Michael Rose (British Army officer)

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Sir Michael Rose
File:John M. Shalikashvili Michael Rose DF-ST-96-00658.jpg
Michael Rose (left) with John Shalikashvili in 1994
Born 5 January 1940
British India
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1959 – 1997
Rank General
Commands held Special Air Service
Director Special Forces
2nd Infantry Division
Staff College, Camberley
UK Field Army
Battles/wars Falklands War
Bosnian War
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order
Queen's Gallantry Medal
South Atlantic Medal
Mentioned in Despatches

General Sir Hugh Michael Rose KCB, CBE, DSO, QGM (born 5 January 1940), often known as Mike Rose, is a retired British Army General. As well as Special Air Service Regiment commanding officer, he was Commander UNPROFOR Bosnia in 1994 during the Yugoslav Wars.

Early life

The stepson of British author John Masters, Rose was educated at Cheltenham College, St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, and the Sorbonne.

He enlisted in the Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve as a private soldier and was commissioned into the Gloucestershire Regiment Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve (TAVR) on 17 March 1959,[1] transferring to the Rifle Brigade Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve as a second lieutenant on 1 June 1959.[2] Rose was confirmed in this rank and promoted to lieutenant on 18 December 1960.[3] and attached to the Inns of Court, Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve.[4]

Rose transferred to the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) (General Duties Branch) as Acting pilot officer service number 207004 on a 3 year commission on 2 November 1961,[5] but relinquished the commission on 11 October 1963.[6]

Military career

On graduation from university having gained a Bachelor of Arts degree he joined the "Regular Army" Coldstream Guards as second lieutenant on 22 October 1964.[7] and was promoted lieutenant on the same day.[8]

Rose was promoted Major on 31 December 1972,[9] and after attending the Staff College, Camberley, became the Brigade Major 16th Parachute Brigade from 1973 until 1975 serving in Northern Ireland attached to the Devon and Dorset Regiment and being awarded a Mention in Despatches.[10] He was promoted lieutenant colonel on 30 June 1978.[11] and was Commanding Officer of the regular and reserve SAS Regiments from 1979 to 1982, as part of which he was in control of the operation to free the hostages of the Iranian Embassy Siege in 1980. Rose was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (Military Division) on 7 January 1980.[12] Serving in Northern Ireland in the spring of 1981 Rose earned a Queen's Gallantry Medal which was finally awarded in 1994.[13]

Rose commanded Special Service operations in-theatre during the Falkland Conflict following which he was promoted to Colonel on 30 June 1982,[14] and awarded a Mention in Despatches.[15] After being promoted Brigadier on 31 December 1983,[16] he served as the commander of the 39th Infantry Brigade from 1983 to 1985.[17]

File:CBE Mily.jpg
CBE Military.

He was awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (Military Division) in April 1986.[18] In 1987, Rose was the Commandant of the School of Infantry until 1988,[17] when he became the first Director Special Forces until 1989.[17] He attended the Royal College of Defence Studies.[19]

Rose was General Officer Commanding North East District and Commander 2nd Infantry Division based in York from 30 October 1989 to 30 September 1991,[20][21][17] During this period he was promoted major-general.[22] Between 1991 and 8 April 1993 served as Commandant of the Staff College, Camberley.[23][17] following which he was promoted lieutenant general on 17 May 1993,[24] and Knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.[25] From 26 April 1993 to 1994, Rose served as Commander UK Field Army and Inspector-General of the Territorial Army.[26][17]

From 24 Jan 1994 to 23 January 1995 he was Commander, United Nations Protection Force, Bosnia-Herzegovina.[27][28] His service in this period was recognized on 5 May 1995 when he became a member of the Distinguished Service Order.[29] During this period he also received a belated award of the Queen's Gallantry Medal which he had earned in Northern Ireland in the spring of 1981.[30]

On 14 March 1995 Rose resumed his appointment as Commander UK Field Army.[31] and on 10 May 1995 became "Honorary Colonel" of the Oxford University Officer Training Corps.[32] Rose became Adjutant-General on 7 July 1995,[33] and Aide-de-Camp General to The Queen on 9 September 1995,[34] in which role he served until 31 August 1997.[35]

Rose was appointed Colonel of the Regiment of the Coldstream Guards on 23 August 1999.[36] On 10 March 2000 when his tenure as "Honorary Colonel" of the Oxford University Officer Training Corps and he was succeeded by General Sir Roger Wheeler.[37]

He had extensive experience worldwide, particularly in the Middle East, as a special forces officer. Rose served in Germany, Aden, Malaysia, the Gulf States, Dhofar, and in Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands, for both of which he was Mentioned in Despatches.

He was called as a witness by Serbia and Montenegro in a case held at the International Court of Justice.[38]

Other occupations

Rose is a director of Control Risks Group, a private security and consulting company.

He was appointed Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Somerset on 5 August 2003 as General Sir Michael Rose, KCB, CBE, DSO, QGM.[39]

Opposition to Iraq war

In 2006 Rose came once again to public attention when he criticised British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and called for his impeachment for leading the country to war in Iraq under false pretences. This highlighted Rose's unease about the legality and practicality, of the 2003 American-led invasion of Iraq.[40][41]

In 2007, he called for the admission of defeat and withdrawal of Coalition forces from Iraq describing the war as "hopeless" and comparing the situation to that faced by the British during the American Revolutionary War.[42]


  1. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 41715. p. 3386. 22 May 1959.
  2. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 41769. p. 4618. 17 July 1959.
  3. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 42280. p. 1246. 14 February 1961.
  4. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 42362. p. 3897. 23 May 1961.
  5. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 42622. p. 2140. 13 March 1962.
  6. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 43198. p. 10645. 27 December 1963.
  7. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 43489. p. 9806. 13 November 1964.
  8. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 43634. p. 4119. 23 April 1965.
  9. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 45867. p. 92. 1 January 1973.
  10. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 47405. p. 15576. 12 December 1977.
  11. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 47588. p. 8325. 11 July 1978.
  12. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 48061. p. 311. 7 January 1980.
  13. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53855. p. 16325. 21 November 1994.
  14. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49055. p. 9458. 19 July 1982.
  15. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49134. p. 12853. 8 October 1982.
  16. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49619. p. 685. 16 January 1984.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 Army Commands
  18. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 50487. p. 5189. 14 April 1986.
  19. SAS chief criticised for joining action quits
  20. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 51919. p. 12507. 30 October 1989.
  21. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 52691. p. 16034. 21 October 1991.
  22. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 52060. p. 2643. 26 February 1990.
  23. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53271. p. 6483. 8 April 1993.
  24. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53317. p. 9443. 28 May 1993.
  25. The London Gazette: no. 53527. p. 2. 30 December 1993.
  26. The London Gazette: no. 53299. p. 9443. 10 May 1993.
  27. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53580. p. 1917. 7 February 1994.
  28. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53933. p. 963. 23 January 1995.
  29. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 54028. p. 6612. 5 May 1995.
  30. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53855. p. 16325. 21 November 1994.
  31. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53980. p. 3946. 13 March 1995.
  32. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53986. p. 4335. 20 March 1995.
  33. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 54098. p. 9527. 11 July 1995.
  34. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 54153. p. 12372. 11 September 1995.
  35. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 54881. p. 9955. 1 September 1997.
  36. The London Gazette: no. 55609. p. 9833. 14 September 1999.
  37. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 55789. p. 2860. 14 March 2000.
  38. Verbatim record of public sitting held on 24 March 2006
  39. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57019. p. 1. 5 August 2003.
  40. Enough of his excuses: Blair must be impeached over Iraq The Guardian, 10 January 2006
  41. "Impeach Blair over Iraq". BBC News. 9 January 2006. Retrieved 18 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  42. Insurgents 'right to take on US' BBC news, 3 May 2007

Further reading

  • Brendan Simms (2001), Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia, Allen Lane The Penguin Press

Military offices
Preceded by
Michael Wilkes
Director Special Forces
Succeeded by
Jeremy Phipps
Preceded by
Murray Naylor
General Officer Commanding the 2nd Infantry Division
Succeeded by
Michael Walker
Preceded by
William Rous
Commandant of the Staff College, Camberley
Succeeded by
Christopher Wallace
Preceded by
Sir Michael Wilkes
Commander UK Field Army
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Swinburn
Preceded by
Sir Michael Wilkes
Adjutant General
Succeeded by
Sir Alexander Harley
Preceded by
Hon. Sir William Rous
Colonel of the Coldstream Guards
Succeeded by
Sir James Bucknall