) is a three-starair-officer
rank which originated in and is used by the Royal Air Force
The rank is also used by the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence, including the Commonwealth
, and it is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure.
Officers in the rank of air marshal typically hold very senior appointments such as commander-in-chief
of an air force or a large air force formation. Officers in the ranks of air chief marshal and air vice-marshal are also referred to generically as air marshals.
Occasionally, air force officers of marshal rank
are considered to be air marshals.
Royal Air Force use and history
Prior to the adoption of RAF-specific rank titles in 1919, it was suggested that the RAF might use the Royal Navy's officer ranks, with the word "air" inserted before the naval rank title. For example, the rank that later became air marshal would have been air vice-admiral. The Admiralty objected to any use of their rank titles, including this modified form, and so an alternative proposal was put forward: air-officer
ranks would be based on the term "ardian", which was derived from a combination of the Gaelic
words for "chief" (ard
) and "bird" (eun
), with the term "second ardian" or "wing ardian" being used specifically for the rank equivalent to a vice-admiral and lieutenant-general. However, air marshal was preferred and has been used since its adoption on 1 August 1919. Sir Hugh Trenchard
, the incumbent Chief of the Air Staff
when the rank was introduced, became the first air marshal on 11 August 1919.
RAF insignia, command flag and star plate
The rank insignia consists of two narrow light blue bands (each on a slightly wider black band) over a light blue band on a broad black band. This is worn on the lower sleeves of the dress uniform or on shoulders of the flying suit or working uniform.
The command flag for an air marshal is defined by the single broad red band running in the centre of the flag.
The vehicle star plate for an air marshal depicts three white stars (air marshal is equivalent to a three-star rank) on an air force blue background.
An RAF air marshal's mess sleeve insignia
An RAF air marshal's shoulder board
An RAF air marshal's sleeve on No. 1 Service Dress Uniform
An RAF air marshal's star plate.
Other air forces
The rank of air marshal is also used in a number of the air forces in the Commonwealth
, including the Bangladesh Air Force
, Indian Air Force
,Pakistan Air Force
, Royal Australian Air Force
and Royal New Zealand Air Force
. It is also used in the Nigerian Air Force
, Ghana Air Force
, Air Force of Zimbabwe
(including its predecessor, the Rhodesian Air Force
) and the Royal Thai Air Force
. In the Indonesian Air Force
, the equivalent rank is marsekal madya
(literally "vice marshal") which is often translated as air marshal in English; similarly, the rank of فريق (fariq
) in the Egyptian Air Force
is commonly translated as "air marshal", although the Arabic-language names of officer ranks are the same across all of Egypt's military and paramilitary forces.
The Brazilian Air Force
does not use air marshal ranks as an equivalent to general ranks, rather it uses a number of ranks based on the word brigadier
. However, its highest rank is marechal-do-ar
, the equivalent to a Brazilian Army marshal
can be translated as air marshal
or marshal of the air
. Similarly, the Royal Malaysian Air Force
's five-star rank of marshal udara
translates as air marshal
Hellenic Air Force
A Hellenic Air Force air marshal's rank insignia
Indian Air Force
An IAF Air Marshal's rank insignia
Namibian Air Force
A Namibian Air Force air marshal rank insignia
The Namibian Air Force adopted the RAF rank system in 2010 previously having been using Army ranks and insignia. However the rank of Air Marshal was not used until 01 April 2020 when Martin Pinehas
was promoted to that rank and appointed as Chief of the Namibian Defence Force
Royal Australian Air Force
Royal New Zealand Air Force
air marshal's rank insignia,
In New Zealand, the head of the air force holds the lower rank of air vice-marshal. However, when an air force officer holds the country's senior military appointment, Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force
, he is granted the rank of air marshal. The current Chief of Defence Force is an RNZAF officer, Air Marshal Kevin Short
Other officers to hold Air Marshal rank in New Zealand are:
Royal Canadian Air Force
- Billy Bishop (1938 to 1944), rank retained on retirement
- George Croil (c. 1940 to 1944), rank retained on retirement
- Lloyd Samuel Breadner (1941 to 1945), subsequently promoted to air chief marshal
- Gus Edwards (1942 to 1944), rank retained on retirement
- Albert Cuffe (1942 to 1944), rank retained on retirement
- Robert Leckie (1944 to 1947), rank retained on retirement
- George Owen Johnson (to 1947), rank retained on retirement
- Wilfred Curtis (c. 1947 to 1953), rank retained on retirement
- Roy Slemon (c. 1953 to 1964), rank retained on retirement
- Frank Robert Miller (1955 to 1961), subsequently promoted to air chief marshal
- Hugh Campbell (1957 to 1962), rank retained on retirement
- Clare Annis (1962 to 1966), rank retained on retirement
- Clarence Dunlap (1962 to 1968), rank retained on retirement
- William Ross MacBrien (1958 to 1968), rank retained on retirement
- Edwin Reyno (1966 to 1968), later regraded to lieutenant-general
Pakistan Air Force
- ^ "Glossary". Air of Authority. Retrieved 21 March 2008.
- ^ "Ranks and Badges of the Royal Air Force". Royal Air Force. 2007. Archived from the original on 13 November 2007.
- ^ "Forms of Address: Air Chief Marshal, Air Marshal and Air Vice-Marshal". Debrett's. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
- ^ "Marshal of the RAF The Viscount Trenchard of Wolfeton". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. 24 July 2018. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
- ^ Probert, Henry (1991). "The Viscount Trenchard". High Commanders of the Royal Air Force. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 9780117726352.
- ^ "BAF RANKS". Bangladesh Air Force Website. BAF Communication Unit. 2020. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
- ^ "Officer ranks in Indian Army, Air Force and Navy". India Today. New Delhi. 25 February 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
- ^ "RANKS AND BADGES IN THE AFZ". Air Force of Zimbabwe Website. Air Force of Zimbabwe. 2020. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
- ^ https://neweralive.na/posts/geingob-appoints-pinehas-as-cdf
- ^ Gillison, Douglas Napier (1962). "Chapter 1: Formation of the Royal Australian Air Force"(digitised book). Royal Australian Air Force, 1939–1942 (1st ed.). Australian War Memorial. pp. 5–6.
- ^ Gillison, Douglas Napier (1962). "Chapter 5: The New Command" (digitised book). Royal Australian Air Force, 1939–1942 (1st ed.). Australian War Memorial. pp. 92–93.
- ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 February 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
Look up Air Marshal
in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Last edited on 18 March 2021, at 12:06
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