John Foley (British Army general)

Sir John Foley
Born (1939-04-22) 22 April 1939 (age 80)
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
RankLieutenant General
Commands heldCommander British Forces in Hong Kong
Director SAS
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Military Cross

Lieutenant General Sir John Paul Foley, KCB, OBE, MC, DL (born 22 April 1939) is a retired British Army officer with a long career in military intelligence. He is the great-grandson of Henry Hodgetts-Foley, and was educated at Bradfield College.

Foley is descendant from General Thomas Gage and his wife Margaret Kemble, and it is through Kemble that he is a descendant of the Schuyler family, the Van Cortlandt family, and the Delancey family from colonial British North America.[1]

Military career[]

Foley joined the Special Air Service as an enlisted man during his National Service.[2] He served in BRIXMIS during the 1970s. He was commissioned into the Rifle Brigade in 1959[3] rose to become Director SAS in 1983.[4] He was later Director of General Intelligence, which involved ensuring intelligence provision in the theatre of war and making assessments for government ministers at the time of the Gulf War in 1990,[5] and became Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong in 1992, before being named Chief of Defence Intelligence in 1994. He left that post, retiring from the Army three years later, in 1997.[2]

Later life[]

In 2000, he was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey, and served in that post for five years before retiring to his native Herefordshire.[2] He was appointed High Sheriff of Herefordshire and Worcestershire in 2006[2] and Vice-Lieutenant of Herefordshire in 2010.[6]


  1. ^ "The Descendants of William the Conqueror". Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d "Interview with Sir John Foley". Retrieved 2008-04-08.
  3. ^ "No. 41772". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 July 1959. p. 4674.
  4. ^ "Army Commands" (PDF). 26 July 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Not the retiring type" Worcester News, 18 September 2006
  6. ^ "Sir John Foley's fight for injured soldiers". Herefordshire Life. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
Military offices
Preceded by
Peter de la Billière
Director SAS
Succeeded by
Michael Wilkes
Preceded by
Sir Peter Duffell
Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Bryan Dutton
Preceded by
Sir John Walker
Chief of Defence Intelligence
Succeeded by
Sir Alan West
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir John Coward
Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey
Succeeded by
Sir Fabian Malbon
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Andrew Grant
High Sheriff of Herefordshire and Worcestershire
Succeeded by
John Yorke