers 1 (British) Corps (which became Chief Engineer Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps) and Commander Hameln Garrison.[4]

In 1993 O'Donoghue attended the NATO Defence College in Rome, before moving to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe to become the Director of staff Operations. He was promoted to major general in April 1996 on appointment as Chief of staff, Headquarters Quartermaster General, following which he moved to the Ministry of Defence to become the Assistant Chief of the General staff.[4]

O'Donoghue was promoted to lieutenant general and became the UK Military Representative to NATO, the EU and WEU. He then served as Deputy Chief of the Defence staff (Health), responsible for the Defence Medical Services, from 2002 to 2004.[4] On 10 May 2004, he was appointed to the honorary role of Chief Royal Engineer.[8] His tenure ended on 10 May 2009.[9]

O'Donoghue was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 2005 New Year Honours,[10] and became Chief of Defence Logistics on 1 January. When the Defence Logistics Organisation merged with the Defence Procurement Agency on 2 April 2007, he became the first Chief of Defence Materiel.[4] He was appointed Honorary Colonel Commandant of the Royal Logistic Corps on 1 February 2007,[11] and to the honorary role of Master General of Logistics on 1 June 2009. He was the first to hold this appointment.[12] His tenured ended on 1 June 2012.[13]

O'Donoghue relinquished the post of Chief of Defence Materiel in December 2010,[14] and officially retired from the British Army on 19 March 2011.[15]

Later life

From 2010 to 2017, O'Donoghue was Chairman of SSAFA.[3][16] He has served as the Gentleman Usher to the Sword of State, an officer of the Royal Household, since 2013.[16]

Personal life

O'Donoghue has a wife named Jean and together they have three daughters. His hobbies include dog walking, reading military history and gardening.[4]


  1. "General Sir Kevin O'Donoghue will be first "Chief of Defence Materiel"". MOD. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  2. "Gen Sir Kevin O'Donoghue, KCB, CBE". People of Today. Debrett's. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  3. "O'DONOGHUE, Gen. Sir Kevin". Who's Who 2013. A & C Black. November 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  4. "Chief of Defence Materiel". Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  5. "Military Representative of the United Kingdom – Lieutenant General Kevin O'Donoghue CBE". Who is who at NATO?. NATO. 1 July 2002. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  6. "No. 44722". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 November 1968. p. 12668.
  7. "Sir Kevin O'Donoghue". CityForum Ltd. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
  8. "No. 57284". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 May 2004. p. 5842.
  9. "No. 59058". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 May 2009. p. 8060.
  10. "No. 57509". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2004. p. 2.
  11. "No. 58345". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 June 2007. p. 8038.
  12. "No. 59126". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 July 2009. p. 12040.
  13. "No. 60163". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 June 2012. p. 10780.
  14. MoD website: Bernard Gray appointed Chief of Defence Materiel
  15. "No. 59732". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 March 2011. p. 5306.
  16. "O'Donoghue, Gen. Sir Kevin". Who's Who 2018. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2017. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U28758. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
Military offices
Preceded by
Michael Willcocks
Assistant Chief of the General staff
Succeeded by
Richard Dannatt
Preceded by
Sir Michael Willcocks
UK Military Representative to NATO
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Wright
Preceded by
Sir Malcolm Pledger
Chief of Defence Logistics
Succeeded by
As Chief of Defence Materiel
Preceded by
Sir Peter Spencer
As Chief of Defence Procurement
Chief of Defence Materiel
Succeeded by
Bernard Gray
Preceded by
As Chief of Defence Logistics
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Scott Grant
Chief Royal Engineer
Succeeded by
Sir Peter Wall
New title Master General of Logistics
Succeeded by
Mark Poffley
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