David Richards (British Army officer)Edit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Redirected from Sir David Richards)Jump to: navigation, search{| cellspacing="5" class="infobox vcard" style="text-align: left; line-height: 1.5em; border-spacing: 2px; width: 315px; font-size: 90%" ! class="fn" colspan="2" style="text-align: center; background-color: #b0c4de; font-size: 100%; font-weight: bold"|Sir David Richards |- | colspan="2" style="text-align: center; background-color: #b0c4de"|Born 4 March 1952 (1952-03-04) (age 58) |- | colspan="2" style="border-bottom: #aaa 1px solid; text-align: center; line-height: 1.5em"|[1] General Sir David Richards (right) during his tenure as ISAF commander, with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates. |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; padding-right: 1em"|Allegiance | United Kingdom |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; padding-right: 1em"|Service/branch |[2] British Army |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; padding-right: 1em"|Years of service |1971–present |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; padding-right: 1em"|Rank |General |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; padding-right: 1em"|Commands held |3rd Royal Horse Artillery 4th Armoured Brigade Allied Rapid Reaction Corps International Security Assistance Force |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; padding-right: 1em"|Battles/wars |Sierra Leone Civil War War in Afghanistan |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; padding-right: 1em"|Awards |Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath Commander of the Order of the British Empire Distinguished Service Order |} General Sir David Julian Richards, GCB, CBE, DSO, ADC Gen (born 4 March 1952)[1] is a senior British Army officer, currently the Chief of the Defence Staff, the professional head of the British Armed Forces. He succeeded Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup in this role on 29 October 2010. Richards is supported in his role by his deputy, the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, currently General Sir Nicholas Houghton.

Before becoming the Chief of the Defence Staff, Richards was the Chief of the General Staff, the Head of the British Army, from 2009–2010 and the Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces from 2008-2009. Previously he was the ISAF Commander in Southern Afghanistan, as a Lieutenant General, from 2006-2008.


[hide]*1 Early life

[edit] Early lifeEdit

Richards attended Eastbourne College and was commissioned into the Royal Artillery as a Second Lieutenant in 1971.[2] He then attended University College, Cardiff, graduating in 1974 with a degree in politics and economics.

[edit] Army careerEdit

He served with the Royal Artillery in the Far East, Germany and the United Kingdom, including three tours in Northern Ireland, and served on the staff of the 11th Armoured Brigade in Germany. He was promoted Lieutenant in 1974[3] and Captain in 1977.[4] He attended the Staff College, Camberley in 1984. Promoted to Major that year,[5] he returned to 11th Armoured Brigade to command a field battery in 47th Field Regiment. He then served as the Chief of Staff of the Berlin Brigade for two years, before being promoted Lieutenant-Colonel on 30 June 1989.[6] He served as an instructor at the Staff College for three years, and was then given command of the 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery.

In 1994 he joined the Ministry of Defence as Colonel Army Plans.[7] In December 1995, after completing the Higher Command and Staff course, he was promoted Brigadier[8] and then became Commander of the 4th Armoured Brigade in Germany. He became Chief of Joint Force Operations at the Permanent Joint Headquarters in 1998. In this role, as the default commander for short notice expeditionary operations, he commanded the UK Contingent in East Timor in 1999 and twice commanded a UK Joint Task Force in Sierra Leone in 2000.

In 2000, during the Sierra Leone Civil War, he was in command of Operation Palliser, ostensibly to rescue British and other foreign nationals but which he then independently transformed into a commitment to support the embattled national president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and lead the defence of his capital Freetown against the Revolutionary United Front. Although not initially sanctioned by London, the action was cited as a second example of the kind of liberal military intervention previously seen in Kosovo, and as such attributed to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.[9]

In April 2001 he became Chief of Staff of NATO's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, with the rank of Major General.[10]

In 2002, he became Assistant Chief of the General Staff,[11] and on 19 January 2005 became the Commander of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, which carried promotion to Lieutenant General.[12]

In July 2006, command of the international forces (the International Security Assistance Force) in southern Afghanistan was passed to NATO forces under his command and he was promoted to the acting rank of full General (4-star). In this capacity, Richards was the first British general to command American forces since the Second World War.[13] On returning from Afghanistan, he reverted to his previous rank of Lieutenant-General. On 1 February 2008 he was promoted to substantive General and appointed Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces in succession to General Sir Redmond Watt,[14][15] and on 12 June 2008 he was appointed Aide-de-Camp General to The Queen.[16] On 17 October 2008, The Independent revealed his appointment as the next Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the Army.[13] The Ministry of Defence later confirmed that he would take up the post in August 2009.[17] In early August 2009, just before taking up his post, Richards was widely criticised when he claimed that British troops may have a role in Afghanistan for up to 40 years.[18] General Sir Richard Dannatt handed over his appointment as Chief of the General Staff at midday on 28 August 2009 to Richards.[19]

In February 2010 Richards said that a "turning point" had been reached in the battle against the Taliban. He suggested troop numbers could begin to decline as early as 2011 while the majority would be withdrawn by 2015. Richards said "we are now seeing some very optimistic signs" in the latest military offensive, Operation Moshtarak (togetherness), in Helmand. The Taliban had been forced to give "serious consideration" about continuing the fight. Richards said that: "We expect the military conflict to trail off in 2011," who was visiting British front-line forces for the first time since taking command of the Army last year. "The combat role will start to decline in 2011, but we will remain militarily engaged in training and support roles for another five years, and we will remain in a support role for many years to come."[20]

He said that "The Taliban is now beginning to realise that they can lose this war, which was not the view they had a year ago. We have to reinforce the view that they can, and will, be beaten."[20] In 2010, however, he also stated in a radio interview that "I think there's no reason why we shouldn't be looking at [talking to the Taliban] pretty soon".[21][22]

On 14 July 2010 the Ministry of Defence announced that in October 2010 Richards would become the next Chief of the Defence Staff in succession to Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup.[23] Downing Street, in a press statement to announce the intended ennoblement of Sir Jock, also announced in the same release that Sir David would take up his new post as Chief of the Defence Staff on Friday 29 October 2010, immediately after the retirement of Sir Jock.[24]

In November 2010 General Richards said there was no desire to "open up another front there" but suggested that in future it "might be" necessary. David Cameron told Parliament that Britain would "take every step to cut out the terrorist cancer that lurks in the Arabian Peninsula", but Gen Richards said an intelligence-led approach was the current strategy. Richards added: "Clearly, the primary agencies dealing with this are our intelligence and security agencies. But the military are already helping with their [the Yemenis'] training. I don't think we want to open up another front there and nor do the Yemenis want us to do that. So we have to find other ways of doing these things and in the meantime making sure Afghanistan doesn't revert to becoming, if you like, a 'second Yemen' – that is the Army's primary duty at the moment. Our role is to remain very close to them, to help them where they most need it and in the meanwhile focus our efforts on Afghanistan and assisting Pakistan to ensure they don't become the threat Yemen is beginning to be.[25]

[edit] 2009 political controversyEdit

Allegations surfaced in September 2009 of a Labour plot to smear the general because his daughter worked for the Conservative Party. The threat to target the general, who had taken up his new job just nine days before most of the reports appeared, was widely reported to have been one of the real reasons that Labour MP Eric Joyce resigned as an aide to Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth. [26]

[edit] Courses and awardsEdit

Richards has attended the US Brigade Commanders, Combined Joint Force Land Component Commanders, and Joint Task Force Commanders (Pinnacle) Courses. His operational awards include a Mention in Despatches for services in Northern Ireland,[27] Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services in East Timor,[28] and the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for services in Sierra Leone (Operation Barras).[29] He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the July 2007 operational and gallantry awards list for his services in Afghanistan.[30][31] In addition to his orders, he has also been awarded campaign medals for Northern Ireland, East Timor (UN) and Operational Service Medals for Sierra Leone and Afghanistan. He also wears the Golden Jubilee Medal from 2002. He was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Royal Rifle Volunteers on 1 September 2003,[32] Colonel Commandant of the Royal Artillery on 19 January 2005,[33] and on 1 April 2007 he was appointed Colonel Commandant of the Brigade of Gurkhas.[34] He was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) in the 2011 New Years Honours.[35][36]

[edit] Personal lifeEdit

Richards lives near Salisbury. He and his wife Caroline have two daughters, Joanna and Pippa, both university postgraduates. He is a keen student of military history and a qualified offshore yachtsman (he is Admiral of the British Kiel Yacht Club).

[edit] Styles and honoursEdit

  • Mr David Richards (1952–1971)
  • 2nd Lt. David Richards (1971–1974)
  • Lt. David Richards (1974–1977)
  • Capt. David Richards (1977–1984)
  • Maj. David Richards (1984–1989)
  • Lt. Col. David Richards (1989–1994)
  • Col. David Richards (1994–1995)
  • Brig. David Richards (1995–2000)
  • Brig. David Richards CBE (2000–2001)
  • Maj. Gen. David Richards CBE DSO (2001–2005)
  • Lt. Gen. David Richards CBE DSO (2005–2006)
  • Acting Gen. David Richards CBE DSO (2006–2007)
  • Lt. Gen. Sir David Richards KCB CBE DSO (2007–2008)
  • Gen. Sir David Richards KCB CBE DSO (2008–2011)
  • Gen. Sir David Richards GCB CBE DSO (2011–)

[edit] ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Marquis Who's Who on the Web
  2. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 45331, p. 2938, 30 March 1971. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
  3. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46507, p. 2922, 4 March 1975. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  4. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 47137, p. 1422, 31 January 1977. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
  5. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49897, p. 13948, 16 October 1984. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  6. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 51805, pp. 8085–8086, 11 July 1989. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
  7. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53780, p. 12573, 5 September 1994. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
  8. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 54265, p. 61, 29 December 1995. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
  9. ^ The brigadier who saved Sierra Leone, BBC News, 15 May 2010, by Allan Little
  10. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56184, p. 4895, 24 April 2001. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
  11. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56708, p. 11790, 1 October 2002. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
  12. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57541, p. 831, 25 January 2005. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
  13. ^ a b Kim Sengupta, 'We need 30,000 more soldiers to beat Taliban,' says general, The Independent, 17 October 2008. Retrieved on 2008-10-17.
  14. ^ Senior Officer Appointments
  15. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58602, p. 1683, 5 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
  16. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58745, p. 9457, 24 June 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
  17. ^ General Sir David Richards appointed next Chief of the General Staff, Defence News, Ministry of Defence. 17 October 2008. Retrieved on 2008-10-17.
  18. ^ New army chief under fire over ‘40 years’ claim The Times, 9 August 2009. Retrieved on 2009-08-10.
  19. ^ Hughes, David (28 August 2009). "New British Army Chief Sir David Richards takes harge". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
  20. ^ a b Coughlin, Con (26 February 2010). "General Sir David Richards: Forces reach 'turning point' in Afghanistan". The Daily Telegraph (London).
  21. ^ "Army chief says talks with Taliban should start soon". BBC News. 27 June 2010.
  22. ^ Richard Norton-Taylor (11 July 2010). "General Sir David Richards to take over as head of armed forces". The Guardian (London).
  23. ^ "General Richards to take over as Chief of the Defence Staff". Defence News (MOD). 14 July 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  24. ^ Outgoing CDS to receive peerage, Downing Street Press Notice on behalf of HM The Queen
  25. ^ Army 'might need to intervene in Yemen'
  26. ^ Walters, Simon (6 September 2009). "Smear allegations centred on employment of daughter by Conservatives,". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
  27. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53453, pp. 16388–16389, 11 October 1993. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
  28. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56017, p. 12363, 3 November 2000. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
  29. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56168, pp. 4245–4247, 6 April 2001. Retrieved 2007-12-17.
  30. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58396, p. 10410, 19 July 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
  31. ^ Afghanistan and Iraq awards dominate latest operational honours list, Defence News, Ministry of Defence, 19 July 2007. Retrieved on 2008-10-17
  32. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57043, p. 10845, 2 September 2003. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
  33. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57541, p. 832, 25 January 2005. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
  34. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58345, p. 8038, 5 June 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
  35. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59647, p. 2, 31 December 2010.
  36. ^ Honours List: Military Division - Army The Independent, 31 December 2010

[edit] External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by

Mauro del Vecchio

Commander, International Security Assistance Force


Succeeded by

Dan K. McNeill

Preceded by

Sir Richard Dannatt

Commander Allied Rapid Reaction Corps

2005 – 2007

Succeeded by

Sir Richard Shirreff

Preceded by

Sir Redmond Watt

Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces


Succeeded by

Sir Peter Wall

Preceded by

Sir Richard Dannatt

Chief of the General Staff


Succeeded by

Sir Peter Wall

Preceded by

Sir Jock Stirrup

Chief of the Defence Staff



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