Major General Francis James Claude Piggott CB CBE DSO
1965 - 1966
Last Colonel of The Queen’s Royal Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment
Major General Piggott was born on 11th October 1910 and was the son of Major General F S G Piggott who at that time was serving in Japan. The younger Piggott was educated at Cheltenham College and then the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, before being commissioned into The Queen’s Royal Regiment in January 1931. With his background he was offered a course in Japanese.
Unfortunately losing the sight of his left eye in 1937, he returned to Guildford to become Adjutant of the Regimental Depot at Stoughton Barracks. His tour from 1938 to 1940 saw the Munich Crisis, the re-introduction of Militia (later known as National Servicemen) in 1939, and the expansion of the Depot into Queen’s Camp which later became the WRAC Queen Elizabeth Park. Service in France followed, as Adjutant of 2/7th Bn The Queen’s Royal Regiment and later as a company commander.
With the ensuing evacuation from Dunkirk, the then Captain Piggott was Mentioned in Despatches. He served in New Zealand and Northern Ireland as well as being GSOI on the staff of Major General Orde Wingate, commanding the Chindit Forces. Later he commanded the 9th (Hallamshire) Battalion of The York and Lancaster Regiment against the Japanese. For his gallant and distinguished services in these operations he was appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order. He returned to Japan in 1946 as GSO I (Intelligence) on the staff of the Supreme Allied Commander, General Douglas MacArthur.
Promoted to the Brevet rank of Lieutenant Colonel on 1st July 1952, and to substantive Lieutenant Colonel on 6th January 1953, he commanded the First Battalion of The Queen’s in Germany and Malaya from 1952 to 1954. On promotion to Colonel on 27th June 1955, he went to the War Office as GSO 1 (M.I.). In September 1956 he was appointed to command 161 Brigade (TA) with the temporary rank of Brigadier, and in 1958 became DDMI in the War Office. His final promotion to Major General came in 1961 when he was appointed ACOS (Intelligence) at Headquarters SHAPE, then in Paris, under General Norstad. He retired from the Army in 1965.
He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Birthday Honours List of 1952, and a Commander of that Order in 1961. In the Birthday Honours List of 1963 he was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath.
General Piggott was an energetic and dynamic leader who could be somewhat fierce and stern, but underneath he was very thoughtful and compassionate. He was an above-average cricketer before losing the sight of one eye.
After his service as the last Colonel of The Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment he became Deputy Colonel (Surrey) of the newly formed and enlarged Queen’s Regiment. He died in Somerset at the age of eighty-five and at his request there was no memorial service.