Major-General Sir H G Ruggles-Brise KCMG CB MVO


Horold Goodeve Ruggles-Brise was born on 17 Mar 1864, the 5th son of Sir Samuel of Spains Hall Essex and Marianne Weyland Bowyer-Smith. He was educated at Winchester and Balliol College, Oxford. He went to Sandhurst and in 1885 was commissioned into the Grenadier Guards. He was adjutant of the 3rd Battalion from 1893-4, and also at the depot at Caterham in 1895. After Staff College he was promoted to captain on 1897. He was brigade major in the 1st (Guards) Brigade in the Boer War and was mentioned in dispatches for his good work at the battle of Gun Hill.

In 1903 he was Brigade Major of the Brigade of Guards and promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel on 20 July 1907, and CO of the 3rd Battalion for 4 years. He went on to command at the School of Musketry at Hythe with the rank of Colonel. Ruggles-Brise was praised for his training of men to fire rapidly, but criticised for delaying the development of anti-aircraft machine-guns in 1912.

He commanded the 20th Infantry Brigade in the 7th Division in Sep 1914 and was wounded on 2 Nov 1914 at Ypres. Like several other senior officers who got out among their units to exercise personal command during this confused fighting, Ruggles-Brise was wounded, being carried back 'half dead of a dreadful wound on a stretcher' on 2 November. During his convalescence he reverted to the half-pay list, but after returning to active duty in July 1915 he was appointed Brigadier-General, General Staff, at the Aldershot Training Centre.

He was promoted to temporary Major-General on 25 Sep 1915 and appointed to the 40th Division which contained the shorter men recruited for the 'Bantam' battalions. They took part in the Battle of the Ancre on Nov 1916 and captured Fifteen Ravine, Villiers-Plouich and Beauchamp. He was next posted to a staff position at Haig's GHQ and was given the job of informing Sir Hubert Gough 'as nicely as he could' that Gough was to be replaced.

After the War he was given many awards including Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George, in June 1919, thus becoming Sir Harold. He was an accomplished cricketer and won a Blue at Oxford as an all-rounder. He married Lady Dorothea Stewart-Murray in 1895. She was the elder daughter of the Duke of Atholl. They had no children. Ruggles-Brise died at the age of 63 on 24 June 1927 of pneumonia contracted after playing tennis a few days before.


Regimental details | Commanding Officers




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by Stephen Luscombe