Surgeon-General (United Kingdom)


Surgeon General of the United Kingdom Armed Forces
Timothy Hodgetts

since 21 May 2021
Defence Medical Services
WebsiteDefence Medical Services

The Surgeon-General of the United Kingdom Armed Forces is the most senior uniformed medical officer in the British Armed Forces.


The post of Surgeon-General dates from 1664; there was also, from 1685, a Physician-General appointed; together, they directed the Army's medical services. These offices lapsed following the establishment of the Army Medical Department in 1810; but in 1874, the title of surgeon-general was reinstated as the highest rank for military medical officers.[1] The rank of deputy surgeon-general was also introduced, although it was redesignated surgeon-colonel from 7 August 1891.[2] In 1918, surgeon-general was redesignated as the standard Army rank of major-general, except for the most senior surgeon-general, who was redesignated a lieutenant-general.[3]

Defence Medical Services

Latterly, the role was described as "professional head of Defence Medical Services and the Defence Authority for end to end Defence healthcare and medical operational capability".[4] It had always been held by a three-star military medical officer, with the title of Surgeon-General;[5] but in July 2019 a civilian was appointed to the role for the first time, Peter Homa, whose job title is Director General of the Defence Medical Services (DGDMS).[6] The last person to have been appointed Surgeon-General as both professional head of the Defence Medical Services and head of the Joint Medical Group was Lieutenant-General Martin Bricknell, although Air Vice-Marshal Alastair Reid was Acting Surgeon-General of the Defence Medical Services from 2018 to 2019. On the appointment of Peter Homa as Director General of the Defence Medical Services, Reid was confirmed as Defence Medical Director,[7] with responsibility for medical operational capability, medical policy and research and development.[citation needed] In future, the role of Director-General will continue to be open to both serving and civilian candidates.[5]

List of Surgeons-General since 1990

Rank Name Post nominals Years in office
Air Marshal Sir Nigel Mills KBE, QHP, FRCGP, FRCP 1990–1991[8]
Lieutenant General Sir Peter Beale KBE, QHP, FRCP 1991–1994[9]
Surgeon Vice Admiral Anthony Revell CB, QHS, FRCS 1994–1997[10]
Air Marshal Sir John Baird KBE, DL, QHS, FRAeS, FRCPE 1997–2000[11]
Lieutenant General Robert Menzies CB, OBE, QHS 2000–2002[12]
Surgeon Vice Admiral Ian Jenkins CB, CVO, CStJ, QHS, FRCS 2002–2006[13]
Lieutenant General Louis Lillywhite CB, MBE, CStJ, QHP, FRCP 2006–2009[14]
Surgeon Vice Admiral Philip Raffaelli CB, CStJ, QHP, FRCP 2009–2012[15]
Air Marshal Paul Evans CB, OStJ, QHP 2012–2015[16]
Surgeon Vice Admiral Alasdair Walker CB, OBE, OStJ, QHS, FRCS 2015 – 2018[17]
Air Vice-Marshal Richard Broadbridge CB, QHS, FRAeS, FRCGP 2017 (acting)[18]
Lieutenant General Martin Bricknell CB, QHP 2018–2019[19]
Air Vice-Marshal Alastair Reid CB, QHP 2019–2021 (acting)[20][5]
Major General Timothy Hodgetts CBE, QHS 2021–[21]


  1. ^ Roper, Michael (1998). The Records of the War Office and Related Departments, 1660–1964. Kew, Surrey: Public Record Office.
  2. ^ "No. 26196". The London Gazette. 28 August 1891. p. 4615.
  3. ^ "No. 30906". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 September 1918. p. 11141.
  4. ^ "Defence Medical Services". GOV.UK. Ministry of Defence.
  5. ^ a b c "Defence Medical Services head appointed". GOV.UK. Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Peter Homa appointed as New Director General Defence Medical Services". Peter Homa appointed as New Director General Defence Medical Services. London. 4 July 2019. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Senior Appointments". RAF. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  8. ^ ‘MILLS, Air Marshal Sir Nigel (Holroyd)’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007 Who was Who, accessed 26 April 2011
  9. ^ Letters to the Editor 15 Mar 2007 The Telegraph
  10. ^ Gulf War Illnesses Archived 2011-10-09 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Winds of Destruction Archived 2009-01-05 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Lieutenant General RC Menzies (b. 1944) Kilmarnock Academy
  13. ^ Obituary The Telegraph
  14. ^ Louis Lillywhite MOD
  15. ^ "Ministry of Defence: Defence Medical Services". Retrieved 2013-04-27.
  16. ^ Defence Medical Services, Ministry of Defence
  17. ^ "No. 61488". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 February 2016. p. 1994.
  18. ^ "Broadbridge, 5th Baron, (Air Vice-Marshal Richard John Martin Broadbridge) (born 20 Jan. 1959)". Who's Who 2021. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2020. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  19. ^ "No. 62610". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 April 2019. p. 6432.
  20. ^ "Joint Forces Command senior, as of March 2019". UK Ministry of Defence. 28 October 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020. AVM Alastair Reid Acting Surgeon General
  21. ^ "No. 63358". The London Gazette (Supplement). 25 May 2021. p. 9308.

External links

  • Defence Medical Services – HQ Surgeon General/ Director General Defence Medical Services