General Sir Michael Gow RIP

#1
General Sir Michael Gow, Colonel Commandant Intelligence Corps from 1973 to 1986.
Passed away on 26 March 2013. I met the general a number of times; a real soldier with a great sense of humour.
Rest in Peace
 
#4
I am particularly saddened that this old warrior has passed away. As it said in his obituary, he was Colonel Commandant of the Corps for thirteen years, and for those of us who had the great pleasure of meeting him on those occasions when he either visited us in the Corps environment, or when we were serving in Divisional Headquarters etc those visits were always special. He was particularly proud to be associated with the Corps, and I believe, as an ADC to Her Majesty, the driving force to persuading HRH the Duke of Edinburgh to be our Colonel in Chief. As Commander in Chief BAOR, he would often be seen wearing the Corps Beret and the old Corps Pullover (which he had managed to persuade a Warrant Officer to part with). Everyone who knew him has a special tale to tell, but my proudest moment came in 1986, when as a Sergeant, I was asked to play the bagpipes for him at his Dining Out by the Corps Officers in Herford. At the conclusion of the evening, he stood up, and I swear there was a tear in his eye, as he told the gathered audience that he had waited 13 years for an Int Corps Piper to play for him.

I shall miss the wily old hero for his ability to treat both officers and soldiers together with kindness and humour. RIP Sir Michael, I doubt if anyone can match your enthusiasm and ability to support the Corps.

PS: Did I forget to mention that his wife, Lady Gow, was paramount in introducing the Green Beret to the Corps in 1977
 
#5
Well said Highland_Spy. General Gow was a very active Colonel Commandant and always keen to talk to the people actually doing the work, often leaving his 'posse' behind in the process. The Green beret story began a couple of years before when General Gow sought views on how to give the corps a distinctive accoutrement. There were a number of different ideas but the different coloured beret was most popular. The beret was introduced in 1977 with some Int Corps types giving it a first showing in BAOR at the Queen's Jubilee parade in Sennelager.
 
#6
Sorry to intrude into the Int Corps forum. General Mike was a true gentleman and he did not bad going from Guardsman to General and it will be an honour to attend his funeral on Tuesday.
 
#7
Sorry to intrude into the Int Corps forum. General Mike was a true gentleman and he did not bad going from Guardsman to General and it will be an honour to attend his funeral on Tuesday.
Strewth mate, don't apologise; your input greatly appreciated. The general will be in my thoughts on Tuesday.
 
#8
Sorry to intrude into the Int Corps forum. General Mike was a true gentleman and he did not bad going from Guardsman to General and it will be an honour to attend his funeral on Tuesday.
Johnboyzzz,

As Jim R says, don't apologise, we were proud to share General Gow with you. Because he rose all the way through the ranks, it gave him a unique insight into both sides of the house, and that special ability to talk to a person on an equal footing and not at them.
 
#9
Well said Highland_Spy. General Gow was a very active Colonel Commandant and always keen to talk to the people actually doing the work, often leaving his 'posse' behind in the process. The Green beret story began a couple of years before when General Gow sought views on how to give the corps a distinctive accoutrement. There were a number of different ideas but the different coloured beret was most popular. The beret was introduced in 1977 with some Int Corps types giving it a first showing in BAOR at the Queen's Jubilee parade in Sennelager.

I travelled up from Emblem in Belgium on 1st July 1977, when 4 Security Company and its sub-units gathered at Rhine Centre in Dusseldorf for our first "parade" with the Green Beret. Two days later I was on my way to an emergency deployment in Belize, where, along with the other three Int Corps personnel in the Force Headquarters, our new berets were bleached a lighter shade in the sun !
 
#10
There was a portrait of this gentleman in the Sgts' Mess at Templer Bks.
The portrait featured this good officer in his Royal Company of Archers finery, with the longbow unstrung in his left hand. Periodically a label was attached to the portrait frame - 'Inter-Services Snooker Champion 198#' a matter, I was told, he took in the best of humour.
May he Rest in Peace.
 
#11
Johnboyzzz,

As Jim R says, don't apologise, we were proud to share General Gow with you. Because he rose all the way through the ranks, it gave him a unique insight into both sides of the house, and that special ability to talk to a person on an equal footing and not at them.
HS, like you said he very much did talk and listen to all on an equal footing, after he retired and was chairman of Edinburgh branch of the Scots Guards Assoc, when we met up every month, he was an excellent story teller and many of which he was taking the mickey out of himself. I think we were fortunate to know such a gentleman, especially on my side as my father served with him, I served with his son and my son served with his grandson.
 
#12
... he was an excellent story teller.
One of his tales (I suspect tongue-in-cheek, but you never know) was of his arrival in a Scots Guards battalion immediately after being commissioned; he was more or less ignored by everybody above the rank of captain for six months or so, till one day he was summoned by the Adjutant and told that the Commanding Officer (no abbreviations, of course) wished to see him. The audience was a brief one and went something along these lines:

CO: "Michael, there are three cardinal rules which a Guards officer must strive at all times to observe ..."

(At this point, 'Michael' expected to hear mention of duty, leadership, courage, the honour of the regiment, etc.)

CO: "... He must never be seen to carry a parcel or use public transport, and he should hunt in Leicestershire at least twice a week."
 
#15
Funeral to be held in the Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh on Tuesday, donations will be taken for Scots Guards Colonels Fund and Canongate Kirk, with a memorial service in London later in the year.
 
B

benjaminw1

Guest
#16
As a mere TA Acorn Lance Jack he took time out to chat to me in Dusseldorf back in '81. A true Gent. RIP
 
#17
A thoroughly competent general, a fine man and an exemplar of a Colonel Commandant.
 
#18
Another "intruder" I'm afraid but I had to say something about one of the finest (if not the finest) officers I served under during 25 years in the army. Gen Gow was my comanding officer for a time in Second Battalion Scots Guards. I worked in the orderly room so saw at first hand what a great man he was. I played in the battalion "rock group" at the time and he took a real interest in us and actually arranged for the unit PRI fund to pay for us to make a record in a small local recording studio. This was in 1966/67 I think. I transferred to the RAOC in 1971 and in the late 70's was Superintending Clerk HQ 20 Armoured Brigade. He was (if my memory serves me well) CinC BAOR and when he made an official visit to our HQ, he recognised me straight away and actually asked if I was still playing the guitar!! He was a true gent and had something which not every officer has. He had the X Factor. I am truly saddened by his passing. I can fully understand why the members of your Corps would hold him in such high esteem.
 
#19
A cracking bloke and very down to earth. First met him at a Corps Day in Ashford many moons ago and when 94 MI Sect moved to the Castle it was quite common to see him on the way to or from the Mess. He worked hard well into retirement to help others and always struck me as completely selfless. RIP.
 
#20
A fine officer. As a volunteer officer he was asking me what I did. I said I was involved in the drive to stop the CND bother at Greenham Common. He then chuckled and regaled me with stories of how his daughter had been arrested at Molesworth using the powers that I'd had a hand in drafting! Real pleasure meeting him.

May he rest in peace.
 

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