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Structure of the British Armed Forces in 1989

At the end of the Cold War in 1989 the British Armed Forces structure was as follows:

In 1989 the British Armed Forces had a peacetime strength of 311,600 men and defense expenditures were 4.09% of GDP.[1]


Royal NavyEdit

  • Strength 65,500[2]

British ArmyEdit

Royal Air ForceEdit

Director Special ForcesEdit

Joint EstablishmentsEdit

Joint establishments were tri-service units providing services to all three branches of the British Armed Forces/

Defence Operations ExecutiveEdit

The Defence Operations Executive, led by the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Commitments) and including the Assistant Chiefs of the Naval, General, and Air Staffs, supervised the Joint Operations Centre which in turn passed orders to the forces in Cyprus, Belize, the Falklands, and Hong Kong. These commands consisted of units of all three services and were commanded by one or 2-star rank flag officers.[4] CBF Cyprus was a rotational post between the Army and RAF, at two-star level; CBF Belize was an Army brigadier; CBF Falklands was a rotational post between all three services at two-star level; and CBF Hong Kong was an Army major general.

British Forces BelizeEdit

The Commander British Forces Belize was a British Army Brigadier.

British Forces CyprusEdit

The post of Commander British Forces Cyprus rotated between British Army and Royal Navy 2-star rank flag officers (Major General and Rear admiral).

British Forces Falkland IslandsEdit

The post of Commander British Forces Falkland Islands rotated between British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force 2-star rank flag officers (Major General, Rear admiral and Air vice-marshal).

British Forces Hong KongEdit

A Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force Aerospatiale Dauphin helicopter leaving its hangar during a Search and Rescue exercise in 1982.

The Commander British Forces Hong Kong was a British Army Major General.[6][7][8]

The two local auxiliary defence forces were administered by the Hong Kong Government, but when called out would have come under the command of Commander British Forces:


  1. ^ "Army cuts: how have UK armed forces personnel numbers changed over time?". The Guardian. September 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b The Statesman's Year-Book 1989-90. London: Macmillan Press. 1989. p. 1314. ISBN 978-0-333-39153-2. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "World's Air Forces 1989". Flight International: 61–62. 29 November 1989. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  4. ^ Antony Beevor, Inside the British Army, Corgi Books, 1990, 186-7.
  5. ^ Ivelaw Lloyd, Griffith (1993). The Quest for Security in the Caribbean. M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 9781317454960. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  6. ^ Paxton, J (1989). The Statesman's Year-Book 1989-90. Palgrave Macmillan UK. p. 1728. ISBN 978-0-230-27118-0. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  7. ^ Bernard H. K. Luk, T. L. Tsim and (1989). The Other Hong Kong Report. Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press. ISBN 978-962-201-430-5. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Gurkha Infantry". British Army units from 1945 on. Retrieved 21 November 2017.