Brigadier or Brigadier-General?

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Brigadier or Brigadier-General?

Jonathon
Jonathon

November 4th, 2007, 1:28 pm #1

Hi, my name is Jonathon Jackson and I am a reporter at the Owen Sound Sun Times newspaper in Ontario.

I am writing a Remembrance Day article on a deceased army officer from the Owen Sound area who reached the rank of brigadier during the Second World War but who has since been referred to as a brigadier-general. I am aware that the basic role of a brigadier, who was a field officer in command of a brigade, differs from that of a brigadier-general, but I do not know if it is proper to refer to a former brigadier as a brigadier-general.

The person in question is the late Tom Rutherford, after whom Rutherford House at LFCATC Meaford was named. He was promoted to brigadier in 1941 and his commands included armoured and infantry brigades, Canada's reinforcement units in England and Canadian forces in the Netherlands prior to final departure. He was also the senior advisor of the Canadian Armoured Corps. Many of these postings would suggest that he functioned more as a general officer than as a field officer.

As well, he returned to uniform between 1961 and 1972 as the honourary colonel of the Grey and Simcoe Foresters, a militia regiment which he had commanded on two previous occasions. As he was still serving in this role in 1968 at the time of unification and the termination of the rank of brigadier in favour of the creation of the rank of brigadier-general, is it possible that he would have retroactively been appointed to the higher rank? Or would he have maintained the previous rank even though it was now obsolete?

Tom Rutherford's gravestone refers to him as a brigadier-general, as does the Owen Sound branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. I want to be correct in my references to his rank, so any help in this matter would be appreciated. Thank you!
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Doug Townend
Doug Townend

November 4th, 2007, 4:00 pm #2

The two terms are the same. During WW2, Brigadiers were not considered to be General officers and this continued into peacetime. My memory is a bit vague but I think for a short period of time in the late 1950s the Brigadier rank was raised to General Officer but was later reverted because of pressure from the Treasury Board of Canada and the Public Service.

With the unification of the Canadian Armed Forces, Brigadiers were included in the category of General officers and became known as Brigadier-General but their role and level of command remained as for Brigadiers.

DT.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 5th, 2007, 12:30 am #3

I disagree; the terms are not the same. As DT points out, their status as "generals" was reinstated after Unification.

In the 1920s the rank of brigadier general was deleted altogether in favour of the rank of Colonel-Commandant; it was readopted as "Brigadier" and then after unification, I think, it became Brigadier General again.

http://www.canadiansoldiers.com/mediawi ... =Brigadier

More info above.

Reserve brigades came to be commanded by colonels, incidentally, and have been for decades now, though they weren't called "brigades" until the late 1990s.
Michael Dorosh
Webmaster
canadiansoldiers.com
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Jonathon
Jonathon

November 5th, 2007, 12:42 am #4

So would it be correct or at least acceptable for me to refer to my particular brigadier as a brigadier-general?

I found a website - http://www.generals.dk/ - that includes Tom Rutherford and all other Canadian brigadiers in its list of Second World War generals. Fascinating stuff, really.

http://www.generals.dk/general/Rutherfo ... anada.html
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 5th, 2007, 1:28 am #5

I believe that you keep any previously "higher" rank even if appointed Honorary Colonel. Denis Whitaker was Honorary Colonel of the RHLI despite retiring from actual command rank as a Brigadier/Brigadier General. I believe he is listed as "Brigadier General" in the listings of Honorary Colonels as would anyone whose rank exceeded that of colonel during their actual military service.

Of course, one is a rank and one is an appointment, so there is a distinction to be made between the two, depending on the context of how he is being referred to or addressed. I think either/or is appropriate - either "Honorary Colonel John Doe" or "Brigadier General (ret.)" John Doe would be correct for a retired brigadier general serving as honorary colonel.

As to whether or not it is "Brigadier (ret.)" or "Brigadier General (ret.)", I'm not sure of the protocol. I think - but only think - that it is customary to keep the actual rank used at the time he retired; i.e. pre-Unification or post-Unification. I stand to be corrected on any of this.
Last edited by dorosh on November 5th, 2007, 1:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
Michael Dorosh
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Joined: November 22nd, 2000, 12:29 am

November 5th, 2007, 1:38 am #6

I find that refering to them as 'sir' resolves the title issue
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Terry
Terry

November 11th, 2007, 2:56 am #7

Hi, my name is Jonathon Jackson and I am a reporter at the Owen Sound Sun Times newspaper in Ontario.

I am writing a Remembrance Day article on a deceased army officer from the Owen Sound area who reached the rank of brigadier during the Second World War but who has since been referred to as a brigadier-general. I am aware that the basic role of a brigadier, who was a field officer in command of a brigade, differs from that of a brigadier-general, but I do not know if it is proper to refer to a former brigadier as a brigadier-general.

The person in question is the late Tom Rutherford, after whom Rutherford House at LFCATC Meaford was named. He was promoted to brigadier in 1941 and his commands included armoured and infantry brigades, Canada's reinforcement units in England and Canadian forces in the Netherlands prior to final departure. He was also the senior advisor of the Canadian Armoured Corps. Many of these postings would suggest that he functioned more as a general officer than as a field officer.

As well, he returned to uniform between 1961 and 1972 as the honourary colonel of the Grey and Simcoe Foresters, a militia regiment which he had commanded on two previous occasions. As he was still serving in this role in 1968 at the time of unification and the termination of the rank of brigadier in favour of the creation of the rank of brigadier-general, is it possible that he would have retroactively been appointed to the higher rank? Or would he have maintained the previous rank even though it was now obsolete?

Tom Rutherford's gravestone refers to him as a brigadier-general, as does the Owen Sound branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. I want to be correct in my references to his rank, so any help in this matter would be appreciated. Thank you!
If you are looking for information on this person, maybe you should get a hold of Rob Low in Singhampton. He worked closely with alot of the vets in Owen Sound, and he also was a part of the Grey and Simcoe Forresters. He is very Knowledgeable, and will likely be able to help.

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