Members Login
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: Death of General Sir Roland Guy

Death of General Sir Roland Guy
Permalink Closed

General Sir Roland Guy GCB CBE DSO sadly died on 13th December 2005 following a long illness.  Funeral takes place at 1200hrs Wednesday 21st December 2005 at Milton Abbey, Milton Abbas near Blandford Forum.  Memorial Service take place at 1330hrs Tuesday 7th February at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea.

Martin Lile

Permalink Closed

What a loss.  Only met him a couple of times, but he left a lasting impression on me.  God bless you General, condolences to his family.  A sad loss to the Regiment.

John Fletcher 1st Bn RGJ

Permalink Closed

Battalion commander whose rigorous exercises in urban fighting paid off on the streets of Belfast

ROLY GUY brought to the appointment of Adjutant-General a wealth of experience and the warm, outgoing attitude towards everyone for which he had been known since Sandhurst. Critics of “yet another Green Jacket” getting this very senior post might have been more vociferous had they known two more would follow him. But he quickly proved a popular choice — not least because of his ability to listen to the views of all ranks rather than just rap out Army Board policy on problems of the day.

Problems there certainly were, and keeping junior officers and NCOs of quality in the service was one of the most demanding. By 1984, the pace at which operational tours of duty in Northern Ireland came round had been moderated by the extension of emergency tours to six months duration and “resident” tours to two years, allowing soldiers and their families to plan their lives with more certainty. But retention remained a concern.

Guy made strenuous efforts to iron out anomalies in the pay and pension systems arising from piecemeal changes over the years and Treasury insistence on phasing in increases. Here he was unable to make much headway in the face of financial demands for weapon system and equipment replacements, together with Margaret Thatcher’s insistence on holding down the salaries of the most senior ranks while increasing those lower down, so creating fresh anomalies.

Roland Kelvin Guy was born in Srinagar, Kashmir, the son of Lieutenant-Colonel Norman Guy. He was educated at Wellington and RMA Sandhurst, from where he was commissioned into the King’s Royal Rifle Corps in 1948. As a young officer he was selected to be adjutant of the Kenya Regiment, a Territorial Army unit comprising British expatriates in Kenya.

He was ideally suited to this environment and formed friendships which lasted his lifetime. Although the regiment was not committed as a whole to anti-terrorist operations against the Mau-Mau, many individuals were. Thus he gained active service experience which proved useful during the Indonesian confrontation with Malaysia in the early 1960s and later in Northern Ireland.

He took over command of 1st Battalion The Royal Green Jackets while they were serving in Northern Ireland in September 1969 before taking them to Celle, in Germany, to convert to the mechanised infantry role. As with virtually every other field force unit in the Army of the Rhine, his battalion took their turn of duty in Northern Ireland.

The spring of 1971 saw swiftly mounting tension in the Province as the Stormont Government of Prime Minister Brian Faulkner sought to restore the pre-1969 status quo. Guy knew that his riflemen would face a very different attitude in the republican areas from the friendly reception they had received in 1969, and he trained them rigorously for it. Urban tactics, accurate shooting and physical fitness were the key elements. Each platoon was put through a street-fighting exercise in an abandoned German village, and selected NCOs were taught the Aikido method of restraining a prisoner.

Guy’s battalion was responsible for Belfast city centre during the 1971 introduction of internment, which brought a week of rioting, sniping and bomb explosions. He handled subordinates with the Green Jackets’ traditional light touch, but kept a firm grip on his operational area by getting out and about to see for himself, encouraging and inspiring his riflemen. They appreciated his style and used their initiative accordingly. As well as keeping a lid on the week of mayhem following the introduction of internment, his battalion scored notable successes against the increasingly confident Provisional IRA.

The training schedule in Celle paid off in the form of captured arms and explosives, but the battalion suffered two men killed and 13 wounded. Guy received the DSO in the first list of operational awards to recognise that the security forces were engaged not in “keeping the peace” but — because the peace had already been lost — in a counter-terrorist campaign.

Having been the Military Assistant to the Adjutant-General as a lieutenant-colonel prior to his battalion command, Guy was eligible for further promotion on its completion. He was promoted colonel in late 1971 to become chief of staff of HQ Near East Land Forces in Cyprus before taking command of 24 Air-portable Brigade in England the following year. The 1975 course at the Royal College of Defence Studies followed, and in 1976 he became, as a brigadier, the Principal Staff Officer to the Chief of the Defence Staff.

This was his third appointment in the Ministry so he knew his way around. Because of the death in office of Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Andrew Humphrey in 1977, Guy was PSO to four Chiefs of the Defence Staff: first to Field Marshal Lord Carver, then to Sir Andrew Humphrey, followed by Admiral Sir Edward Ashmore and finally Marshal of the RAF Lord Cameron. Once, when the redoubtable Field Marshal Carver had dismissed a paper Guy put in front of him with the cursory comment, “You don’t know what you are talking about,” in his characteristically forthright way Guy literally stamped his foot and replied, “Field Marshal, it is not I who does not know what he is talking about, but you.” His survival was an apt demonstration of the regard in which he was held.

The time he spent as PSO virtually precluded him from a divisional command as he was almost 50, marginally beyond the age for such an appointment in peacetime. He went instead to be Chief of Staff HQ BAOR, where two successful years were rewarded by his appointment as Military Secretary in the rank of lieutenant-general. He was appointed Adjutant-General in 1984.

Although his time in Belfast showed a tough and steely side to his nature when this was needed, Guy was essentially a friendly and considerate man. Always passionate about his beliefs, he was, as demonstrated by his outburst to Field Marshal Carver, fearless in expressing them. He held that everyone merited a hearing and understanding, an attitude reflected not only as a commanding officer but also later in his handling of the In Pensioners of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, of which he became governor in 1986.

In his retirement he became an accomplished pianist and an enthusiastic and proficient watercolourist. He was chairman of the Army Benevolent Fund, 1987-93, of the Royal Cambridge Home for Soldiers’ Widows, 1987-93, and chairman of the board of governors of Wellington College, 1990-98.

He married Dierdre, daughter of Brigadier P. H. Graves Morris, DSO, MC, in 1957. She survives him with their two daughters.

General Sir Roland Guy, GCB, CBE, DSO, Adjutant-General, 1984-86, was born on June 25, 1928. He died on December 13, 2005, aged 77.,,60-1927318,00.html

Bob Burns (Capt RAPC)Rtd

Permalink Closed

Re:Death of General Sir Roland Guy

It is with deep regret that I have learned of the passing of my ex Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion The Royal Green Jackets whom I had the honour to serve with from September 1969 in Belfast, Tidworth and Celle.

My sad news,via the website of The Royal Green Jackets, came as a great shock.

Farewell General. A finer Gentleman and Commanding Officer one would ever wish to meet.

Our codolances to Dierdre and Daughters.

Page 1 of 1  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to

Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard