Army Chief Receives 'Very Special' Knighthood From The Queen

General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith was previously awarded a CBE for his work in Afghanistan.

The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, has been knighted by Her Majesty The Queen at an investiture at Buckingham Palace. 

General Carleton-Smith replaced General Sir Nick Carter in June last year, having previously served as Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff.

Speaking to Forces News after the investiture, Gen Carleton-Smith described it as a "very special and very memorable occasion".

"For me personally it was an opportunity to reflect on over 30 years’ worth of service on behalf of the British Army," he said. 

"I found myself thinking about the men and women that I’ve served with, particularly those that I’ve lost along the way."

Honours, Gen Carleton-Smith believes, are particularly important for recipients’ families:

“As I looked round the ballroom this morning, really the sense of pleasure and pride etched on everybody’s faces was probably the major memory that I’ll take away.”

General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith studied at Durham University and went on to graduate from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

In 1986 he was commissioned into 1st Battalion Irish Guards and subsequently served in south Armagh, London, Germany, Canada, the Gulf and the Balkans.

In 2001 he was appointed Military Assistant to the Commander-in-Chief Land Forces and then promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith inspects troops at the Sovereign's Parade at Sandhurst last August.

Between 2002 and 2005 he assumed regimental command of the of 22 Special Air Service Regiment, serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan at various points.

In 2006 he took command of 16 Air Assault Brigade, after which he was appointed as Commander Helmand Task Force and Commander British Forces Afghanistan.

Between 2009 and 2011 he worked as Director Army Resources and Plans, before being promoted to Major General as Director Special Forces in 2012.

He was made Director Strategy at Army Headquarters in Andover in 2015, before his appointment as Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff the following year.

Mark Carleton-Smith is set to be named new Chief of the General Staff (Image: PA).
General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith receiving his CBE from the Princess Royal in 2009 (Picture: PA).

Knighthoods are the traditional gift of the Sovereign to Chiefs of the General Staff but Gen Carleton-Smith is no stranger to the honours system.

In 2009 he was awarded a CBE by the Princess Royal for his work in Afghanistan.

Other military figures were also awarded honours at today’s investiture.

Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Roberts of the Corps of Army Music was given an OBE, as was Wing Commander Paul Crook for organising the RAF 100 parade on the Mall.

"It’s a huge privilege,” Wing Commander Crook told Forces News.

"Working on last year’s centenary for the Royal Air Force was massive in itself and a huge privilege to be in the ceremonial office for that year.

"Then to come on to today having been awarded the OBE is just absolutely fantastic. Unprecedented in my wildest expectations."

Corporal of Horse Carl Adams of The Blues and Royals was also made an MBE.