Peter Wall (British Army officer)
General Sir Peter Anthony Wall, (born 10 July 1955) is a retired British Army officer who served as the Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army, until September 2014. Wall had previously been the Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces from August 2009 to September 2010. He succeeded General Sir David Richards as Chief of the General Staff in September 2010, the latter going on a month later to be Chief of the Defence Staff.
Sir Peter Wall
General Sir Peter Wall c.2013
|Born||10 July 1955|
Ipswich, Suffolk, England
|Years of service||1974–2014|
|Commands held||Chief of the General Staff (2010–14)|
Land Forces (2009–10)
Chief Royal Engineer (2009)
1st Armoured Division (2003–05)
16 Air Assault Brigade (1999–00)
32 Engineer Regiment (1994–96)
|Awards||Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath|
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service
Fiona Simpson (m. 1980)
Early life and education
Wall graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in April 1974 with his commission being confirmed in December 1974, with effect from 9 March the same year. After a short period of military duties, Wall studied engineering at University of Cambridge, before joining airborne forces and going on to serve with the Royal Engineers in Belize and Rhodesia. Wall was promoted to captain on 9 September 1980 and to major on 30 September 1987.
He was appointed Chief of Staff of the 5th Airborne Brigade in 1988, before commanding 9 Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers from 1990. Promoted to lieutenant colonel on 30 June 1992, he was appointed Commanding Officer of 32 Engineer Regiment in Germany in 1994, and appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1994 Birthday Honours. He was deployed to the Former Republic of Yugoslavia in Spring 1996, promoted to colonel on 30 June and awarded the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service in November. He was then promoted to brigadier on 31 December 1998 with seniority from 30 June 1998, before assuming command of 24 Airmobile Brigade in 1999. Wall was responsible for converting the formation into 16 Air Assault Brigade later that year.
In 2001, Wall became Chief of Joint Force Operations at Permanent Joint Headquarters Northwood, and was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2002 New Year Honours. Wall went on to serve as Chief of Staff of the National Contingent HQ in Qatar, overseeing UK operations in Iraq, from January 2003. In May 2003, Wall assumed the appointment of General Officer Commanding 1st Armoured Division with the substantive rank of major general, in which capacity he was responsible for security in Basra in Iraq. In 2005, he became Deputy Chief of Joint Operations at the Permanent Joint Headquarters Northwood and, on 1 August 2007, he was appointed Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Commitments) and promoted to lieutenant general. Appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 2009 Birthday Honours, Wall succeeded General Sir Kevin O'Donoghue as Chief Royal Engineer on 10 May 2009 before taking up the post of Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces and receiving promotion to the substantive rank of general on 17 July 2009. He was also appointed the aide-de-camp general to Queen Elizabeth II on 30 October 2009.
On 6 January 2010, Wall gave evidence to the Iraq Inquiry in which he claimed that troops were vulnerable in their base at Basra Palace and in May 2010, Wall was listed amongst the top 172 government servants that earn more than the Prime Minister, with a salary of £160–165,000, excluding his non-contributory final salary pension. Then on 29 July 2010, Wall was named as the next Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army. On 15 September 2010 Wall took over the post from General Sir David Richards who became Chief of the Defence Staff in late October 2010.
On 24 June 2011, it was reported that Wall, who had publicly questioned Prime Minister David Cameron's handling of the conflict in Afghanistan, would – in a major defence reorganisation that would also affect the other service chiefs – lose his position on the Defence Board, the highest non-ministerial Ministry of Defence committee, which makes decision on all aspects of military policy. The changes took effect on 1 November 2011.
Amidst ministerial, media and political pressure from both sides of the House, Wall told an army magazine in April 2014 that lifting the ban on women serving in combat units was “something we need to be considering seriously”. It came to light that, under European law, the policy of preventing female soldiers from applying for certain jobs in the army was to be reviewed by 2018, and that the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Norway and Israel all allowed women to serve in combat units. The Times had reported that his main motivation for changing this rule was showing potential female recruits that the army was an equal opportunities employer:
|“||I want every woman in the country to know the service is open to them and we need to make sure we get that message across. Women need to see they have equal opportunities right throughout the organisation. Allowing them to be combat troops would make us look more normal to society, but there will always be people who say the close battle is no place for female soldiers.||”|
Wall was appointed Colonel Commandant of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 2002, and Colonel Commandant of the Corps of Royal Engineers in November 2003. He was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in the 2013 Birthday Honours. From April 2012 until August 2016 Wall served as the Colonel Commandant of the Brigade of Gurkhas.
Awards and decorations
|Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB)||(2013)|
|Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB)||(2009)|
|Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)||(2001)|
|Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)||(1994)|
- "List of Fellows". Retrieved 30 October 2014.
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- "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
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- "Peter Wall takes up CGS post". Defence Management. 15 September 2010. Archived from the original on 2 October 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- "Profile: Gen Sir Peter Wall". BBC. 29 July 2010. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
- "Top military chiefs "sidelined" after Afghanistan row". Daily Telegraph. 24 June 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- "Army Command reorganization". Defence Marketing Intelligence. 10 November 2011. Archived from the original on 12 November 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- bbc.co.uk: "Emma Barnett and BBC Radio 4 – Women at War", 8 Oct 2013
- telegraph.co.uk: "Former Shadow Defence Secretary: British women should be allowed to fight on front line", 8 Oct 2013
- "Female troops may get right to fight on front line", 6 Apr 2014
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- "No. 61709". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 September 2016. p. 19945.
- "About us". Amicus. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
| General Officer Commanding the 1st (UK) Armoured Division
| Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Commitments)
Sir David Richards
| Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces
Sir Nick Parker
| Chief of the General Staff
Sir Nick Carter
Sir Kevin O'Donoghue
| Chief Royal Engineer
Sir Mark Mans