Thomas Riddell-Webster

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Sir Thomas Riddell-Webster
Born12 February 1886
Died27 May 1974 (aged 88)
AllegianceFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg  British Army
Years of service1905–1946
Rank General
Unit Cameronians
Commands held2nd Battalion, Cameronians
Poona (Independent) Brigade Area
Southern Command, India
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order

General Sir Thomas Sheridan Riddell-Webster GCB DSO (12 February 1886 – 27 May 1974) was Quartermaster-General to the Forces during the Second World War.

General is the highest rank currently achievable by serving officers of the British Army. The rank can also be held by Royal Marines officers in tri-service posts, for example, General Sir Gordon Messenger the Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff. It ranks above lieutenant-general and, in the Army, is subordinate to the rank of field marshal, which is now only awarded as an honorary rank. The rank of general has a NATO-code of OF-9, and is a four-star rank. It is equivalent to a full admiral in the Royal Navy or an air chief marshal in the Royal Air Force.

Distinguished Service Order UK military decoration

The Distinguished Service Order (DSO) is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the Commonwealth, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat. Since 1993 all ranks have been eligible.

Quartermaster-General to the Forces senior position in the British Ministry of Defence, and previously the War Office

The Quartermaster-General to the Forces (QMG) is a senior general in the British Army. The post has become symbolic: the Ministry of Defence organisation charts since 2011 have not used the term "Quartermaster-General to the Forces"; they simply refer to "Chief of Materiel (Land)".


Military career

Educated at Harrow School and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, Riddell-Webster was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) on 16 August 1905. [1] [2] He was promoted to lieutenant on 30 September 1909 and to captain on 24 October 1913. [3] [4]

Harrow School English independent school for boys

Harrow School is public school for boys in Harrow, London, England. The School was founded in 1572 by John Lyon under a Royal Charter of Elizabeth I, and is one of the original seven public schools that were regulated by the Public Schools Act 1868. Harrow charges up to £12,850 per term, with three terms per academic year (2017/18). Harrow is the fourth most expensive boarding school in the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

Royal Military Academy, Woolwich military academy in Woolwich, in south-east London

The Royal Military Academy (RMA) at Woolwich, in south-east London, was a British Army military academy for the training of commissioned officers of the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers. It later also trained officers of the Royal Corps of Signals and other technical corps. RMA Woolwich was commonly known as "The Shop" because its first building was a converted workshop of the Woolwich Arsenal.

Officer (armed forces) member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority

An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority.

He served in World War I initially as a Staff Captain (appointed 3 November 1914 [5] ) then as Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General in France (17 July 1915 [6] ). He was brevetted to major on 1 January 1916. [7] On 9 July 1917, he was appointed Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General in France and Italy, with the temporary rank of lieutenant-colonel. [1] [8]

World War I 1914–1918 global war starting in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the resulting 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

After the war, Riddell-Webster relinquished his temporary rank of lieutenant-colonel on 1 April 1919. [9] He was promoted to the substantive rank of major and the brevet rank of lieutenant-colonel on 3 June 1919. [10] He became a Brigade Major with Irish Command on 21 July 1921. [1] [11] He was appointed Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General at the Staff College in 1922, and was brevetted to lieutenant-colonel on 12 March 1923. [12] After attending the Staff College, Camberley from 1924 to 1925, he was appointed as a General Staff Officer at Scottish Command in 1926. [1] In 1930 he was made Commanding Officer of 2nd Bn Cameronians, and promoted to substantive lieutenant-colonel on 16 December of that year. [1] [13] He was promoted to colonel on 27 June 1933, became Assistant Quartermaster General at the War Office that year and became Commander Poona (Independent) Brigade Area in 1935. [1] [14]

Scottish Command

Scottish Command or Army Headquarters Scotland is a command of the British Army.

Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) Infantry regiment of the British Army, 1881-1968

The Cameronians was a rifle regiment of the British Army, the only regiment of rifles amongst the Scottish regiments of infantry. It was formed in 1881 under the Childers Reforms by the amalgamation of the 26th Cameronian Regiment and the 90th Perthshire Light Infantry. In 1968, when reductions were required, the regiment chose to be disbanded rather than amalgamated with another regiment, one of only two infantry regiments in the British Army to do so, with the other being the York and Lancaster Regiment. It can trace its roots to that of the Cameronians, later the 26th of Foot, who were raised in 1689. The 1881 amalgamation coincided with the Cameronian's selection to become the new Scottish Rifles.

War Office department of the British Government responsible for the administration of the British Army

The War Office was a Department of the British Government responsible for the administration of the British Army between 1857 and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence. It was equivalent to the Admiralty, responsible for the Royal Navy, and the Air Ministry, which oversaw the Royal Air Force. The name "War Office" is also given to the former home of the department, the War Office building, located at the junction of Horse Guards Avenue and Whitehall in central London.

Riddell-Webster was promoted to major-general on 1 April 1938, becoming the Director of Movements and Quartering at the War Office. [1] [15] He also served in World War II, initially as Deputy Quartermaster General at the War Office (from 29 August 1939 [16] ) and then as General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Southern Command, India in March 1941. [1] He received the local rank of lieutenant-general on 7 January 1941, and was promoted to the substantive rank on 15 April. [17] [18] He was made Lieutenant General in charge of Administration in the Middle East in 1941. [1]

World War II 1939–1945, between Axis and Allies

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Southern Command (India) Indian Army command

Southern Command is a formation of the Indian Army, active since 1895. It has seen action during the integration of several Princely States into modern India, during the 1961 Indian Annexation of Goa, and during the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pakistani Wars. Lieutenant GeneralSatinder Kumar Saini is the current Southern Army Commander.

He became Quartermaster-General to the Forces in 1942: [1] he had a key role in establishing a ground supply route to China from Assam through Burma: the rehabilitation of occupied and liberated territories was a key issue at the time. [19] He was promoted to full general on 1 November 1942. [20] He also extended the use of collars and ties to the uniforms of other ranks. [21] He retired on 27 April 1946, after nearly 41 years of service. [22]

Assam State in northeast India

Assam is a state in northeastern India, situated south of the eastern Himalayas along the Brahmaputra and Barak River valleys. Assam covers an area of 78,438 km2 (30,285 sq mi). The state is bordered by Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh to the north; Nagaland and Manipur to the east; Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram and Bangladesh to the south; and West Bengal to the west via the Siliguri Corridor, a 22 kilometres (14 mi) strip of land that connects the state to the rest of India.

Collar (clothing) shaped neckwear that fastens around or frames the neck, either attached to a garment or as a separate accessory

In clothing, a collar is the part of a shirt, dress, coat or blouse that fastens around or frames the neck. Among clothing construction professionals, a collar is differentiated from other necklines such as revers and lapels, by being made from a separate piece of fabric, rather than a folded or cut part of the same piece of fabric used for the main body of the garment.

In 1946 he was given the colonelcy of the Cameronians, a position he held until 1951. [23]


Riddell-Webster was awarded the DSO on 18 February 1915. [24] On 12 September 1918, he was decorated as an Officer of the Order of the Crown of Italy. [25] He was awarded the French Croix de Guerre on 19 June 1919. [26] He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath, Military Division (CB) in the 1939 Birthday Honours, knighted as a Knight Commander (KCB) in the 1942 New Year Honours and promoted to Knight Grand Cross (GCB) in the 1946 New Year Honours. [27] [28] [29] He was decorated as a Commander of the US Legion of Merit on 14 May 1948. [30]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  2. "No. 27827". The London Gazette . 15 August 1905. p. 5621.
  3. "No. 28303". The London Gazette . 2 November 1909. p. 8015.
  4. "No. 28790". The London Gazette . 6 January 1914. p. 185.
  5. "No. 28981". The London Gazette . 20 November 1914. p. 9541.
  6. "No. 29267". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 August 1915. p. 8245.
  7. "No. 29438". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 January 1916. p. 570.
  8. "No. 30235". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 August 1917. p. 8436.
  9. "No. 31530". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 August 1919. p. 10978.
  10. "No. 31370". The London Gazette . 30 May 1919. p. 6815.
  11. "No. 32435". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 August 1921. p. 6749.
  12. "No. 32815". The London Gazette . 17 April 1923. p. 2814.
  13. "No. 33670". The London Gazette . 16 December 1930. p. 8078.
  14. "No. 33955". The London Gazette . 30 June 1933. p. 4382.
  15. "No. 34498". The London Gazette . 1 April 1938. p. 2153.
  16. "No. 34701". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 October 1939. p. 6711.
  17. "No. 35038". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 January 1941. p. 189.
  18. "No. 35163". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 May 1941. p. 2783.
  19. The Organisation and role of the Army Service Forces, by John D. Millet, Page 71
  20. "No. 35767". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 October 1942. p. 4747.
  21. The British army and the people's war 1939–1945 By Jeremy A. Crang, Page 61 Manchester University Press, 2000, ISBN   978-0-7190-4741-1
  22. "No. 37544". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 April 1946. p. 2035.
  23. "The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)". Archived from the original on 30 December 2005. Retrieved 3 March 2017.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  24. "No. 29074". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 February 1915. p. 1693.
  25. "No. 30895". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 September 1918. p. 10745.
  26. "No. 31409". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 June 1919. p. 7805.
  27. "No. 34633". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 June 1939. p. 3854.
  28. "No. 35399". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1941. p. 3.
  29. "No. 27407". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 1945. p. 5.
  30. "No. 38288". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 May 1948. p. 2917.
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir John Brind
GOC-in-C, Southern Command, India
March 1941 – October 1941
Succeeded by
Sir Brodie Haig
Preceded by
Sir Walter Venning
Quartermaster-General to the Forces
Succeeded by
Sir Daril Watson