Famous British Military Leaders

Much of your good night sleep is not because of a swanky done-up bed or a scrumptious meal - hundreds of thousands of soldiers stay awake all night to assure that their countrymen sleep well. And least that they expect is some amount of respect and admiration from the people. Every country, today, boasts of a talented pool of military personnel, brave, courageous and valiant, who dauntlessly serve their country and give their lives for the same as well. And Britain is one such country. The country has been home to countless brave and courageous military leaders who have served the country tirelessly notwithstanding wars, conflicts, battles and so on. While Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount was a popular military commander who gained prominence for his service in the First World War, the 17th century saw greats like Oliver Cromwell who served as the 1st Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. Other eminent British military leaders include Bernard Montgomery, William Slim, Alan Brooke, Robert Clive, John Churchill, Arthur Wellesley and so on. Go through this write-up and get details about the life and works of British military leaders.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 T. E. Lawrence

T. E. Lawrence
Famous As: Archaeologist, Army officer, Diplomat
Birthdate: August 16, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tremadoc, Wales
Died: May 19, 1935
T. E. Lawrence was a British army officer who participated in the Arab Revolt, against the Ottoman regime, during World War I. Nicknamed Lawrence of Arabia, he inspired a movie of the same name. His treatise of his war experiences was published as Seven Pillars of Wisdom, his best-known work.

 2 Horatio Nelson

Horatio Nelson
Famous As: Admiral
Birthdate: September 29, 1758
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Burnham Thorpe
Died: October 21, 1805

Horatio Nelson was a British flag officer whose inspirational leadership brought about several British naval victories, especially during the Napoleonic Wars. Regarded as one of Britain's heroic figures, Horatio Nelson's legacy remains influential and several monuments, including the Nelson Monument and Nelson's Column, have been created in his memory.

 3 Richard I of England

Richard I of England
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: September 8, 1157
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Beaumont Palace, Oxford, England
Died: April 6, 1199
Richard I of England, the king of England from 1189 to 1199, was known as Richard the Lionheart, for his military prowess. He also reigned over Normandy, Aquitaine, Gascony, Cyprus, Poitiers, Anjou, Maine, and Nantes. The third son of King Henry II, he fought actively in the Third Crusade.
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 4 Lord Mountbatten

Lord Mountbatten
Famous As: Last Viceroy of British India
Birthdate: June 25, 1900
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Frogmore House, Windsor, England
Died: August 27, 1979

The last Viceroy of India and the first governor-general of independent India, Lord Mountbatten was a British Royal Navy officer and statesman. Born to a prominent aristocratic family in England, he had a successful military career and was made the NATO Commander Allied Forces Mediterranean in his later career. He was assassinated in 1979.

 5 Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
Famous As: Army Officer
Birthdate: November 17, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London
Died: March 24, 1976

Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, was a British Army officer who played important roles in World War I, World War II, and the Irish War of Independence. He commanded the British Eighth Army during the Second World War and also oversaw the operations during the Battle of Normandy. Bernard Montgomery has a couple of statues dedicated to him.

 6 Robert Clive

Robert Clive
Famous As: British Military Officer
Birthdate: September 25, 1725
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Styche Hall, England
Died: November 22, 1774

 7 Jack Churchill

Jack Churchill
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: September 16, 1906
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Died: December 8, 1996

Better known as Mad Jack or Fighting Jack, British Army officer Jack Churchill was an iconic example of a person fighting wars on his own terms. He popularized carrying swords and bagpipes to battles and killed his enemies with his longbow. He inspired a comic strip and several books, too.

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 8 John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough

John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: May 26, 1650
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ash, Musbury
Died: June 16, 1722

 9 Edward Smith

Edward Smith
Famous As: Naval officer
Birthdate: January 27, 1850
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, England
Died: April 15, 1912

 10 Timothy Laurence

Timothy Laurence
Famous As: Husband of Princess Anne, Navy officer
Birthdate: March 1, 1955
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Camberwell, London, England
Timothy Laurence is a former officer of the British Royal Navy. He is married to Princess Anne since 1992. From 1986 to 1989, he was the equerry to Queen Elizabeth II, and met Anne during that time. He serves on the boards of various charitable and professional bodies.

 11 Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener

Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener
Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: June 24, 1850
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ballylongford, Ireland
Died: June 5, 1916

Horatio Herbert Kitchener is remembered for his military acumen and for his large-scale organization of troops during World War I. He had served the Egyptian army and the British army in South Africa, and was the commander-in-chief in India. He died aboard the HMS Hampshire when the cruiser drowned.

 12 Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell

Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell
Famous As: Founder of the Scout Movement
Birthdate: February 22, 1857
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paddington, London, England
Died: January 8, 1941

 13 Enoch Powell

Enoch Powell
Birthdate: June 16, 1912
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Birmingham
Died: February 8, 1998

Enoch Powell was a British politician, linguist, classical scholar, philologist, and poet. Also a soldier, Powell served in World War II, reaching the rank of brigadier. His political career is remembered for his iconic and infamous Rivers of Blood speech, which was interpreted as a demonstration of racism. The speech became the subject of a play titled What Shadows.

 14 Charles Edward Stuart

Charles Edward Stuart
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: December 31, 1720
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Palazzo Muti, Rome
Died: January 31, 1788
Charles Edward Stuart, also known as "The Young Pretender” and “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” was the son of Prince James, and the grandson of James II. He is best remembered for his role in the 1745 Jacobite Uprising, and his subsequent failure, which became the subject of many folk songs.

 15 Rick Rescorla

Rick Rescorla
Famous As: Army Officer
Birthdate: May 27, 1939
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hayle, Cornwall, United Kingdom
Died: September 11, 2001

 16 Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell
Famous As: English Statesman
Birthdate: April 25, 1599
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire, Kingdom of England
Died: September 3, 1658
The Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, Oliver Cromwell was a military leader and a devoted Puritan who belonged to an affluent landowning family. During the English Civil War, Cromwell fought against King Charles I and caused the deaths of at least 3,000 soldiers and civilians.

 17 John Graves Simcoe

John Graves Simcoe
Famous As: First Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada
Birthdate: February 25, 1752
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cotterstock, Oundle, England
Died: October 26, 1806

 18 John of Gaunt

John of Gaunt
Famous As: Nobleman
Birthdate: March 6, 1340
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ghent, Belgium
Died: February 3, 1399

John of Gaunt was an English prince, statesman, and military leader. An influential figure, John of Gaunt is credited with founding the royal House of Lancaster, which would later produce men to ascend the royal throne. Early in his career, John spent considerable time in Spain participating in the Hundred Years' War.

 19 Prince Louis of Battenberg

Prince Louis of Battenberg
Famous As: Admiral
Birthdate: May 24, 1854
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Graz, Austria
Died: September 11, 1921

 20 John French, 1st Earl of Ypres

John French, 1st Earl of Ypres
Famous As: British Army Officer
Birthdate: September 28, 1852
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ripple, Kent
Died: May 22, 1925

 21 Charles George Gordon

Charles George Gordon
Famous As: British soldier and Administrator
Birthdate: January 28, 1833
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London
Died: January 26, 1885

 22 William Bligh

William Bligh
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: September 9, 1754
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Plymouth, United Kingdom
Died: September 7, 1817

 23 David Stirling

David Stirling
Famous As: Officer
Birthdate: November 15, 1915
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lecropt, Perthshire, Scotland
Died: November 4, 1990

Scottish-born British Army officer David Stirling was known for his exploits in World War II, during which he formed and led the British Special Air Service (SAS). Following the war, he focused on combating racism in colonial Africa and even formed a foundation for animal conservation. He was knighted for his achievements.

 24 Sir Henry Percy

Sir Henry Percy
Famous As: English rebel
Birthdate: May 20, 1364
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Warkworth, United Kingdom
Died: July 21, 1403

 25 Kenneth More

Kenneth More
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 20, 1914
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, England
Died: July 12, 1982

 26 James Wolfe

James Wolfe
Famous As: Officer
Birthdate: January 2, 1727
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Westerham, United Kingdom
Died: September 13, 1759

 27 Prince Rupert of the Rhine

Prince Rupert of the Rhine
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: December 17, 1619
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Prague, Czechia
Died: November 29, 1682

Prince Rupert of the Rhine was a German-English admiral, army officer, colonial governor, and scientist. Renowned for his energy and quick-thinking, Rupert made long-lasting and impressive contributions to the doctrine and development of the Royal Navy. He is also credited with shaping modern Canada's political geography. 

 28 Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood

Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood
Famous As: Military personnel
Birthdate: September 9, 1882
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 23, 1947

 29 William Slim, 1st Viscount Slim

William Slim, 1st Viscount Slim
Famous As: Military commander
Birthdate: August 6, 1891
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bishopston, England
Died: December 14, 1970

 30 Banastre Tarleton

Banastre Tarleton
Famous As: Former lieutenant colonel at the end of the American Revolution
Birthdate: August 21, 1754
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died: January 15, 1833

Banastre Tarleton was a British politician and general. He served in the American Revolutionary War where he was a lieutenant colonel. An iconic figure, Tarleton has been portrayed in several films, such as Sweet Liberty, The Patriot, and Amazing Grace. He has also been depicted in many TV series and novels.   

 31 Adrian Carton de Wiart

Adrian Carton de Wiart
Famous As: Military personnel
Birthdate: May 5, 1880
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brussels metropolitan area
Died: June 5, 1963

Adrian Carton de Wiart was a British Army officer who served in the Boer War, World War I, and World War II. He suffered several injuries during his service; he was shot in the face, ankle, leg, stomach, head, hip, and ear. He also lost vision in his left eye. He was honored with many awards, including the Victoria Cross.

 32 Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig

Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: June 19, 1861
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: January 29, 1928

 33 Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany

Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany
Famous As: Duke of York and Albany
Birthdate: August 16, 1763
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: St James's Palace, London, England
Died: January 5, 1827

 34 Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn
Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: November 2, 1767
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Buckingham Palace, England
Died: January 23, 1820

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn was the father of Queen Victoria. His army career took him to Canada and the West Indies, making him the first royal family member to stay in North America. He was also the governor of Gibraltar and played a major role in Canada’s development.

 35 James Hewitt

James Hewitt
Famous As: Military Leaders
Birthdate: April 30, 1958
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK

James Hewitt is a British retired cavalry officer who served in the British Army. He achieved international recognition in the mid-1990s when he claimed that he had an affair with Diana, Princess of Wales. The affair was confirmed by Diana in an interview in 1995. The relationship inspired a book titled Princess in Love, which was adapted into a film.

 36 George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven

George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: December 6, 1892
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Palace, Darmstadt, Grand Duchy of Hesse, Germany
Died: April 8, 1938

 37 John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe

John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe
Famous As: Royal Navy officer
Birthdate: December 5, 1859
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Southampton, England
Died: November 20, 1935

 38 Edmund the Martyr

Edmund the Martyr
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0841 AD
Birthplace: Nuremberg, Germany
Died: November 28, 0869

 39 James Oglethorpe

James Oglethorpe
Famous As: Founder of the colony of Georgia
Birthdate: December 22, 1696
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Surrey
Died: June 30, 1785

Remembered as the founder of the British colony of Georgia in the US, James Oglethorpe was a renowned British soldier, MP, and social reformer. Educated at Oxford, he initially fought for the Austrian army against the Turks. As an MP, he brought in prison reforms. He was also the governor of Georgia.

 40 Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn

Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: May 1, 1850
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Buckingham Palace, England
Died: January 16, 1942

 41 Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald

Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 14, 1775
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Died: October 31, 1860

One of the best-known seamen from Britain, Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald had also been an MP. He is also remembered for his conflict with Admiral James Gambier. Though expelled from the Parliament for spreading a death hoax about Napoleon I along with his uncle, he was later proved to be innocent.

 42 Thomas Gage

Thomas Gage
Famous As: Military Officer
Birthdate: 1721 AD
Birthplace: Firle, England
Died: April 2, 1787

 43 Lawrence Oates

Lawrence Oates
Famous As: British Officer
Birthdate: March 17, 1880
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Putney, London, United Kingdom
Died: March 17, 1912

 44 Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis

Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis
Famous As: Governor-General of India (1786-1793, 1805)
Birthdate: December 31, 1738
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Grosvenor Square, London, England
Died: October 5, 1805

 45 Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick

Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick
Famous As: Nobleman
Birthdate: November 22, 1428
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Norwich, England
Died: April 14, 1471

 46 Archibald Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell

Archibald Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell
Famous As: Politician, Officer
Birthdate: May 5, 1883
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Colchester
Died: May 24, 1950

 47 Æthelwold of Wessex

Æthelwold of Wessex
Famous As: Monarch
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Great Britain
Died: December 13, 0902

 48 Sir Arthur Harris, 1st Baronet

Sir Arthur Harris, 1st Baronet
Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: April 13, 1892
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cheltenham, England
Died: April 5, 1984

 49 John Hawkins

John Hawkins
Famous As: Privateer
Birthdate: November 30, 1532
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Plymouth, Devon, England
Died: November 12, 1595

 50 Reginald Dyer

Reginald Dyer
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: October 9, 1864
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Murree, Punjab, British India (present-day Pakistan)
Died: July 24, 1927