Richard Ward (British Army officer)

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Sir Richard Ward
Born15 October 1917
Died11 August 1989 (aged 71)[1]
Mendip, Somerset, England[2]
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1937−1976
Service number73199
UnitRoyal Tank Regiment
Commands heldWestminster Dragoons
3rd Royal Tank Regiment
20th Armoured Brigade
1st Division
British Forces in Hong Kong
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsKnight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order
Military Cross

General Sir Richard Erskine Ward GBE KCB DSO MC (15 October 1917 – 11 August 1989) was a British Army officer who served in World War II with distinction and later became Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong.

Military career[edit]

Ward was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Royal Tank Corps (later Royal Tank Regiment) on 26 August 1937.[3][4] He served in World War II with the 5th Royal Tank Regiment 1939 in the Western Desert and North Africa taking part in the Battle of El Alamein and the Battle of Tunis in 1942.[4] He was Brigade Major with the 4th Armoured Brigade during the Normandy landings in France in 1944.[4] He was appointed Commanding Officer of the Westminster Dragoons in 1945.[4]

He served with 1st Royal Tank Regiment in Korea in 1952 before becoming Commanding Officer of 3rd Royal Tank Regiment in 1957.[4] He was made Commander of 20th Armoured Brigade in 1963 and General Officer Commanding 1st Division in 1965.[4] He went on to be Vice Adjutant-General in 1968 and Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong in 1970.[4] His final post was as Chief of Personnel and Logistics at the Ministry of Defence from 1974.[4]

He was also Colonel Commandant of the Royal Tank Regiment from 1970 to 1975.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Richard Ward retired in 1976. In retirement he presided over an Inquiry into revoking the planning permission, granted in 1973, to United Refineries Ltd for a proposed oil refinery on Canvey Island which reported in March 1981.[5] His findings concerning the British Gas Corporation's methane terminal were disputed by the Health and Safety Executive and the British Gas Corporation and there were doubts about his technical competence: he had conducted the inquiry without the benefit of technical assessors, and had exceeded his terms of reference.[6]

He married in 1947 Stella Elizabeth Ellis and had two sons and two daughters.[7][8] His estate was worth £122,280 net.[9]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "No. 34430". The London Gazette. 27 August 1937. p. 5444.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  5. ^ Adjournment (Royal Wedding and Summer) Hansard, 23 July 1981
  6. ^ Note by the Cabinet Secretary (Robert Armstrong) to the Prime Minister (Margaret Thatcher) dated 11 March 1981, The National Archives PREM 19/483.
  7. ^ Who's who and who was who
  8. ^ The Times, obituary General Sir Richard Ward 14 August 1989 p.12
  9. ^ The Times, 10 February 1990, p.12
Military offices
Preceded by
Miles Fitzalan-Howard
GOC 1st Division
Succeeded by
Allan Taylor
Preceded by
Sir Basil Eugster
Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Sir Edwin Bramall