Brigadier Gordon Richardson DSO* OBE ADC

A gallant Sirmoori and the only officer to have commanded both battalions of the Regiment for a full tour of command

Richardson as a Lieutenant Colonel in Italy, 1944

Gordon Richardson was born on 12 July 1910 and educated at Blundells School and the Royal Military College Sandhurst.  He was the second son of Lieutenant General Sir Charles Richardson KCB CSI late 19th and 21st Punjab Infantry and great-grandson of General Sir Charles Reid who commanded the Sirmoor Battalion in their epic stand against mutineers at Delhi in 1857.  He was the elder brother of Major Peter Richardson DSO, also late 2nd Goorkhas.

He was commissioned in August 1930, and after a brief attachment to the 1st Battalion The Royal Norfolk Regiment joined the 2nd Goorkhas in October 1931.  In the 1933-34 recruiting season he was Assistant Recruiting Officer in Gorakhpur before becoming Adjutant of the 1st Battalion in November 1935, serving as such during the Waziristan operations in 1937 for which he was Mentioned in Despatches.  From December 1938 to September 1940 he was an Instructor at the Royal Military College Sandhurst.  From September 1940 to December 1941 he was a General Staff Officer Grade 3 in the Central Provision Office, Eastern Group, New Delhi and between December 1941 and July 1942 a Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General (DAQMG) before becoming an Assistant Quartermaster General at General HQ India from August 1942 to June 1943.

In late 1943 , Richardson was appointed 2IC of the 1st Battalion, taking over command in February 1933 after Lieutenant James Showers was wounded at the Battle of Cassino.  The Battalion as part of 4th Indian Division was ordered to withdraw and ‘ still in contact with the enemy who continued to shell and mortar the Battalion position . Richardson began the exacting manoeuvre of a night withdrawal under fire.  Having devised a plan so that he never for a moment lost the initiative, he personally supervised the evacuation of the wounded until every casualty and last Gurkha Rifleman was clear.’  For his tactical skill, coolness and courageous leadership he was awarded an immediate DSO . He continued to lead the battalion with vigour, determination and gallantry throughout the remainder of its tour in Italy and for some of its time in Greece.

On 6 August 1944 when he was on reconnaissance with three other officers, the party suddenly came up against a small force of Austrians of 5 Mountain Division.  Taken by surprise the enemy threw up their hands, but on realising what a small party they faced they took to their heels.  In the chase that followed Captain C D Marley-Clarke was wounded and later died.  Richardson displayed great gallantry in recovering the wounded officer, knocking over four of the enemy who attempted to rush him while so engaged.  Richardson was awarded a Bar to his DSO as an immediate award for the skill and courage with which he led the Battalion during operations to break through the Gothic Line in September 1944.  After some home leave he rejoined the 1st Battalion in Greece where he had temporary command of 7th Indian Infantry Brigade on three occasions between December 1944 to November 1945, part of the 60,000 strong British force sent to support the Greek Government in the civil war after the departure of the Germany Army.

He continued to command the 1st Battalion on its return to Dehra Dun 1946 and during its tour of duty in Santa Cruz, Bombay and in Poona (Pune) from July 1946 to March 1948.  He took the Battalion to Singapore in March 1948 when the Regiment became part of the British Army, where he continued to command it during the Malayan Emergency until May 1949, a tour for which he was Mentioned in Despatches.  From July to November 1949 he was General Staff Officer Grade  1 HQ Singapore District before being appointed Inspector of Gurkha Training until June 1950 when he became General Staff Officer Grade  1 (Training) Western Command in the United Kingdom.

Gordon commanded the 2nd Battalion on operations in Malaya from December 1952 until September 1953 and then in Hong Kong until November 1955.  He then became Commandant of the Training Depot Brigade of Gurkhas at Sungei Patani from November 1956 to November 1957.  As a Temporary Brigadier he was given command 63 Gurkha Infantry Brigade Group from November 1957 to October 1960.  His final military appointment was as Commander British Gurkhas’ Lines of Communication from April 1961 to December 1964.  He was appointed ADC to HM The Queen from August 1961 until his retirement in December 1964 .

After leaving the Army , Gordon Richardson was employed by the Ministry of Overseas Development working in Nepal and living in Kathmandu from 1965.  In the 1973 Birthday Honours List he was made OBE (Civil Division) for his services to Nepal and he also received the Order of Gorkha Dakshin Bahu (2nd Class) . In 1973 , he retired from Nepal to live in St Ouen on the island of Jersey where he died on 12 June 1998.

Gordon Richardson married Maria de Gruchy in 1938 who died on 4 February 1968 in Kathmandu as a result of a rock fall.  They had two daughters.  In 1972 he married Mrs Jill Cope, widow of Major Peter Cope, late 2nd Goorkhas and 7th Gurkha Rifles.

Gordon Richardson was a keen supporter member of the Regimental Association from its inception until he died, and for time a Committee member.


Click here to return to Distinguished Sirmooris index page.