Supersession of Commandant General Royal Marines

Major General Martin Smith MBE handed over the role of Commandant General Royal Marines (CGRM) to Major General Robert A Magowan CBE, during a formal ceremony held at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, Devon.

The Supersession Ceremony was attended by representatives from the UK, US and Dutch military, including: Commandant of the United States Marines Corps, Gen Robert Neller; Commandant General of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps, Brig Gen Van Sprang, the Royal Navy’s Second Sea Lord, VAdm Jonathan Woodcock OBE; and the Fleet Commander VAdm Ben Key CBE.

As he handed over, after 2 years in the role, Maj Gen Smith reflected on his time as CGRM:

“It has been an enormous privilege to lead the Royal Marines; to play my small part in conditioning the environment which sets our Marines up for success.  As 352 years of history reminds us, this is very much a work in progress.”

Maj Gen Magowan CBE joined the Royal Marines in 1989 and, after his initial years as a Troop Commander, commanded R Company in Comacchio Group (43 Commando RM).  This was followed by a posting to America and deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is an enticing era of change, both for the Royal Marines and the Naval Service of which we are a part

Major General Robert A Magowan CBE, Commandant General Royal Marines

After appointments in the Cabinet Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, he assumed command of 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group RM, immediately returning to Afghanistan. 

Following that, a year as Chief of Staff to the National Contingent Commander in Kabul and a spell in Naval Personnel Strategy, before taking command of the Joint Forces Intelligence Group in 2015.

Maj Gen Magowan is the 65th Commandant General of the Royal Marines. During his speech he outlined his initial thoughts as he took over:

“This is an enticing era of change, both for the Royal Marines and the Naval Service of which we are a part. The amphibious opportunity (QE Class) that we have mentioned; cementing our appeal through the cadets’ associations; further convergence of the Royal Marines Association and the Royal Marines Charity for the direct benefit of the whole Corps family; and much more. 

"There are challenges to overcome, but that is normal and we must be comfortable with it. These are challenges that we will face as a Naval Service and also in close concert with our allies, not least the US and Royal Netherlands Marine Corps’, and I feel honoured that their Commandants are present here today – it sends a powerful message of mutual strength and support.”

Maj Gen Magowan has the additional responsibilities of Commander United Kingdom Amphibious Forces, and Operation Commander of the European Union Naval Force Somalia.  He lives in Surrey with his wife and 2 young daughters.