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Field Marshal The Lord Inge

Field Marshal The Lord Inge KG GCB PC DL, who served as both Chief of the General Staff and Chief of the Defence Staff in the 1990s, died on 20 July 2022, aged 86 years.

Peter Anthony Inge was born in Croydon in 1935 and educated at Wrekin College, where he was an accomplished rugby winger, cricketer, and athlete. Aged 18, he reported to Catterick for his National Service. An initial application to Sandhurst for officer training failed and he served in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

After completing National Service, Lord Inge passed up on a deferred place to read history at Cambridge to successfully reapply to Sandhurst. He was commissioned into The Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment) in 1956, serving with the Regiment’s 1st Battalion in Hong Kong and Germany and deploying to Malaya during the Malayan Emergency.

Appointed aide-de-camp to the General Officer Commanding 4th Division in 1960, Lord Inge was promoted to captain in 1962, and made adjutant of the 1st Green Howards in 1963.

After a staff job at the Ministry of Defence, Lord Inge was promoted to major in 1967 and returned to command a company in 1st Green Howards. From there, alternate service in Germany at the height of the Cold War and Northern Ireland during the Troubles became the defining character of his career.

In 1970, Lord Inge deployed to Belfast at the head of his company, to be appointed chief of staff of 11th Armoured Brigade in Germany on his return. Promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1972 he was an instructor at the Staff College, Camberley before taking command of 1st Green Howards in 1974. The battalion deployed on two emergency tours of Northern Ireland, for which he was awarded a Mention in Dispatches.

Promoted to Colonel in 1976 Lord Inge took charge of junior division of Staff College at Warminster, helping to shape the careers of hundreds of captains.

Promoted to brigadier in 1979, Lord Inge commanded 4th Armoured Brigade, then served as chief of staff of 1st (British) Corps – both in Germany - before returning to the UK in 1984 to command 2nd Infantry Division.

After a staff job at the MoD, Lord Inge returned to Germany to command 1st (British) Corps and then commander of NATO's Northern Army Group and Commander-in-Chief of British Army of the Rhine, being promoted to the substantive rank of general in 1990.

Lord Inge was then appointed Chief of the General Staff in February 1992 and Chief of the Defence Staff, with the rank of field marshal, on 15 March 1994. In both roles, his main focuses were British involvement in UN peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and reforms and reductions to the military after the end of the Cold War.

Lord Inge was the last field marshal to serve in the Army, with the rank becoming a honorary position. He was ennobled on retirement in 1997 and became an active member of the House of Lords. He maintained his military links by serving as commissioner of the Royal Hospital Chelsea and president of the Army Benevolent Fund, as well as being a trustee of the Historic Royal Palaces.

Lord Inge married Letitia in 1960, who died in 2020. He is survived by two daughters, Antonia and Verity.