Brigadier (United Kingdom)

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UK Army OF6-2.png

Brigadier (Brig) is a senior rank in the British Army and the Royal Marines. Brigadier is the superior rank to colonel, but subordinate to major-general. While the corresponding rank of brigadier general in many other nations is a general officer rank, the British Army considers it a field officer rank.

The rank has a NATO rank code of OF-6, placing it equivalent to the Royal Navy commodore and the Royal Air Force air commodore ranks. It is also equivalent to a brigadier general (1-star general) in the United States of America.


The rank insignia for a brigadier is a crown over three "pips" ("Bath" stars). The rank insignia for a brigadier-general was crossed sword and baton.


In 1921 the appointment of brigadier-general was replaced in the Army by those of colonel-commandant and colonel on the staff and abolished entirely in the Royal Marines. These appointments, although reflecting its modern role in the British Army as a senior colonel rather than a junior general, were not well received and were both replaced with brigadier (which was also adopted in the Marines) from 1 June 1928.[1]

Until shortly after World War II, brigadier was an appointment conferred on colonels (as commodore was an appointment conferred on naval captains) rather than a substantive rank.[1] The Royal Marines retained this until 1997, when both commodore and brigadier became substantive ranks.[2]

Junior officer rank

Historically, brigadier and sub-brigadier were the junior officer ranks in the Troops of Horse Guards. This corresponded to French practice, where a brigadier was the cavalry equivalent of a corporal. To reflect the status of the Horse Guards as Household Troops, brigadiers ranked with lieutenants and sub-brigadiers with cornets in other cavalry regiments. When the Horse Guards were disbanded in 1788, the brigadiers and sub-brigadiers of the 1st and 2nd Troops became lieutenants and cornets in the 1st and 2nd Regiments of Life Guards, respectively.[3]

Brigadier remains the lowest officer rank in the Royal Company of Archers, the Queen's Bodyguard for Scotland. There are twelve brigadiers on the establishment, ranking after ensigns.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "New Army Rank of Brigadier", The Times, 23 December 1927
  2. Debrett's
  3. The London Gazette: no. 13005. p. 325. 5—8 July 1788.
  4. Royal Company of Archers, Accessed 1 July 2012

External links