Lieutenant-General Sir John Lorimer KCB DSO MBE Late PARA

  • Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) medal
  • Distinguished Service Order medal
  • MBE medal
  • Accumulated Service Medal
  • Operational Service Medal Afghanistan
  • Iraq Medal (2003 - 2009)
  • General Service Medal Clasp (1962 onwards) medal
  • Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal 2002
  • Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012
  • US Legion of Merit medal

Lieutenant General Sir John Lorimer KCB DSO MBE Late PARA

John Lorimer was born in 1962 and educated at Marlborough College, Wiltshire. He joined the British Army in 1981 as a private soldier and completed an 'O' Type engagement at Depot PARA, Browning Barracks, Aldershot. After passing the Regular Commissions Board, he attended the Standard Military Course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, commissioning into The Parachute Regiment in December 1982. Early Regimental service included command of a platoon in C Coy, 1 PARA at Bulford, when the Battalion was the UK's Infantry contribution to the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force (Land). He deployed to Norway, Denmark and Northern Ireland (South Armagh – on attachment to 2 PARA) during this period.

From 1985-8, he studied at Pembroke College, Cambridge University, reading Arabic and Islamic Studies, as an in-Service degree officer. He then returned to 1 PARA and was employed as Regimental Signals Officer and Operations Officer, including during the Battalion’s tour of South Armagh in 1988. He was then posted to 3 PARA as Adjutant in 1990; this busy period included a two month overseas exercise in Kenya, multiple 5 Airborne Brigade airborne exercises and an emergency tour to Northern Ireland (East Tyrone) in 1992.

In 1993 he commanded C (Bruneval) Coy, 2 PARA as an acting major for a year in Aldershot and Northern Ireland (Palace Barracks, Holywood), before serving in Jordan for 6 months and attending the Army Staff College at Camberley in 1994. For his ‘Black Bag’ job, he was then appointed as the Deputy Chief of Staff of HQ 5 Airborne Brigade, which was followed by 2 years as Officer Commanding B Coy, 1 PARA in Aldershot and Northern Ireland (East Tyrone), as well as a two month overseas exercise in Belize. On promotion to lieutenant colonel, he was posted to the MOD as the Military Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Commitments) for 2 years, prior to commanding 3 PARA. Whilst in command, the Battalion deployed twice to Northern Ireland. In 2003, 3 PARA deployed on Op TELIC 1 in Kuwait and Iraq as one of 16 Air Assault Brigade’s battlegroups.

On promotion to colonel, John Lorimer served as Chief of Staff of the Senior British Military Advisor at HQ US CENTRAL COMMAND in Tampa and Qatar, prior to attending the Higher Command and Staff Course at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, Shrivenham in early 2004. He was then posted to the UK's Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHO) as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff J3A/Land in April 2004 for 7 months, prior to moving to the J5 (Plans) Division, where he was responsible for operational planning for Afghanistan, Iraq, the broader Middle East and Global Counter Terrorism. In June 2005 he was selected for promotion to brigadier and command of 12 Mechanised Brigade, assuming command of the Brigade in Basra in South East Iraq on Op TELIC 6. In 2007 he commanded 12 Mechanised Brigade in Helmand Province, Southern Afghanistan on Op HERRICK 6. He was the only brigadier to command his brigade in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

After attending the Royal College of Defence Studies in 2008, for four months John Lorimer was the UK Team Leader on the US CENTCOM Assessment Team, working In the Middle East and Washington DC. After a second spell at PJHQ (Northwood) as Assistant Chief of Staff J3 (Current Operations), he was promoted to major general in November 2010 and served as the Chief of Defence Staff's Strategic Communication Officer and the MOD's operational media spokesman for 7 months. He then assumed command of 3 (UK) Division in June 2011 in Bulford, training the UK brigades for operations in Afghanistan. He then assumed the appointment of Deputy Commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and UK National Contingent Commander in July 2013 and completed a year-long tour in Kabul, Afghanistan. In October 2014, he became Chief of Joint Operations and the UK’s Joint Commander, responsible for the UK’s joint operations, including most Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force global deployments. For his final appointment in the Armed Forces, John Lorimer was the UK’s Defence Senior Adviser Middle East and North Africa (DSAME) from January 2018 to February 2021. He retired from the Army in August 2021 (after 39 years and 8 months) and a month later he was sworn in as the 31st Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man.

John Lorimer is the son of Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) Gordon Lorimer, who commanded 3 PARA from 1971-3. He is married to Philippa, daughter of Colonel (Retd) Graham Owens CBE (ex-9 Para Sqn RE). They have 3 sons, the oldest of whom was commissioned into The Parachute Regiment in 2019. John Lorimer’s hobbies are shooting, deer stalking, skiing, walking, rugby, history and reading. During his military service, he was variously Vice President and then President of the Army Rugby Union, Chairman/President/Patron of the Army Winter Sports Association, President of the Army Parachuting Association and Chairman/President of the Bramley Shoot. He was also Honorary Colonel of Cambridge University Officers’ Training Corps for 4 years until 2021. From a Regimental perspective, he was Colonel Commandant of The Parachute Regiment from September 2014 to July 2021, handing over this appointment on the day all three regular battalions were presented their new Colours by the Colonel in Chief, HRH The Prince of Wales. Finally, he was a Trustee of the Airborne Forces Security Fund for 8 years and Chairman of the Parachute Regiment Charity for 6 years. Since January 2020, he has been Chairman of The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces Charity.

Medals and awards/orders:

Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (KCB) (2016)

Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) (2008)

Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) (1997)

Officer of the Legion of Merit (US) (2016)

Commander of the Most Venerable Order of St John (CStJ) (2021)

General Service Medal 1962 (with Northern Ireland clasp) (1985)

Iraq Campaign Medal – Operation TELIC (2005)

Afghanistan Operational Service Medal (OSM) – Operation HERRICK (2007)

Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (QGJM) (2002)

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (QDJM) (2012)

Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal (QPJM) (2022)

Accumulated Campaign Service Medal (ACSM) (2009)

Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (LS&GC) (with 2 clasps) (1997)


Compiled with the kind assistance of Lt Gen Sir John Lorimer March 2023.

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Service History


John  Lorimer


  • The Colonel Commandant, Laurie Wheeden and the Regimental Secretary at Ranville Cemetery, 6 June 2015.

    The Colonel Commandant, Laurie Wheeden and the Regimental Secretary at Ranville Cemetery, 6 June 2015.

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  • Establishment of Support Our Paras Charity letter from the Colonel Commandant, 14 November 2014.

    Establishment of Support Our Paras Charity letter from the Colonel Commandant, 14 November 2014.

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