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Major General Francis Hedley Roberton "Buster" Howes, CB, OBE (born 22 March 1960) is a Royal Marines officer who was Commandant General Royal Marines from February 2010 to December 2011.

Buster Howes
USMC-110727-M-RT059-004 (cropped).jpg
Howes in 2011
Born (1960-03-22) 22 March 1960 (age 59)
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Marines
Years of service1982 –
RankMajor General
Commands heldRoyal Marines
3 Commando Brigade
42 Commando
Battles/warsOperation Banner
Gulf War
Bosnian War
Iraq War
War in Afghanistan
AwardsCompanion of the Order of the Bath
Officer of the Order of the British Empire


Early lifeEdit

Howes was educated at Christ's Hospital, an independent school in Horsham, West Sussex. He studied chemistry at the University of York, graduating with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree. He completed a Master of Arts (MA) degree in strategic studies at the University of London.[1][2]

Military careerEdit

Howes was commissioned into the Royal Marines in 1982.[2] He became a troop commander in 42 Commando and had his first posting to Northern Ireland. After training as a Mountain Leader, he transferred to 45 Commando.[2] He served in the Gulf War while on secondment to the USMC. He served as a planner in the Rapid Reaction Force Operations Staff of UNPROFOR during the Bosnian War in 1995.[2]

Howes became Commanding Officer of 42 Commando (during the Iraq War) in 2003, Chief Joint Coordination and Effects in Headquarters ISAF in Afghanistan in 2007[3] and Director of Naval Staff later that year.[4] He went on to be Commander of 3 Commando Brigade in April 2008, Head of Overseas Operations in the Ministry of Defence in 2009 and Commandant General Royal Marines in February 2010.[2] He was Head of the British Defence Staff – US and Defence Attaché in Washington, D.C. from 2011 to 2015.[5][6]


Howes was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2003.[1] He was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the 2013 Birthday Honours.[7]


  1. ^ a b 'HOWES, Maj. Gen. Francis Hedley Roberton, (Buster)', Who's Who 2017, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2017; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2016; online edn, Nov 2016 accessed 22 June 2017
  2. ^ a b c d e Royal Navy: Major General Buster Howes OBE
  3. ^ Consilium
  4. ^ Royal Navy Senior Appointments Archived 15 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Whitaker's Almanack 2012
  6. ^ "Major General Buster Howes OBE". GOV.UK. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  7. ^ "No. 60534". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 2013. p. 2.
Military offices
Preceded by
Andy Salmon
Commandant General Royal Marines
Succeeded by
Ed Davis
Preceded by
Michael Harwood
Head of the British Defence Staff – US and Defence Attaché
Succeeded by
Richard Cripwell