British field marshal George Wade died on this day in 1748. He participated as a commander in many different wars, and was awarded the title of general at the age of around 35. In 1725 he was given command over the entire army in Scotland. His full, formal title was called “Commander in Chief of His Majesty’s forces, castles, forts and barracks in North Britain”. In Scotland, George Wade had a new system of military roads built, which became very famous. Namely, these were the first high-efficiency roads in the area of the Scottish Highlands (the old Roman roads never reached that area). The British built the roads so as to better control that rebellious area, which was populated by Scottish Highlanders.
In 1743 George Wade became a field marshal in the British Royal Army, and later also became its supreme commander. His post was called “Commander-in-Chief of the Forces”. At that position, Field Marshal Wade replaced Field Marshal Lord Stair. The title “Commander-in-Chief of the Forces” was given to the head of the British Army from 1660 and lasted all the way until 1904, when the post of Chief of the General Staff was introduced. In 1909 the name of the highest military post was once again changed into Chief of the Imperial General Staff. In 1964, the term “Imperial” was removed, so that the name of the post is once again called Chief of the General Staff. It is interesting to note that six people in the UK today bear the rank of field marshal, two of whom are members of the royal family (Prince Charles and the Duke of Kent), while the other four are professional soldiers.