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|Service branch|| British Army|
Corps of Royal Marines
|NATO rank||OF 6|
|Next higher rank||Major-general|
|Next lower rank||Colonel|
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. It corresponds to the rank of brigadier general in many other nations.
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 and the brigadier general (1-star general) rank of the United States military and numerous other NATO nations.
Brigadier was originally an appointment conferred on colonels (as commodore was an appointment conferred on naval captains) rather than a substantive rank. However, from 1 November 1947 it became a substantive rank in the British Army. The Royal Marines, however, retained it as an acting rank until 1997, when both commodore and brigadier became substantive ranks.
Historical rank of brigadier general
Brigadier-general was formerly a rank or appointment in the British Army and Royal Marines, and briefly in the Royal Air Force. It first appeared in the army in the reign of James II, but did not exist in the Royal Marines until 1913. In the 1740s, the substantive rank of brigadier-general was suppressed, and thereafter brigadier-general was a temporary appointment only, bestowed on a colonel or lieutenant-colonel (or on a colonel commandant in the Royal Marines) for the duration of a specific command (similar to a commodore).
The appointment was abolished in both the Army and the Marines in 1921, being replaced in the Army by the appointments of colonel-commandant (which already existed as a rank in the Marines) and colonel on the staff. 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 in both the Army and the Marines (although not replacing the substantive rank of colonel commandant in the latter) in 1928. From the formation of the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918 until 31 July 1919, it used the appointment of brigadier-general. This was superseded by the rank of air commodore on the following day.
The rank insignia for appointment of the brigadier-general was a crossed sword and baton; the insignia for higher grades of general consist of this device, with the addition of a star (major general), crown (lieutenant general), or both ("full" general).
Brigadier is the highest field officer rank (hence the absence of the word "general"), whereas brigadier-general was the lowest general officer "rank". However, the two ranks are considered equal.
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.
- British and U.S. military ranks compared
- British Army Other Ranks rank insignia
- British Army officer rank insignia
- "New Army Rank of Brigadier", The Times, 23 December 1927
- "Rank of Brigadier", The Times, 24 March 1948
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