General Francis Richard Dannatt, Baron Dannatt, GCB, CBE, MC (born 23 December 1950) is a former senior British Army officer. In 2006 he was appointed Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the army, and was succeeded by General Sir David Richards on 28 August 2009. On 1 August 2009 Dannatt was appointed to the ceremonial position of Constable of the Tower of London.
Dannat was born at home in Broomfield—now a suburb of Chelmsford—in Essex on 23 December 1950. His father and grandfather were architects, working from a practice in Chelmsford, and his mother was a part-time teacher at the London Bible College. He had an elder sister who died from breast cancer in 1988. Dannatt was heavily influenced by his paternal great-grandfather, a Victorian farmer and devout Christian who devised an early drainage system.
Dannatt and his sister were sent to separate boarding schools. Dannatt boarded at Felsted Junior School, where he gained an ambition to become a professional cricketer, before attending St. Lawrence College, Ramsgate in Kent, where he joined the Combined Cadet Force (CCF), rising to senior under-officer. While at school, he developed a dislike of his first name, Francis, after his name was mistaken for a girl's, leading to him being mistakenly invited to a birthday party where he was the only boy. He eventually switched to his middle name, Richard, when he was fifteen. Aspiring to become a barrister, Dannatt applied to study law at Emmanuel College, Cambridge but was turned down after an interview, at which point his ambition switched towards a military career.