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The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank
Guthrie at a NATO defence ministers' Meeting
Born 17 November 1938(1938-11-17) (age 83)
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1959–2001
Rank General
Field Marshal (Honorary)
Service number 461440
Unit Welsh Guards
Commands held 1 Bn Welsh Guards
4th Armoured Brigade
2nd Infantry Division
1st British Corps
British Army of the Rhine
Chief of the General Staff
Chief of the Defence Staff
Battles/wars Operation Banner
Bosnian War
Kosovo War
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order
Officer of the Order of the British Empire

Field Marshal Charles Ronald Llewelyn Guthrie, Baron Guthrie of Craigiebank, GCB, LVO, OBE, DL (born 17 November 1938) was Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army, between 1994 and 1997 and Chief of the Defence Staff between 1997 and 2001.

Guthrie's military career saw service with the Welsh Guards and the Special Air Service; he was closely involved in military operations in Northern Ireland and provided advice to the British Government during the Bosnian War and the Kosovo War.

Army career[edit | edit source]

Born into a Scottish landed family, Guthrie was the elder son of Ronald Guthrie and Nina Guthrie (née Llewelyn).[1] and educated at Harrow School and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst,[1]

Guthrie was commissioned into the Welsh Guards on 25 July 1959.[2] He was promoted to Lieutenant on 1 June 1961[3] and Captain on 25 July 1965.[4] In 1966 he became a troop commander with 22 Special Air Service Regiment serving in Aden, the Persian Gulf, Malaysia and East Africa and then in 1968 he became a squadron commander with 22 Special Air Service Regiment serving in the Persian Gulf and the United Kingdom.[5] He returned to the Welsh Guards in Münster in 1970 and, following his promotion to Major on 31 December 1970,[6] he was given command a mechanised infantry company in the 1st Battalion.[5] He became Military Assistant to the Chief of the General Staff in 1973 and, following a year as Second in Command of 1st Battalion Welsh Guards in London and Cyprus[5] and having been promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel on 31 December 1975,[7] he became Brigade Major for the Household Division in 1976.[1] In the Jubilee Honours of 1977 he was appointed a Member (fourth class) of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO); on 31 December 1984 this rank was reclassified as Lieutenant (LVO).[8]

He was appointed Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion Welsh Guards in 1977 in which role he was deployed to Berlin.[1] Promoted to Colonel on 31 December 1979,[9] he undertook a tour of duty in Northern Ireland in Spring 1980 for which he was appointed OBE.[10] In 1980 he was also briefly Commander of British Forces in the New Hebrides.[1] He then spent two years as Colonel on the General Staff for Military Operations at the Ministry of Defence.[1] Promoted to Brigadier on 31 December 1981,[11] he became Brigade Commander of 4th Armoured Brigade in 1982.[1] In 1984 he was made Chief of Staff for 1st British Corps in Bielefeld.[5] Following his appointment as General Officer Commanding North East District and Commander 2nd Infantry Division based in York on 18 January 1986,[12] he was given the substantive rank of Major-General on 31 March 1986.[13]

On 24 November 1987 Guthrie became Assistant Chief of the General Staff at the Ministry of Defence.[14] On 2 October 1989 he was promoted to Lieutenant-General and appointed General Officer Commanding 1st British Corps,[15] and, having been appointed KCB in the New Year Honours 1990,[16] he relinquished his command on 2 December 1991.[17]

He was appointed Commander of Northern Army Group and British Army of the Rhine on 7 January 1992[18] and, following promotion to (full) General on 14 February 1992,[19] became ADC to the Queen on 13 July 1993.[20] He then became Chief of the General Staff (CGS) on 15 March 1994,[21] being advanced to GCB in the Queen's Birthday Honours 1994.[22] As CGS, he was responsible for providing strategic military advice to the British Government on the deployment of troops for the Bosnian War.[23] He went on to be Chief of the Defence Staff on 2 April 1997,[24] in which role he advised the British Government on the conduct of the Kosovo War,[25] before retiring in 2001.[1]

Guthrie was appointed Colonel Commandant of the Intelligence Corps on 1 March 1986,[26] Colonel of the Life Guards and Gold Stick-in-Waiting to The Queen on 1 January 1999[27] and Colonel Commandant of the SAS in 2000.[1]

Later career[edit | edit source]

Guthrie, after retiring as Chief of the Defence Staff,[1] was one of the several retired Chiefs of Defence Staff who spoke out in the House of Lords about the risk to servicemen facing liability for their actions before the International Criminal Court, particularly in respect to the invasion of Iraq.[28] He was created a Life Peer,[29] as Baron Guthrie of Craigiebank, of Craigiebank in the City of Dundee, in June 2001, and sits as a crossbencher in the House of Lords.[30] However, Guthrie has been criticised by George Monbiot for an alleged lack of understanding of international law. Monbiot based his argument on Guthrie's September 2002 statement for an invasion of Iraq and subsequent comments, in which he appeared to support launching "surprise wars", something forbidden by the United Nations Charter.[31] Guthrie also clashed with Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown in 2008 over military funding.[32]

In 2007 Guthrie co-authored a book on Ethics in Modern Warfare with Michael Quinlan, former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence.[33][34]

Guthrie was promoted to the honorary rank of Field Marshal in June 2012.[35] Guthrie represented HRH the Prince of Wales at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday 2012 where he was photographed wearing the epaulettes of a Field Marshal and carrying his Field Marshal's baton.[36]

Guthrie is a non-executive director of N M Rothschild & Sons, Gulf Keystone Petroleum, Ashley Gardens Block 2 Ltd, Colt Defense LLC, Sciens Capital and Petropavlovsk PLC and non-executive chairman of Siboney Ltd.[37] He is also a member of the Top Level Group of UK Parliamentarians for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation, established in October 2009.[38]

Guthrie is President of several charities, including Action Medical Research, the Army Benevolent Fund, Soldier On!,[39] the Federation of London Youth Clubs and the Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Association.[37] He is a Deputy Lieutenant for Dorset.[1]

A Roman Catholic convert,[40] he became a Knight of Malta[41] and Patron of the Cardinal Hume Centre.[42]

His interests include tennis, opera and travel.[1]

Family[edit | edit source]

Guthrie descends from an ancient Scottish landowning family: his kinsman is David Guthrie, 7th of Craigie. He married, on 11 Sep 1971, Catherine, daughter of Lieutenant Colonel Claude Worrall, MVO, OBE, Coldstream Guards; they have two sons.[1][29]

Arms[edit | edit source]

Lord Guthrie matriculated his family armorial bearings at the Lyon Office in 1999 (and was granted supporters for life).

Arms of C
A Demi-lion Gules, armed and langued Azure, holding in its dexter Paw a Cross-Crosslet fitchée Azure.
1st and 4th, Argent, a Cross Sable; 2nd and 3rd, Argent, three Garbs Or, banded Gules, all within a bordure wavy Gules, charged with three Pheons Or.
Dexter: a Lion Gules, armed and langued Azure, charged on the shoulder with a Pheon Or.

Sinister: a Griffin Gules, winged, beaked, legged and armed Azure, charged on the shoulder with a Pheon Or.

Nec Timidus Nec Tumidus (Neither timid nor rash)

Honours[edit | edit source]

Guthrie's honours and decorations include:

Order of the Bath UK ribbon.png Royal Victorian Order UK ribbon.png

Order of the British Empire (Military) Ribbon.png Order of St John (UK) ribbon.png General Service Medal 1962 BAR.svg Badge of Honour ribbon.png

Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Us legion of merit officer rib.png

Order of the Bath UK ribbon.png Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) 1994
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) 1990
Royal Victorian Order UK ribbon.png Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO) 1977
Order of the British Empire (Military) Ribbon.png Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) 1980
Order of St John (UK) ribbon.png Officer of the Order of St John
General Service Medal 1962 BAR.svg General Service Medal (1962)
Badge of Honour ribbon.png Badge of Honour, New Hebrides 1980[43]
Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal 1977
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal 2002
QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012
Us legion of merit officer rib.png Officer of the Legion of Merit (United States)

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Who's Who 2010, A & C Black, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4081-1414-8
  2. "No. 41826". 22 September 1959. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/41826/page/ 
  3. "No. 42419". 21 July 1961. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/42419/page/ 
  4. "No. 43721". 23 July 1965. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/43721/page/ 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Nato biography". http://www.hq.nato.int/cv/chod/uk/guthrie.htm. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  6. "No. 45271". 1 January 1971. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/45271/page/ 
  7. "No. 46773". 29 December 1975. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/46773/page/ 
  8. "No. 47234". 11 June 1977. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/47234/page/ 
  9. "No. 48080". 28 January 1980. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/48080/page/ 
  10. "No. 48346". 20 October 1980. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/48346/page/ 
  11. "No. 48852". 4 January 1982. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/48852/page/ 
  12. "No. 50426". 10 February 1986. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/50426/page/ 
  13. "No. 50515". 12 May 1986. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/50515/page/ 
  14. "No. 51136". 30 November 1987. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/51136/page/ 
  15. "No. 51890". 2 October 1989. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/51890/page/ 
  16. "No. 51981". 29 December 1989. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/51981/page/ 
  17. "No. 52732". 2 December 1991. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/52732/page/ 
  18. "No. 52792". 13 January 1992. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/52792/page/ 
  19. "No. 52838". 17 February 1992. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/52838/page/ 
  20. "No. 53369". 12 July 1993. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/53369/page/ 
  21. "No. 53645". 18 April 1994. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/53645/page/ 
  22. "No. 53696". 10 June 1994. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/53696/page/ 
  23. "Transcript of the Press Briefing". NATO. 24 July 1996. http://www.nato.int/ifor/trans/t960724a.htm. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  24. "No. 54726". 7 April 1997. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/54726/page/ 
  25. "UK military briefing on operation allied force". 27 March 1999. http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/ukos.htm. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  26. "No. 50452". 10 March 1986. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/50452/page/ 
  27. "No. 55365". 4 January 1999. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/55365/page/ 
  28. "Armed Forces: Chain of Command". Hansard. 14 July 2005. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2005-07-14b.1220.0&s=speaker%3A13420#g1233.0. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  29. 29.0 29.1 "Burkes Peerage". http://www.burkespeerage.com/. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  30. "No. 56260". 2 July 2001. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/56260/page/ 
  31. Monbiot, George (1 January 2008). "How Britain became party to a crime that may have killed a million people". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2233793,00.html. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  32. Thomson, Alice (25 July 2009). "Guthrie attacks Gordon Brown over helicopters for Afghanistan troops". The Times. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6726512.ece. 
  33. Charles Guthrie and Michael Quinlan (2007). Just War: The Just War Tradition: Ethics in Modern Warfare. Walker. ISBN 9780802717030. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ywEA8xBSuT4C. 
  34. Richard Norton-Taylor (3 November 2007). "Immoral victories". http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/nov/03/politics1. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  35. "Announcement". AFP. http://www.afp.com/en/node/224117. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  36. "Lest we forget: Queen, Kate and William pay their respects at the Cenotaph as Britain comes to standstill on Remembrance Sunday". Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2231292/Remembrance-Sunday-Queen-lays-wreath-Whitehall-Cenotaph-memory-war-dead.html. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  37. 37.0 37.1 "House of Lords: Register of Interests". http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldreg/reg10.htm. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  38. Borger, Julian (8 September 2009). "Nuclear-free world ultimate aim of new cross-party pressure group". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/08/nuclear-disarmament-cross-party-group. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  39. "Our Patrons". Soldier on!. http://www.soldieron.org.uk/?page_id=21. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  40. "General tells pupils about history and leadership". Catholic Herald. 18 June 2010. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/catholiclife/2010/06/18/general-tells-pupils-about-history-and-leadership/. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  41. "Lord Guthrie: 'Tony's General' turns defence into an attack". The Independent. 11 November 2008. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/lord-guthrie-tonys-general-turns-defence-into-an-attack-399865.html. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  42. "About Us: Patrons". Cardinal Hume Centre. http://www.cardinalhumecentre.org.uk/?pageid=SupportForTheCentre.xml. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  43. Mackay, James, Editor; Mussell, John W.; Editorial Team of Medal News (2004). The Medal Yearbook 2004. Devon, UK: Token Publishing Ltd.. p. 236. ISBN 9781870192620. 

External links[edit | edit source]

Military offices
Preceded by
Peter Inge
General Officer Commanding the 2nd Infantry Division
Succeeded by
Murray Naylor
Preceded by
John MacMillan
Assistant Chief of the General Staff
Succeeded by
Richard Swinburn
Preceded by
Sir Peter Inge
GOC 1st (British) Corps
Succeeded by
Sir Jeremy Mackenzie
Preceded by
Sir Peter Inge
Commander-in-Chief of the British Army of the Rhine
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Sir Peter Inge
Chief of the General Staff
Succeeded by
Sir Roger Wheeler
Preceded by
Sir Peter Inge
Chief of the Defence Staff
Succeeded by
Sir Michael Boyce

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