Michael Carver

Field Marshal Richard Michael Power Carver, Baron Carver, GCB, CBE, DSO & Bar, MC (24 April 1915 – 9 December 2001) was a senior British Army officer. Lord Carver served as the Chief of the General Staff (CGS), the professional head of the British Army, and then as the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), the professional head of the British Armed Forces. He served with distinction during the Second World War and organised the administration of British forces deployed in response to the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya and later in his career provided advice to the British government on the response to the early stages of The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The Lord Carver
Sir Michael Carver in 1967.jpg
Born(1915-04-24)24 April 1915
Bletchingley, Surrey, England
Died9 December 2001(2001-12-09) (aged 86)
Fareham, Hampshire, England
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1935–1976
RankField Marshal
Service number64649
UnitRoyal Tank Regiment
Commands heldChief of the Defence Staff
Chief of the General Staff
Southern Command
Far East Command
3rd Infantry Division
6th Infantry Brigade
4th Armoured Brigade
1st Battalion, Royal Tank Regiment
Battles/warsSecond World War Mau Mau Uprising
Operation Banner
AwardsKnight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order & Bar
Military Cross
Mentioned in Despatches

Military careerEdit

Born the son of Harold Power Carver and Winifred Anne Gabrielle Carver (née Wellesley)[1] and educated at Winchester College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst,[2] Carver was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Royal Tank Corps on 1 February 1935.[3] He was promoted to lieutenant on 31 January 1938.[2]

He served in the Second World War initially organising logistics at the Headquarters of 7th Armoured Division which was engaged in fighting the Italians in North Africa: he was mentioned in despatches on 1 April 1941[4] and again on 8 July 1941[5] and awarded the Military Cross on 9 September 1942.[6] Promoted to captain on 31 January 1943,[7] he was given the temporary rank of lieutenant-colonel and appointed Commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, Royal Tank Regiment on 14 April 1943, leading them in North Africa for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) on 4 May 1943[8] and in Italy for which he was awarded a Bar to his DSO on 24 February 1944.[9] He was appointed Commander of 4th Armoured Brigade on 27 June 1944 and led his brigade in the campaign in North West Europe.[10] He was also appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1945.[1]

Carver's uniform at the Bovington Tank Museum.

Carver became a Technical Staff officer to the Ministry of Supply in 1947,[10] and having been promoted to the substantive rank of major on 31 January 1948,[11] he became Assistant Quartermaster-General (Plans) at Headquarters Allied Forces Central Europe in May 1951[12] and then head of the exercise planning staff at SHAPE in October 1952.[1] Having been promoted to lieutenant-colonel on 27 March 1954[13] and to colonel on 17 June 1954,[14] he was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff at East Africa Command in June 1954;[12] he took part in the closing stages of the response to the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya[12] for which he was mentioned in despatches on 19 July 1955.[15] He was then elevated to Chief of Staff in East Africa in October 1955 and appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath on 8 March 1957.[16] He was appointed Director of Plans at the War Office in February 1958,[12] Commander of the 6th Brigade at Münster in January 1960[12] and General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 3rd Division with the rank of major-general on 4 September 1962.[17] His division was deployed to Cyprus in February 1964.[12] He was made Director of Army Staff Duties at the Ministry of Defence on 7 October 1964[18] and famously substantially reduced the size of the Territorial Army (TA).[12]

Having been advanced to a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 1966 Queen's Birthday Honours,[19] he was made General Officer Commanding Far East Land Forces[20] with the rank of lieutenant-general on 28 July 1966,[21] tri-service Commander-in-Chief of Far East Command in 1967 and, having been promoted to full general on 29 March 1968,[22] General Officer Commanding Southern Command on 12 May 1969.[23] After being advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in the 1970 Birthday Honours,[24] he was appointed Chief of the General Staff on 1 April 1971[25] in which role he provided advice to the British government on the response to the early stages of The Troubles in Northern Ireland.[26] Having been promoted to field marshal on 18 July 1973,[27] he became Chief of the Defence Staff on 21 October 1973[28] before retiring in October 1976.[29] In July 1977 he became a life peer as Baron Carver, of Shackleford in the County of Surrey.[30]

Carver was also Colonel Commandant of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers from February 1966, of the Royal Tank Regiment from January 1968, of the Bristol University Officer Training Corps from March 1972 and of the Royal Armoured Corps from April 1974.[29]

In August 1977 he was appointed resident commissioner designate for Rhodesia with responsibility for ending the dispute over independence there but resigned after fourteen months of deadlock.[1] He wrote a number of books on military history and was a vocal critic of Britain's Trident missile programme, believing that as the American nuclear strike capability was sufficiently powerful it was inefficient for Britain to have an independent program.[29]

His interests included sailing, tennis and gardening.[31] He died on 9 December 2001 in Fareham, Hampshire.[32]


In 1947 he married Edith Lowry-Corry, a granddaughter of Henry Lowry-Corry; they had two sons and two daughters.[10] Lady Carver died in 2019.[33] Carver's mother was related to Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d "Michael Carver". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Heathcote 1999, p. 75.
  3. ^ "No. 34129". The London Gazette. 1 February 1935. p. 773.
  4. ^ "No. 35120". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 March 1941. p. 1870.
  5. ^ "No. 35209". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 July 1941. p. 3885.
  6. ^ "No. 35697". The London Gazette. 8 September 1942. p. 3948.
  7. ^ "No. 35884". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 January 1943. p. 589.
  8. ^ "No. 36000". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 April 1943. p. 1995.
  9. ^ "No. 36394". The London Gazette. 22 February 1944. p. 937.
  10. ^ a b c Heathcote 1999, p. 76.
  11. ^ "No. 38191". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 January 1948. p. 727.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Heathcote 1999, p. 77.
  13. ^ "No. 40174". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 May 1954. p. 2897.
  14. ^ "No. 40364". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 1954. p. 7370.
  15. ^ "No. 40538". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 July 1955. p. 4154.
  16. ^ "No. 41018". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 March 1957. p. 1493.
  17. ^ "No. 42777". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 September 1962. p. 7121.
  18. ^ "No. 43456". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 October 1964. p. 8473.
  19. ^ "No. 44004". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 June 1966. p. 6531.
  20. ^ "No. 44066". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 July 1966. p. 8501.
  21. ^ "No. 44089". The London Gazette (Supplement). 19 August 1966. p. 9259.
  22. ^ "No. 44558". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 March 1968. p. 3863.
  23. ^ "No. 44845". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 May 1969. p. 4991.
  24. ^ "No. 45117". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 June 1970. p. 6366.
  25. ^ "No. 45337". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 April 1971. p. 3336.
  26. ^ Heathcote 1999, p. 78.
  27. ^ "No. 46046". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 August 1973. p. 9395.
  28. ^ "No. 46109". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 October 1973. p. 12551.
  29. ^ a b c Heathcote 1999, p. 79.
  30. ^ "No. 47280". The London Gazette. 19 July 1977. p. 9367.
  31. ^ Debrett's People of Today 1994
  32. ^ "Obituary: Field Marshal Lord Carver". The Telegraph. London. 11 December 2001. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  33. ^ CARVER

Partial list of publicationsEdit

  • Carver, Michael. Imperial War Museum Book of the War in Italy: A Vital Contribution to Victory in Europe 1943–1945
  • Carver, Michael. & Robertson, Ian G. The National Army Museum Book of the Turkish Front 1914–18: The Campaigns at Gallipoli, in Mesopotamia and in Palestine
  • Carver, Michael. Twentieth-Century Warriors: The Development of the Armed Forces of the Major Military Nations in the Twentieth Century
  • Carver, Michael. War Since 1945
  • Carver, Michael. The Seven Ages of the British Army
  • Carver, Michael. Dilemmas of the Desert War: The Libyan Campaign 1940–1942 (London, B. T. Batsford Ltd, 1986; reprinted Spellmount Limited, Staplehurst, Kent, 2002)
  • Carver, Field Marshal Lord. El Alamein (London, B. T. Batsford Ltd, 1962)
  • Carver, Field Marshal Lord. Britain's Army in the 20th Century
  • Carver, Michael. Tobruk (London, B. T. Batsford Ltd, 1964)

Further readingEdit

  • Heathcote, Tony (1999). The British Field Marshals 1736–1997. Barnsley (UK): Pen & Sword. ISBN 0-85052-696-5.

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by GOC 3rd Division
Succeeded by
Preceded by GOC Far East Land Forces
Succeeded by
Preceded by Commander-in Chief Far East Command
Succeeded by
Preceded by GOC-in-C Southern Command
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief of the General Staff
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief of the Defence Staff
Succeeded by