Richard Shirreff

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Sir Richard Shirreff
Richard Shirreff (cropped).jpg
General Sir Richard Shirreff in 2010
Birth nameAlexander Richard David Shirreff
Born (1955-10-21) 21 October 1955 (age 67)[1]
Kenya Colony
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1976–2014
Commands heldDeputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe
Allied Rapid Reaction Corps
3rd Mechanised Division
7th Armoured Brigade
King's Royal Hussars
Battles/warsThe Troubles
Gulf War
Iraq War
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service

General Sir Alexander Richard David Shirreff, KCB, CBE (born 21 October 1955) is a retired senior British Army officer and author. From March 2011 to March 2014 he served as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

Early and personal life[edit]

Shirreff was born in Kenya, the son of Alexander David Shirreff MC of the 5th Battalion King's African Rifles. He was educated at Oundle School, then an all-boys private school in Northamptonshire.[2]

Shirreff was commissioned into the 14th/20th King's Hussars as a second lieutenant on probation (university cadetship) on 3 September 1976.[3] While sponsored through university by the British Army, he studied modern history at Exeter College, Oxford (BA, MA).[4][5] He was confirmed as a second lieutenant on probation and as a second lieutenant (seniority from 1 February 1974) on 18 June 1977 and simultaneously promoted to lieutenant from the same date (seniority from 1 February 1976).[6][7]

Military career[edit]

Lt Gen Shirreff visiting Afghanistan in 2011 as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe

Shirreff was promoted to captain on 1 August 1980,[8] and to major on 30 September 1987.[9] Having seen active service during the Gulf War in 1991, Shirreff was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 30 June 1992,[10] and was appointed commanding officer of the King's Royal Hussars in 1994.[11] He deployed with his Regiment to Northern Ireland in 1995, for which Shirreff was awarded a Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service.[12] Promoted to colonel – Army Plans at the Ministry of Defence on 30 June of the following year,[13][14] he was advanced to brigadier on 30 June 1998.[15] He was appointed Commander of 7th Armoured Brigade, which was deployed to Kosovo,[11] and was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in April 2001 in recognition of his service.[16]

Shirreff was promoted to major general on 9 May 2003[17] and became Chief of Staff at Land Command and in 2005 he became General Officer Commanding 3rd (UK) Mechanised Division, which deployed as HQ Multinational Division South East in Iraq in July 2006.[2] In January 2007 he was appointed Commander of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps,[18] and was promoted to lieutenant general on 13 December of that year.[19] Shirreff was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2010 New Year Honours.[20]

On 11 January 2010, Shirreff gave evidence to the Iraq Inquiry.[21] On 4 March 2011 he became Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe and was promoted to full general.[22][23] He retired from that post in March 2014.[24]

Shirreff is currently the honorary colonel of Oxford University OTC[25] and served as the Honorary Colonel to the Royal Wessex Yeomanry from 2005 to 2015.[26] He also served a term as Colonel Commandant (Cavalry) of the Royal Armoured Corps from 2004 and as Colonel of the Kings Royal Hussars from 2012 to 2017.[27]

Post-military career[edit]

Shirreff is an Advisory Board member of the non-for profit security organisation Genderforce, aiming to fight and prevent acts of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in conflict and post-conflict situations.[28][29] He is a founding partner of Strategia Worldwide, a risk management consultancy founded in 2016.[30]

In 2016, Shirreff published a book entitled 2017: War with Russia: An Urgent Warning from Senior Military Command. The part-fictional book suggests that Russia could easily invade the Baltic States, that war between Russia and NATO would be possible, and implies strongly that Shirreff finds military high command and government incapable of creating a suitable response.[31] It also alleges that former Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, tried to court-martial him when he spoke up on British defence cuts.[32][33][34]

Shirreff's commentaries on foreign militaries, such as his assessment on the strategic weaknesses of Russia's armed forces, have been distributed by news agencies such as Times Radio.[35]


  1. ^ Whitworth, Damian (21 May 2016). "Make no mistake: if Russia marches into the Baltics it means nuclear war". The Times. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b ARRC biography Archived 18 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "No. 47061". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 November 1976. p. 15063.
  4. ^ Exeter College, Oxford
  5. ^ "Shirreff, Gen. Sir (Alexander) Richard (David), (born 21 Oct. 1955), Founder and Managing Partner, Strategia Worldwide Ltd, since 2016". Who's Who 2022. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  6. ^ "No. 47346". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 October 1977. p. 12783.
  7. ^ "No. 47474". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 February 1978. p. 2580.
  8. ^ "No. 48294". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 September 1980. p. 12370.
  9. ^ "No. 51080". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 October 1987. p. 12384.
  10. ^ "No. 53001". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 July 1992. p. 12671.
  11. ^ a b Profile: Major General Richard Shirreff BBC News, 27 December 2006
  12. ^ "No. 54212". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 November 1995. p. 15368.
  13. ^ KFOR structure
  14. ^ "No. 54453". The London Gazette. 2 July 1996. p. 8911.
  15. ^ "No. 55365". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 January 1999. p. 53.
  16. ^ "No. 56168". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 April 2001. p. 4244.
  17. ^ "No. 57000". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 July 2003. p. 8783.
  18. ^ ARRC
  19. ^ "No. 58546". The London Gazette (Supplement). 18 December 2007. p. 18310.
  20. ^ "No. 59282". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2009. p. 2.
  21. ^ "Iraq inquiry awaits 'big fish' Blair and Campbell". BBC News. BBC. 8 January 2010. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
  22. ^ New Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe Appointed Archived 26 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine Natsource, 29 September 2010
  23. ^ "No. 59720". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 March 2011. p. 4237.
  24. ^ "General Sir Adrian Bradshaw becomes the 28th DSACEUR". Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  25. ^ Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe NATO
  26. ^ "No. 59492". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 July 2010. p. 13805.
  27. ^ "Royal Armoured Corps" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  28. ^ Whitehead, Tom (18 May 2016). "Britain has become 'semi-pacifist' under Cameron, says retired general as he warns of war with Russia". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  29. ^ "Advisory Board Member – Sir Richard Shirreff". Genderforce C.I.C. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  30. ^ "About Us". Strategia Worldwide. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  31. ^ GENERAL SIR RICHARD. SHIRREFF (2017). 2017 War with Russia. Hodder & Stoughton. pp. 30, 196, 324. ISBN 978-1-4736-5482-2.
  32. ^ Whitehead, Tom (18 May 2016). "Britain has become 'semi-pacifist' under Cameron, says retired general as he warns of war with Russia". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  33. ^ Holehouse, Matthew (20 May 2016). "General warned of nuclear war to pay mortgage". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  34. ^ "Former Nato commander's new book predicts invasion of Baltic as Putin bids to 'make Russia a great power again'". The Independent. 18 May 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  35. ^ "'Putin's invasion will crumble if Nato continues support' - General Sir Richard Shirreff". Times Radio. 1 December 2022. Retrieved 5 December 2022.
Military offices
Preceded by General Officer Commanding the 3rd (UK) Mechanised Division
Succeeded by
Preceded by General Officer Commanding
Multi-National Division (South East), Iraq

Succeeded by
Preceded by Commander Allied Rapid Reaction Corps
Succeeded by
Preceded by Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe
Succeeded by