3317 General Sir Neil Methuen RITCHIE, GBE, KCB, DSO, MC, MiD****, KStJ, Black Watch

Discussion in 'Higher Formations' started by dbf, Jan 25, 2022.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Personal Number: 3317
    Rank: General
    Name: Sir Neil Methuen RITCHIE, GBE, KCB, DSO, MC, MiD****, KStJ
    Unit: Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) ; King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster)


    London Gazette : 15 December 1914
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29007/page/10696/data.pdf
    The undermentioned Gentlemen Cadets, from the Royal Military College, to be Second Lieutenants. Dated 16th December, 1914: —
    The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders).
    Neil Methuen Ritchie.

    London Gazette : 24 February 1916
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29488/supplement/2082/data.pdf
    The undermentioned Second Lieutenants to be Lieutenants:—
    Dated 2nd October, 1915.
    Neil M. Ritchie.

    London Gazette : 27 September 1916
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29766/supplement/9451/data.pdf
    R. Highrs.—
    Lt. N. M. Ritchie to be temp. Capt., from 2nd Mar. to 21st Apr. 1916 inclusive.

    London Gazette : 24 November 1916
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29835/page/11412/data.pdf
    R. Highrs.—
    Lt. N. M. Ritchie to be acting Capt. 22nd Apr. 1916.

    London Gazette : 27 March 1917
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30002/page/3003/data.pdf
    E. Highrs.—
    Lt. N. M. Ritchie to be Adjt., vice Ma]. C. R. B. Henderson. 5th Jan.1917.

    London Gazette : 25 August 1917
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30252/supplement/8854/data.pdf
    To be Companions of the Distinguished Service Order.
    Lt. (actg. Capt.) Neil Methuen Ritchie, R. Highrs.

    London Gazette : 6 February 1918
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30511/supplement/1710/data.pdf
    The undermentioned Lts. to be- Capts. 19th Nov. 1917:—
    R. Highrs. —
    N. M. Ritchie, D.S.O., Adjt.

    London Gazette : 30 July 1919
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/31480/supplement/9768/data.pdf
    AWARDED THE MILITARY CROSS.
    Capt. Neil Methuen Ritchie, D.S.O., 2nd Bn. R. Highrs.,(Egypt).
    During the action against the Turkish Tabsor position on September 19th, 1918, and during the subsequent advance, he was in- variably to the fore and set a fine example of coolness, courage and utter disregard of danger. When the regiment occupied the El Medjel position on the evening of September 19th, 1918, Capt. Ritchie carried a Lewis gun up part of the way as its carrier was exhausted, and thereby materially assisted in driving off an enemy picquet which was holding up the attack on top of the hill. His services through- out the two attacks, and the subsequent trying marches, were of inestimable value to the regiment.

    London Gazette : 30 June 1933
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/33955/page/4383/data.pdf
    To be Bt. Majs.
    Capt. N. M. Ritchie, D.S.O., M.C., Black Watch.

    London Gazette : 1 June 1934
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/34055/page/3485/data.pdf
    Black Watch
    Capt. & Bt. Maj. N. M. Ritchie, D.S.O., M.C., to be Maj. 2nd June 1934.

    London Gazette : 3 January 1936
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/34239/page/54/data.pdf
    HALF-YEARLY BREVETS.
    The undermentioned promotions are made. 1st Jan. 1936: —
    To be Bt. Lt.-Cols.
    Maj. N. M. Ritchie, D.S.O., M.C., Black Watch.

    London Gazette : 4 January 1938
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/34470/page/34/data.pdf
    King's Own R.—
    Maj. & Bt. Lt.-Col. N. M. Ritchie, D.S.O., M.C., from Black Watch, to be Lt.-Col.3rd Jan. 1938.

    London Gazette : 12 September 1939
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/34680/supplement/6239/data.pdf
    REGULAR ARMY.
    The undermentioned Lt.-Cols. to be Cols.: —
    N. M. Ritchie, D.S.O., M.C., from King's Own R., 26th Aug.1939, with seniority ist Jan. 1939.

    London Gazette : 15 September 1939
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/34684/page/6330/data.pdf
    The names of the undermentioned have been brought to notice in recognition of distinguished services rendered in connection with recent operations: —
    Ritchie, Lt.-Col. N. M., D.S.O., M.C.

    London Gazette : 26 July 1940
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/34904/supplement/4579/data.pdf
    The names of the undermentioned have been brought to notice in recognition of distinguished services rendered in connection with operations in the field. (First list, to March 1940, sub- joined. Second list, March-June 1940, to be published later):—
    Ritchie, Col. (actg. Brig.) N. M., C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C.

    London Gazette : 19 November 1940
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/34995/supplement/6615/data.pdf
    COMMANDS AND STAFF.
    The undermentioned Col., (temp. Brig.), to be a Comdr.:—
    N. M. Ritchie, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C. (9334), and is granted the actg. rank of Maj.- Gen. 28th Oct. 1940.

    London Gazette : 20 June 1941
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/35195/supplement/3497/data.pdf
    COMMANDS AND STAFF.
    The undermentioned appts. are made:—
    Col. (actg. Maj.-Gen.) N. M. Ritchie, C.B.E., D.S.O., M .C . (9334), from a Comdr., to be a Dep.Ch., Gen. Staff, and retains the actg. rank of Maj.-Gen. 15th June 1941.

    London Gazette : 31 October 1941
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/35328/supplement/6303/data.pdf
    Col. (actg. Maj.-Gen.) N. M. Ritchie, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C. (9334), is granted the temp, rank of Maj.-Gen. 28th Oct. 1941.

    London Gazette : 16 December 1941
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/35381/supplement/7093/data.pdf
    REGULAR ARMY.
    Maj.-Gen. (temp.) N. M. Ritchie, C.B.E., D.S.O.,M.C. (9334), is granted the actg. rank of Lt.-Gen. 27th-Nov. 1941.

    London Gazette : 15 May 1942
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/35559/supplement/2113/data.pdf
    The KING has been pleased to grant unrestricted permission for the wearing of the following decorations which have been conferred upon the undermentioned officers in recognition of services in the cause of the Allies: —
    Decorations conferred by THE PRESIDENT OF THE POLISH REPUBLIC.
    THE ORDER OF VIRTUTI MILITARI, FIFTH CLASS.
    Colonel (temporary Major-General) (acting Lieutenant-General) Neil Methuen Ritchie, C.B.E., D.S.O., "M.C. (9334), late The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment). . •

    London Gazette : 30 June 1942
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/35611/supplement/2851/data.pdf
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve that the following be Mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East during the period July, 1941. to October, 1941:—
    Commands and-Staff.
    Lt.-Gen. (actg.) N. M. Ritchie, C.B.E., D.S.O.. M.C. (9334), late King's Own R.

    London Gazette : 1 January 1944
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/36309/supplement/3/data.pdf
    The KING has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following promotions in, and Appointments to, the Most Honourable Order of the Bath:—
    To be Additional Members of the Military Division of the Third Class, or Companions, of the said Most Honourable Order:-
    Colonel (acting Lieutenant-General) Neil Methuen Ritchie, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C. (9334), late The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment).

    London Gazette : 22 March 1945
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/36994/supplement/1548/data.pdf
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve that the following be Mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in North West Europe:—
    Commands and Staff.
    Lt.-Gen. (temp.) N. M. Ritchie, C.B., C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C. (3317). late King's Own R.

    London Gazette : 5 July 1945
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/37161/supplement/3489/data.pdf
    The KING has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following promotions in, and appointments to, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in North West Europe: —
    To be Additional Knights Commanders of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order: —
    Lieutenant-General (temporary) Neil Methuen RITCHIE, C.B., C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C. (9334), late The King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster).

    London Gazette : 9 August 1945
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/37213/supplement/4044/data.pdf
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve that the following be Mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in North-West Europe:—
    Commands and Staff.
    Lt.-Gen. (temp.) Sir Neil M. RITCHIE, K.B.E., C.B., D.S.O., M.C. (9334), late King's Own R.

    London Gazette : 17 October 1946
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/37761/supplement/5143/data.pdf
    The KING has been pleased to grant unrestricted permission for the wearing of the following decorations which have been conferred upon the undermentioned officers in recognition of services in the cause of the Allies: —
    DECORATIONS CONFERRED BY HER MAJESTY THE: QUEEN OF THE NETHERLANDS.
    Knight Grand Officer of the Order of Orange Nassau: with Swords.
    Lieutenant-General Sir Neil Methuen RITCHIE, K.B.E., C.(B., D.S.O., M.C. .(9334), late The King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster).

    London Gazette : 16 January 1948
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/38178/supplement/401/data.pdf
    The KING has been pleased to grant unrestricted permission for the wearing of the following decorations which have been conferred on the undermentioned personnel in recognition of distinguished services in the cause of the Allies:—
    DECORATIONS CONFERRED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
    Legion of Merit, Degree of Commander.
    General Sir Neil Methuen RITCHIE, K.C.B., K.B.E.. D.S.O. (9334), late Infantry.

    London Gazette : 7 December 1948
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/38473/supplement/6361/data.pdf
    Gen. Sir Neil Methuen RITCHIE, K.C.B., K.B.E., D.S.O., M.C., late Inf., is appointed Aide-de-Camp General to The King, 15th Nov. 1948, vice Gen. Sir Edwin Logie MORRIS, K.C.B., O.B.E., M.C., late R.E., ret'd.

    London Gazette : 15 September 1950
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/39017/supplement/4633/data.pdf
    Black Watch,
    Gen. Sir Neil Methuen RITCHIE, K.C.B., K.B.E., D.S.O., M.C., A.D.C. (9334), late Inf., is appointed Col., 24th May 1950, vice the late Field Marshal The Rt. Hon. The Earl WAVELL, P.C., G.C.B., G.C.S.I., GJC.LK, C.M.G., M.C. (67159).

    London Gazette : 7 June 1951
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/39243/supplement/3066/data.pdf
    The KING has been graciously pleased, on the occasion of the Celebration of His Majesty's Birthday, to give orders for the following promotions in, and appointments to, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire:—
    To be an Ordinary Knight Grand Cross of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order:—
    General Sir Neil Methuen RITCHIE, K.C.B., K.B.E., D.S.O., M.C., A.D.C. (9334), late Infantry, Colonel. The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment).
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2022
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  11. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    Thanks for this. We don't always associate the olderman with the deeds of his youth.

    "Capt. Neil Methuen Ritchie, D.S.O., 2nd Bn. R. Highrs.,(Egypt).
    During the action against the Turkish Tabsor position on September 19th, 1918, and during the subsequent advance, he was in- variably to the fore and set a fine example of coolness, courage and utter disregard of danger. When the regiment occupied the El Medjel position on the evening of September 19th, 1918, Capt. Ritchie carried a Lewis gun up part of the way as its carrier was exhausted, and thereby materially assisted in driving off an enemy picquet which was holding up the attack on top of the hill. His services through- out the two attacks, and the subsequent trying marches, were of inestimable value to the regiment."

    By this time he had already been awarded the DSO. Do you have the citation?
     
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  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD


    Sorry no, haven't even been able to locate that, just the LG entry. Perhaps someone else will have more luck.

    Also a real shame that his IWM interview isn't yet available.
    via Ancestry: WW1 Medal Index Card
    NM RITCHIE MID 1.png NM RITCHIE MID 2.png
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2022
  13. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    In an early section of his ‘The Memoirs Of Field-Marshall Montgomery (Montgomery), Page 93’ Monty, whilst having a massive dig at Auchinleck, states about Ritchie:
    This is praise for Ritchie as a Corps commander, and laying the blame for Gazala and all that followed in the 8th Army’s defeat + retreat to El-Alamein at Auchinleck’s door.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2022
  14. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    Back in 1970 I interviewed Auchinleck's sister as part of a school project. She worked in Cairo during the war. One comment I remember was "Neil Ritchie, he was such a careerist". And then an explanation that being seen to be keen to progress your career was a faux pas - it was "not the done thing."

    Ritchie was fortunate in having high level patrons. He had served as Brigadier General Staff for Alan Brooke as GOC II Corps. Others who failed in command in North Africa had their careers terminated by Churchill who gave orders that Cunningham and Godwin-Austin were not to be re-employed.
     
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  15. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Would only be valid as stated if Ritchie had asked to be relieved, especially in the kerfuffle that saw Godwin-Austen resign. He didn't, so has to carry some of the blame, for not being able to see that he wasn't up to the job he was in. Which makes this just another dig by Monty at Auchinleck.

    Sheldrake's note is quite fitting in this regard.

    All the best

    Andreas
     
  16. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    That’s what I said in my caveat…!
     
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  17. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    In Alanbrooke (Fraser), Page 249, which quotes Brooke’s diary of 19 May 1942:
    It is always Alanbrooke that is quoted as Ritchie’s foremost patron, but this diary note categorically contradicts this.
     
  18. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    The way that Ritchie got put in the position by Auchinleck (with Auk looking over his shoulder) makes me wonder if it would have been more difficult for Ritchie to say "I'm not up to it". On the other hand, if Ritchie really was such a careerist, he might have seen it as his big chance.
     
  19. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman Member

    When Ritchie returned to the UK after his sacking, he went directly to Buckingham Palace for a personal audience with the King. Most unusual. It was suggested to me years ago that his professional survival after the desert was due to two factors; first, that his wife was a Lady in Waiting to the Queen, and second, that Monty rescued him for a Corps Command almost in spite to Auchinleck. The second; a value judgement where there's no direct evidence. The first is bunk; in 1938 he was a "mere" Lt.Col. commanding an English infantry battalion (the King's Own). However, he did consider himself, by virtue of his links to the Black Watch ("More a religion than a regiment") to be the "senior Highlander" serving by 1943. I was corresponding with an author who was looking over a Brigadier's diary, who held considerable animus towards Ritchie on two counts; first, he utterly insisted that his (the Brigadier's) father join the dancing at a Highlander ceilidh when he was in poor health, which the Brigadier attributed to accelerating his father's demise. Second, the same Brigadier was given to understand by Ritchie that he would be given command of 52nd Lowland Division when it deployed overseas...and wasn't. For my money, his command of XII Corps in NW Europe was middling at best.
     
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  20. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    I think what may have played more of a role was Rommel's successful counterattack and the retreat to Gazala. Had he said 'yeah this is not me' after that, he would have been stuck with that failure (rightly so).

    All the best

    Andreas
     

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