Keith Burch

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Keith Burch
Keith Burch.jpg
Born (1931-05-31)31 May 1931
Died 27 March 2013(2013-03-27) (aged 81)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Rank Major-General
Awards CB CBE
Other work Chapter clerk of York Minster

Major-General Keith Burch CB CBE (31 May 1931 – 27 March 2013) was a senior officer in the British Army.[1] His obituary in The Times described him as 'a soldier who commanded with a firm, determined hand in Hong Kong, Aden, Cyprus and Germany'.[2]

Early life[edit]

Keith Burch was born 31 May 1931, the son of Christopher Burch and Gwendoline Ada (née James).[3] He was educated at Bedford Modern School[1] and Sandhurst.[4]


In 1951, Burch was commissioned into the Essex Regiment.[3] He was sent to Korea in 1953 with the 1st Battalion as his patrol's platoon commander, building defences along the Korean ceasefire line for over a year.[2] The 1st Essex later moved to Hong Kong where 'he exercised his authority as senior subaltern without fear or favour'.[2]

In 1954, the Essex Regiment merged into what became the Royal Anglian Regiment following which Burch held a junior staff appointment in Kenya before attending the Staff College, Camberley.[2] Having qualified at Camberley, he was appointed to the Staff Duties branch of the Army Department of the Ministry of Defence and was appointed MBE on leaving in 1965.[2]

Burch saw active service with the 4th (Leicestershire) Battalion in Aden.[2] He was subsequently recalled to Camberley as a member of the Directing Staff.[2] In 1969, he was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel to command the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment.[2]

In 1976 Burch was promoted to Colonel and appointed Chief of Staff of the 2nd Division in Germany, then commanded by Major-General Sir Frank Kitson.[2] Kitson 'appreciated a man who planned thoroughly and got things done without fuss'.[2] He was subsequently made CBE and promoted to Brigadier as Director of Administrative Planning in the Army Department of the Ministry of Defence.[2]

Burch's final military post was in the rank of Major-General as Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Personnel and Logistics) in the Ministry of Defence from 1983 to 1985.[2]

Awards and honours[edit]

Burch was made MBE in 1965, CBE in 1977 and Companion Order of the Bath in 1985.[3]

Personal life[edit]

In 1953 and whilst an officer, he competed in middle distance competitive running in Hong Kong, holding the Crown Colony's record for the 800 and 1500 metres.[2] In 1957, Burch married Sara Vivette Hales; they had one son and two daughters.[3] Following his retirement, Burch was Chapter Clerk of York Minster between 1985 and 1995.[3]

In 2006 he and his wife emigrated to New Zealand.[2] Burch died on The Yellow Sea (Huang Hai) on 27 March 2013.[3] He was survived by his wife, Sara, his son, Giles, and two daughters, Amanda and Emma.[2]


  1. ^ a b Who's Who 1998, Published by A&C Black Limited, 1998
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Obituary, Major-General Keith Burch, The Times, 17 May 2013
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Who's Who". Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Have you a Tiger in your family? – Royal Leicestershire Regiment Online Archive – RLR". Archived from the original on 6 August 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2015.