Lieutenant General Sir Richard Walter Craddock KBE CB DSO

1966-1973 (Queen's)

Lieutenant General Sir Richard Walter CraddockLieutenant General Sir Richard Craddock KBE CB DSO was the first Colonel of The Queen's Regiment. General Craddock was educated at Charterhouse and the RMC Sandhurst, where he was an athlete of considerable prowess. He was commissioned into the Buffs in 1930, and joined the 2nd Battalion. On the outbreak of war in 1939, he was Adjutant of his battalion, which was the first British Infantry battalion into France in 1939.

When the British Army re-entered the continent in 1944, General Craddock, then Lieutenant Colonel, was in command of the 2nd Bn South Wales Borderers. His courage earned him not only a DSO, but also a wound on the third day of the campaign. After a short recovery he was back in France in August in command of 1st Battalion the Suffolk Regiment and in October he was seriously wounded, losing a foot and part of one leg when leading his battalion through a minefield. He never really recovered from this, for the wound never fully healed. It was to remain a grievous and painful handicap which only a man of his single-mindedness and determination was able to master. Master it he did, for, despite his inability to accept any field command because of his disability, his subsequent military career embraced the appointments of MA to the CIGS; Director of Plans at the War Office; Director of Military Operations; and lastly, in 1963, Commanded British Forces Hong Kong. It was typical of him that he should have accepted this last appointment, for his medical documents contained the stipulation that he should not serve in the tropics. Consequently he had to return home early as GOC-in-C Western Command. Known universally as 'General Dick', he showed a gruff, often haughty exterior, insisting on meticulous efficiency, absolute integrity and great charm and deep concern for others.

General Dick was, as might be expected, a devoted regimental soldier who had been Deputy Colonel of the Queen's Own Buffs. As early as 1963, he was propounding the idea of a Large Regiment. It was largely through his insistence that the Council of Colonels of the Home Counties Brigade moved in this direction, which he was convinced would be the only way to maintain the integrity of the Home Counties regiments. This policy aroused much adverse criticism, not least in his own regiment, but again it is a measure of his single-mindedness that The Queen's Regiment came into being and he can rightly be regarded as the Father of the Regiment. The disbandment of the 4th Battalion and the closure of the Regimental Depot were matters of deep dismay to him, especially as although the Army Board seemed willing to lose names from the Infantry order of battle, it saw no difficulty in reducing the size of Large Regiments.

General Dick remained Colonel of the Regiment for seven years until his retirement on 15th October 1973, only seven months short of the Presentation of Colours to the Regiment. He died on 14th February 1977 at the early age of sixty-six. It was no surprise that the large garrison church at Bulford where the 2nd Battalion The Queen's Regiment were stationed, was filled to capacity for his Memorial Service.


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