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Generals

Founder

General William Booth (b. England,

1829 – 1912)

William Booth

General William Booth was The Salvation Army’s founder and first General. Beginning as a small movement in London’s East End, The Salvation Army grew into an international Christian movement. As General, William established Salvation Army services in 58 countries. 

His book, In Darkest England and the Way Out (1890), set the standard for The Salvation Army’s social endeavours during his time and for the years to come.

Read more about William and Catherine Booth

 

 

Generals in office: 1912 – 1946

1912 – 1929

General Bramwell Booth, CH (b. England, 1856 - 1929)

Bramwell Booth

General Bramwell Booth was William and Catherine’s eldest son. A letter in a sealed envelope, written by William and only opened after his death, named Bramwell as his successor. He served as Chief of the Staff for 32 years and was largely responsible for The Salvation Army’s structural development.

As General, Bramwell led The Salvation Army through World War One, implemented the Order of the Founder honorary medal and travelled internationally to further The Salvation Army’s mission in other countries.

Despite suffering from poor health in his 70s, Bramwell refused to retire. As a result, The Salvation Army High Council, founded by William to protect the succession of leadership, decided he was “unfit on the ground of ill health” and elected Edward Higgins as General. Bramwell lost a court case against the High Council contesting this decision.

He was appointed a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour by King George V in April 1929.

1929 – 1934

General Edward Higgins (b. England, 1864 – 1947)

Edward HigginsBorn in 1882, Higgins served variously in corps (parish) work, divisional and territorial appointments in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. He was Chief of the Staff from 1919, until elected General by the first-ever High Council in 1929.

One of Higgins' most crucial tasks was regaining the confidence of the American public as the second-in-command, or Chief Secretary, of The Salvation Army in the USA, following the departure of former leader Ballington Booth.

Later, as General, Higgins promoted, through a Parliamentary Committee, a new legal footing, The Salvation Army Act 1931, which provided that (1) Generals be elected by a High Council and (2) that such Salvation Army assets as had been held in the name of a General be vested in a Salvation Army Trustee company. These changes reduced the absolute powers the position of General had previously been both entrusted and burdened with.

Higgins served as General until his retirement in 1934 and died in 1947, aged 83.

1934 – 1939

General Evangeline Booth (b. England, 1865 – 1950)

Evangeline Booth

General Evangeline Booth was the first woman to hold the post of General, and the fourth daughter of William and Catherine Booth.

Prior to becoming General, she held preaching, administrative and teaching positions in the UK, Canada and the USA. As General, she extended the Order of the Silver Star, which recognises mothers whose children made the sacrifice of serving as Salvation Army officers, from the USA to The Salvation Army worldwide. She also expanded Salvation Army activities to Singapore, Algeria, Egypt, French Equatorial Africa, the Philippines, Mexico and Penang (Malaysia).

In 1930, Evangeline was awarded the Order of the Founder in recognition of her distinguished service.

1939 – 1946

General George Carpenter (b. Australia, 1872 – 1948)

George Carpenter

General George Carpenter served in a variety of roles across property, training, editorial and administration in Australia, the Americas and the UK. He was also literary secretary under then-General Bramwell Booth from 19111927.

George was re-appointed to Australia for seven years before becoming the territorial commander of South America East in 1933 and the territorial commander of Canada in 1937. His humility and faithful service during that appointment stand out as hallmarks of his character and leadership.

George had the significant responsibility of leading The Salvation Army as Salvationists entered World War Two, both as combatants and non-combatants.

 

Generals in office: 1946–1981

1946 – 1954

General Albert Orsborn (b. England, 1886 – 1967)

General Albert Orsborn served in pastoral, training and administrative positions in divisions and corps in New Zealand and throughout the UK. He was territorial commander of Scotland and Ireland before becoming British commissioner.

As General, Albert’s priorities were to continue the evangelical emphasis of Salvationists, renew The Salvation Army’s world fellowship after the war and to consider the best way to broaden the base of the General’s authority. He also introduced the Advisory Council to the General, appointing senior leaders to survey existing activities, plan new developments and assess how to adapt to meet the needs of a changing world. He also started the first Brengle Memorial Institute (a training retreat for Salvation Army officers) and approved The Salvation Army’s participation as a founding member of the World Council of Churches.

 

1954 – 1963

General Wilfred Kitching, CBE (b. England, 1893 – 1977)

Wilfred Kitching

General Wilfred Kitching was born to a Quaker family in London. He was commissioned a Salvation Army officer in 1914 and held appointments in the UK, Australia and Sweden.

He was territorial commander of Sweden from 1948 until being appointed British commissioner in 1951. As General, Wilfred visited and ministered in every territory and command in which The Salvation Army was active at the time, except Burma (Myanmar). He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws in 1964.

1963 – 1969

General Frederick Coutts, CBE (b. Scotland, 1899 – 1986)

Frederick Coutts

General Frederick Coutts was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer in 1920 and served in pastoral, administrative, training and literary positions in England and Australia, including territorial commander for the Australia Eastern Territory.  

Under his leadership, The Salvation Army’s first pop group, The Joystrings, appeared on television, in nightclubs and cabarets, making Salvationists’ use of music relevant to a new generation.

Frederick was a prolific author, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in 1966 and an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity after his term in 1981. 

Coutts was awarded an Order of Cultural Merit, Korea in 1967.

1969 – 1974

General Erik Wickberg (b. Switzerland, 1904 – 1996)

Erik Wickberg

General Erik Wickberg was the first European to serve as General. His parents were officers so, as a child, he frequently moved with their changing appointments. He was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer in 1925 and served in pastoral, training and administrative duties throughout the UK and Europe. He was territorial commander of Germany before becoming Chief of the Staff. 

As General, Erik empowered local leadership by placing locals in charge of The Salvation Army’s work in their own countries, and strengthened The Salvation Army’s multiracial and multinational character. Under his leadership, The Salvation Army began work in Bangladesh, Spain, Portugal and Venezuela. 

Erik was honoured with awards and offices from many countries, including the King’s Gold Medal and Commander of the Order of Vasa from Sweden, the Grand Cross of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany, admitted to the Order of Moo Koong Wha from Korea and received an honorary Doctorate of Laws.

 

1974 – 1977

General Clarence Wiseman, OC (b. Newfoundland, 1907 – 1985)

Clarence Wiseman

General Clarence Wiseman was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer in 1927. He served in pastoral, editorial, military chaplaincy, missionary, training and administrative positions in Canada, the UK and Africa. 

In 1967, Clarence became the first Canadian to be appointed territorial commander for the Canada and Bermuda Territory.

He was passionate about The Salvation Army’s work in many developing nations where people faced disease, famine and poverty. It led to advanced training for potential leaders from Asia and Africa. Under his leadership, The Salvation Army began work in Guatemala.

1977 – 1981

General Arnold Brown, OC (b. England, 1913 – 2002)

Arnold Brown

General Arnold Brown and his family moved to Canada when he was a child. He was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer in 1935.

He served in pastoral, editorial, public relations, youth work and administrative positions in both Canada and the UK. His achievements include pioneering religious radio and television broadcasting for The Salvation Army, with radio and television series broadcast in Canada, the USA and Australia.

Under his leadership The Salvation Army Act 1980 (UK) was approved by the British Parliament, providing an updated constitutional framework for The Salvation Army. 

In 1978, Arnold was made a Freeman of the City of London. He was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and an honorary Doctorate of Divinity.

 

Generals in office: 1981–2002

1981 – 1986

General Jarl Wahlstrom (b. Finland, 1918 – 1999)

Jarl Wahlstrom

General Jarl Wahlstrom was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer in 1938. He was conscripted into military service for four years during World War Two, serving his final two years in the military as battalion chaplain for Finnish forces.

Jarl’s appointments include pastoral, youth work, military chaplaincy, training and administrative positions in Canada, Europe and the UK, until his appointment as territorial commander of Finland and then Sweden.

As General, his activities included a visit to communist East Germany (from Berlin) and a six-day Holy Land Congress involving over 1500 delegates from 23 countries. 

In 1983, Jarl was awarded the Grand Order of Mugunghwa, the highest order awarded by the government of South Korea. 

Known as the “Caring General”, Jarl was awarded an honorary degree in Humane Letters, a Paul Harris Fellowship by Rotary International and was made a commander of the Order of the White Rose in Finland.

1986 – 1993

General Eva Burrows, AC (b. Australia 1929 – 2015)

Eva Burrows

General Eva Burrows was the second woman and, at 56, the youngest person to be elected to the office of General. 

She was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer in London in 1950 and served in various pastoral, missionary, training and administrative positions in Australia, the UK, Africa and Sri Lanka.

Eva’s achievements include returning The Salvation Army to communist countries that had previously banned its ministry, re-structuring and separating International Headquarters from the United Kingdom Territory, and her strong stance against apartheid in South Africa. In 1991, the High Council elected to extend her term a further two years.

Eva was awarded the Order of the Founder posthumously in recognition of her distinguished service.

 

1993 – 1994

General Bramwell Tillsley (b. Canada, 1931)

Bramwell Tillsley

General Bramwell Tillsley was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer in 1956. He served in pastoral, youth work, training and administrative positions in Canada, the USA and the UK. He was territorial commander of the Australia Southern Territory before being appointed Chief of the Staff in 1991.

He has a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Western Ontario.

Bramwell became General in 1993, following triple bypass surgery the year prior. Ten months after his appointment he relinquished the office after experiencing ill health due to a previously undetected congenital heart weakness.

 

1994 – 1999

General Paul Rader (b. USA, 1934)

Paul Rader

General Paul Rader was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer in 1961. He served in pastoral, missionary, training and administrative positions in the USA and Korea.

He has a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Divinity, a Master of Theology and a Doctorate in Missiology from Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission. 

Paul’s tenure was marked with major advances in equalising women’s positions in The Salvation Army. Under his leadership, married women officers were enabled to hold a rank in their own right and, therefore, eligible to participate in the High Council.

Paul oversaw the launch of The Salvation Army’s first official website in 1995, and an international youth forum in Cape Town, South Africa, which was attended by more than 500 delegates.

 

1999 – 2002

General John Gowans (b. Scotland, 1934 – 2012)

John Gowans

General John Gowans was the son of Salvation Army officers. At 18, he undertook compulsory military service in the Royal Army Educational Corps. In 1954, he entered the International Training College where he met his wife Gisèle (née Bonhota).

In partnership with General John Larsson, John co-wrote many popular musicals, including over 200 songs. 

The Gowans were appointed territorial leaders of multiple territories, including the France Territory, the Australia Eastern and Papua New Guinea Territory, and the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland. 

As General, John was a charismatic leader and passionate about The Salvation Army’s mission, setting up the General’s Consultative Council to establish a wide advisory circle for himself and future Generals.

 

Generals in office: 2002–2018

2002 – 2006

General John Larsson (b. Sweden, 1938)

John Larsson

General John Larsson was the son of officers. He was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer in 1957 and served in various appointments around the world.

John served as territorial commander in the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand and Fiji Territory, and Sweden and Latvia Territory. In 1999, he was appointed Chief of the Staff at International Headquarters.

As General, John oversaw the largest international response from The Salvation Army following the 2004 Boxing Day South Asian tsunami, mobilising local and international officers. He also oversaw the expansion of The Salvation Army into Poland and Lithuania. 

He was close friends with General John Gowans, co-authoring many musicals and songs with him.

 

2006 – 2011

General Shaw Clifton (b. Britain, 1945)

Shaw Clifton

General Shaw Clifton was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer in 1973. His appointments include teaching and corps officer in Zimbabwe (then-Rhodesia), divisional commander in the USA Eastern Territory, territorial commander of the Pakistan Territory, territorial commander of New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territory, and territorial commander of the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland.

Under his leadership as General, The Salvation Army expanded from 111 to 123 countries. The announcement of his appointment was the first to be broadcast over the internet. 

In 2007, Shaw was made a Freeman of the City of London.

 

2011 – 2013

General Linda Bond (b. Canada, 1946)

Linda Bond

General Linda Bond was the third woman to be elected as General. She was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer in 1969 and served in corps, training, divisional and various positions in the Canada and Bermuda Territory, the UK, the USA and Australia.

She served as territorial commander of the USA Western Territory, secretary for Spiritual Life Development and international external relations at International Headquarters, and territorial commander of the Australia Eastern Territory. She has an honorary degree from Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto. 

In 2013, Bond retired from the office of the General mid-term.

2013 – 2018

General André Cox (b. Zimbabwe, 1954)

André Cox

General André Cox spent his childhood in Zimbabwe and the UK, before moving to Switzerland where he met his wife, Silvia (née Volet). They entered officer training together and were both commissioned as Salvation Army officers in 1979.

André has held appointments in Europe, the UK and Zimbabwe, including territorial commander in the Finland and Estonia Territory, territorial commander of the Southern Africa Territory, and territorial commander of the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland. At International Headquarters, he also served as Chief of the Staff and Acting General.

As General, he implemented the Accountability Movement in 2016, a renewal of commitment to governance in Salvation Army operations.

Current General

General Brian Peddle (b. Canada, 1957)

Brian Peddle

General Brian Peddle was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer in 1977. He has served in partnership with his wife, Commissioner Rosalie Peddle, since they were married in 1978. In addition to serving in corps, divisional and training colleges, his international appointments include divisional commander in New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territory, chief secretary of the United Kingdom with the Republic of Ireland Territory and territorial commander of Canada and Bermuda. At International Headquarters, he served as international secretary for the Americas and Caribbean Zone and became Chief of the Staff.

As General, Brian is committed to furthering The Salvation Army’s responsibility to preach the message of Jesus, encourage Christians and serve those in need.

Read more about The Salvation Army international leaders

 

The Salvation Army acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters throughout Australia. We pay our respect to Elders and acknowledge their continuing relationship to this land and the ongoing living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia.

The Salvation Army is a child safe organisation that is committed to ensuring the wellbeing of children and young people, and protecting them from harm.

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