Military Wiki
Sir John Stanier
File:John Wilfred Stanier.jpg
Field Marshal Sir John Stanier
Born (1925-10-06)6 October 1925
Died 10 November 2007(2007-11-10) (aged 82)
Place of birth Sawbridgeworth, Essex
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1946–1985
Rank Field Marshal
Commands held Royal Scots Greys
20th Armoured Brigade
1st Armoured Division
Staff College, Camberley
UK Land Forces
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Member of the Order of the British Empire

Field Marshal Sir John Wilfred Stanier, GCB, MBE (6 October 1925 – 10 November 2007) was Chief of the General Staff. 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.

Army career[]

Stanier was born in Sawbridgeworth in Essex, the son of Harold Allan Stanier and Penelope Rose Stanier (née Price).[1] His father was badly wounded in the First World War, but was employed by Spedan Lewis to manage his farms.[2] He was educated at Marlborough College[3] and took a short wartime course at Merton College, Oxford.[1] He volunteered for the Army in 1943, and having trained at Sandhurst and Bovington,[1] was commissioned into the 7th Queen's Own Hussars on 19 April 1946.[4] Promoted to lieutenant on 16 October 1948,[5] he served with the intelligence branch in Italy in 1949 before being posted to the British Army of the Rhine in 1950.[1] He was promoted to captain on 6 October 1952[6] and became an instructor at the Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot in April 1954, before attending the Staff College, Camberley in 1957.[3] Following the merger of his regiment with the 3rd The King's Own Hussars, he became an officer in the Queen's Own Hussars in 1958[3] and was posted to the Directorate of Military Operations at the War Office, before being appointed military assistant to Sir William Stratton, Vice-Chief of the Imperial General Staff in July 1959.[1] Promoted to major on 6 October 1959,[7] he was appointed MBE in the New Year Honours 1961.[8] He attended the Joint Services Staff College and, from 1962, commanded the tanks in "C" Squadron of his regiment in Germany,[1] before returning to Camberley as Director of Studies in 1963.[1]

Stainer was not selected to command the Queen's Own Hussars.[1] Disappointed, he considered leaving the Army,[1] but was pleasantly surprised, having transferred to the Royal Scots Greys on 1 January 1966,[9] to be promoted to lieutenant colonel on 2 May 1966[10] and made Commanding Officer of the Royal Scots Greys.[3] He joined the staff of the Imperial Defence College in December 1968,[3] and was then promoted two ranks to brigadier on 31 December 1969[11] and took command of 20th Armoured Brigade in the British Army of the Rhine in January 1970.[12] After serving as the Army's director of public relations in London from 1971, he was appointed General Officer Commanding 1st Armoured Division on 3 November 1973[13] with the substantive rank of major general from 21 January 1974.[14] He became Commandant at the Staff College, Camberley on 22 December 1975.[15]

He was appointed KCB in the Queen's Birthday Honours 1978,[16] and became Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff[17] with the rank of lieutenant general on 1 June 1978.[18] The Challenger tank was brought into service during his period in this post.[1] Promoted to full general on 1 January 1981, he was made Commander-in-Chief, UK Land Forces in April 1981.[17] He became ADC General to the Queen from 7 April 1981,[19] was advanced to GCB in the Queen's Birthday Honours 1982[20] and became Chief of the General Staff on 1 August 1982.[21] 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.[1] He was promoted to field marshal on 10 July 1985[22] on retirement from the British Army.[17]

He was also Colonel of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards from 18 January 1979[23] to 6 May 1984,[24] and Colonel Commandant of the Royal Armoured Corps from 1 April 1982[25] to 1 August 1985.[26]

In retirement he served as chairman of the Royal United Service Institution from 1986 to 1989.[1] He was Constable of the Tower of London from 1990 to 1996.[1] His book War and the Media, co-authored with Miles Hudson, was published in 1997.[1] He was a Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire from 1987, and lived near Hartley Wintney.[1]

His interests included fly fishing, sailing and horse riding and he was also President of the Hampshire branch of the British Red Cross Society from 1986 to 1994.[1] He was also a Member of the Council of Marlborough College.[1] He died on 10 November 2007.[1]


In 1955 he married Cicely Constance Lambert; they had four daughters.[1]


  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 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 "Obituary: Field Marshal Sir John Stanier". Daily Telegraph. 13 November 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2011. 
  2. "Obituary: Field Marshal Sir John Stanier". The Independent. 14 November 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2011. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Heathcote, Anthony pg 269
  4. "No. 37580". 24 May 1946. 
  5. "No. 38430". 12 October 1948. 
  6. "No. 39662". 3 October 1952. 
  7. "No. 41834". 2 October 1959. 
  8. "No. 42231". 27 December 1960. 
  9. "No. 43852". 28 December 1965. 
  10. "No. 44069". 29 July 1966. 
  11. "No. 45013". 5 January 1970. 
  12. 20th Armoured Brigade list of commanders
  13. "No. 46120". 5 November 1973. 
  14. "No. 46188". 21 January 1974. 
  15. "No. 46769". 23 December 1975. 
  16. "No. 47549". 2 June 1978. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Heathcote, Anthony pg 270
  18. "No. 47566". 12 June 1978. 
  19. "No. 48589". 16 April 1981. 
  20. "No. 49008". 11 June 1982. 
  21. "No. 49069". 2 August 1982. 
  22. "No. 50226". 12 August 1985. 
  23. "No. 47752". 22 January 1979. 
  24. "No. 49735". 14 May 1984. 
  25. "No. 48964". 26 April 1982. 
  26. "No. 50233". 19 August 1985. 

Further reading[]

  • Heathcote, Tony (1999). The British Field Marshals 1736–1997. Barnsley (UK): Pen & Sword. ISBN 0-85052-696-5. 
  • Hudson, M.; Stanier, J. (1998). War and the Media. New York University Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-3580-0. 

External links[]

Military offices
Preceded by
Edwin Bramall
General Officer Commanding the 1st (UK) Armoured Division
Succeeded by
Richard Lawson
Preceded by
Hugh Beach
Commandant of the Staff College, Camberley
Succeeded by
Frank Kitson
Preceded by
Sir William Scotter
Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Morony
Preceded by
Sir Timothy Creasey
Commander in Chief, UK Land Forces
Succeeded by
Sir Frank Kitson
Preceded by
Sir Edwin Bramall
Chief of the General Staff
Succeeded by
Sir Nigel Bagnall
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Roland Gibbs
Constable of the Tower of London
Succeeded by
Sir Peter Inge

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