Colonel AR (Reggie) Kettles OBE MC died on 30 October 2016 : the last surviving Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

Posted by webmaster | Uncategorized | Saturday 22 April 2017 9:08 am

Having served first in the Territorials he joined the 2nd Battalion in 1939 and was soon commissioned, just before his twenty first birthday.  They were in France and, during the retreat to Dunkirk on 21 May 1940, the battalion was involved in heavy action.  As a result of his leadership of a patrol which captured a German soldier he was recommended for a Military Cross, receiving instead a Mention in Dispatches.

The 2nd Battalion were then sent in 1943 to the invasion first of Sicily and later to reinforce the invasion at Anzio.  In the first, as a 24 year old Captain commanding A Company, he was seriously wounded and evacuated for recovery to North Africa.  On 21 March 1944, at the Anzio beachhead, he again showed great courage and leadership which resulted in his award of the Military Cross. 

After the war the old 2nd Battalion was renumbered the new 1st Battalion, the original having been repeatedly decimated by death, disease and injury in Burma.  With the 1st Battalion he served during the battalion’s tour in Malaya from 1950 to 1953, this time as a Major commanding the Support Company.  As a result of his outstanding leadership he was awarded a Military MBE.

After various staff appointments he returned to the 1st Battalion in 1957 where his leadership once more of Support Company was outstanding for its efficiency, not least in his organisational and administrative duties in Oman, Bahrain and Kenya. 

In 1959 he was posted to a staff appointment at NATO’s Northern Command and such was his ability and drive that he was advanced to be an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).  From NATO he was posted (January 1962) to assume command of the 1st Battalion which by this time was serving in 11 Brigade, 2 Division, 1st British Corps and based in Minden, West Germany, as part of the British Army on the Rhine (BAOR).

In March 1964 he handed over to Lt Col David Riddell-Webster who was in turn succeeded by Lt Col Leslie Dow both of whom predeceased him by many years.  Leslie Dow was Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion when it was disbanded in May 1968.

At Colonel Kettle’s funeral on 15 November 2016 Colonel Dudley Lucas (who had been his Adjutant in the 1st Battalion for nearly two years) described him as ‘quite unflappable: he never lost his temper or raised his voice’.  His honours and awards speak for themselves.

PRG

11 April 2017

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