Leith-born army chief Sir Robert Richardson dies

Lieutenant General Sir Robert Richardson received many honours for his distinguished army service, including the CBE. Picture: Guy Richardson
Lieutenant General Sir Robert Richardson received many honours for his distinguished army service, including the CBE. Picture: Guy Richardson
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A LEITH-born top ranking army officer who served in the Korean War and went on to lead the Royal Scots and command troops in Northern Ireland has died at the age of 85.

Sir Robert Richardson passed away at his Haddington home last week.

The highly decorated soldier, known as Bob, achieved one of the most senior ranks in the British Army.

As Lieutenant General – second only to General – he received many honours for his distinguished service, including the CBE.

His youngest son, Guy, a former Edinburgh Accies flanker, went on to become Scottish rugby team manager, while sons Jeremy and Charles both played rugby to a high level, with Jeremy winning a Scotland cap against South Africa in 1994.

Tributes today were led by Reverend Howard Haslett, a former chaplain and minister, who taught all three of Lt Gen Richardson’s sons at Edinburgh Academy.

He said: “He was a most delightful parent. When you talked to him, you felt you had 100 per cent of his attention.

“He was a genial character and had been a good rugby player himself in his own day.”

Inspired by tales of wartime heroism, Lt Gen Richardson chose a career in the military rather than following his father into the wine and spirit business after leaving George Heriot’s School.

He was commissioned in 1949 and briefly saw service at the end of the Korean 
War.

Rising rapidly through the ranks, he was appointed commanding officer of the 1st Battalion of Royal Scots and made several tours of Northern Ireland, becoming General Officer Commanding there in 1982.

Tributes from those who served alongside him appeared on the Royal Scots guest page.

Jim McConnell said: “He was my first Commanding Officer when I joined the battalion in early 1970. It was apparent then even to a young sprog like me that he had a great passion for the regiment and for the men he commanded.

“A great man then, but greater things were to come. A man who was respected and showed respect. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”

A private family funeral is set to be held, with a service to celebrate his life being staged on Thursday, January 22 at 11am at the Canongate 
Kirk.

Lt Gen Richardson had four children – Clare, Jeremy, Charles and Guy – with his first wife, Maureen, who died in 1986.

He is survived by his second wife, Candy, and leaves behind ten grandchildren, and two step grandchildren.

john.connell@edinburghnews.com