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 Jubailee Medal 2002
  • Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012
  • US Legion of Merit medal

John Lorimer was born in 1962 and educated at Marlborough College. He joined the Army in 1981 and completed an 'O' Type engagement at Depot PARA, Browning Barracks, Aldershot. He attended the Standard Military Course at Sandhurst, commissioning into The Parachute Regiment in December 1982.

Early Regimental service included command of a platoon in 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) 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. In 1990 he was posted to 3 PARA as Adjutant, which included an overseas exercise in Kenya and an emergency tour in Northern Ireland (East Tyrone).

In 1993 he commanded C (Bruneval) Coy, 2 PARA for a year in Aldershot and Northern Ireland (Palace Barracks, Holywood), before attending the Army Staff College at Camberley in 1994. He was then posted as Deputy Chief of Staff 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 exercise in Belize.

On promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, John Lorimer was posted to the MOD as 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 with 16 Air Assault Brigade.

On promotion to Colonel, he 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 and Global Counter Terrorism.

He was selected for promotion to Brigadier and command of 12 Mechanised Bde in June 2005, taking over the Brigade in Basra in South East Iraq on Op TELIC 6. In 2007 he commanded 12 Mech Bde in Helmand Province, Southern Afghanistan on Op HERRICK 6.

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 spell at Northwood he was then 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 assumed command of 3 (UK) Division in June 2011, training the UK brigades for operations in Afghanistan. He then assumed the appointment of Deputy Commander ISAF and UK National Contingent Commander in July 2013 and completed a year-long tour in Kabul. In October 2014 he became Chief of Joint Operations.

John Lorimer is the son of Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Gordon Lorimer who commanded 3 PARA from 1971-3. He is married to Philippa, daughter of Colonel (Retired) Graham Owens - ex-9 Para Sqn RE, and they have 3 sons. 

His hobbies are shooting, deer stalking and Scottish rugby, the last of which causes him no end of frustration. Finally, John Lorimer is President of the Army Rugby Union, President of the Army Winter Sports Association, President of the Army Parachuting Association and Chairman of the Bramley Shoot. He is also Colonel Commandant of The Parachute Regiment.

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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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