Laughter is the Best Weapon by Charles Ritchie

ARRSE Rating
4.00 star(s)
With Foreword by HRH The Princess Royal

Charles Ritchie was a senior officer in The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment) ending his career as Brigadier and Colonel of the Regiment. He has written what I consider one of the strangest memoirs for a senior officer in that they are not about his soldiering prowess, but about how he went through life taking things a little less than seriously!

The book is a series of anecdotes of incidents that happened to him throughout his career, many of which would normally have been career ending for other officers. Ritchie is a ‘name dropper’ par excellence and he was not averse to using that in his career to get out of scrapes. He was good at imitating others and used that to some affect, again to get him out of scrapes or to get something he wanted. The stories he gives us are very frank, don’t hold back but I feel that there has been an element of “author’s licence” used in the telling.

Having said that, an officer is not usually picked to be ADC to Australian Governors, nor posted to a tour with BRIXMIS nor end up as Brigadier, commanding The Ulster Defence Regiment, if one is incompetent and a fraud.

What Charles Ritchie has done is bring together a bunch of stories of events that happened throughout his career, and maybe he was not as central to as many as he makes out. I feel that he should have not mentioned many officers by name when bringing them in to his tales as they may not feel the same way about them as he does.

Ritchie submitted his finished manuscript to Pen & Sword, then two days later very sadly died of a massive heart attack. He leaves though, a tale of mischief and derring-do covering 35 years in the Senior Line Regiment of the British Army. His impishness will be missed, but I feel that a few officers may wish to have words with him at some point in Valhalla. Laughter certainly follows this book.

Amazon product

Edit to add that pen & Sword, the publishers, are selling this at the face value price of £20.
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I have ordered this direct from P&S this morning .Knowing Charles this will be a good read, I suspect what's not in the book would be more "interesting".
I await the book in the fullness of time.
Having worked with him in Berlin,I know it will be a great read.

A sad loss to the World
I remember him from RMAS in 1974, although for the life of me I can't recall what his role was back then (Chief Instructor New College?) - but I can say that he was the type of officer that:

a) I wanted to serve under, and;​
b) Eventually become.​

Downstream I found that where (a) was concerned, they were (sadly) few and far between

As for (b) I've no clue.

You'd need to take that up with the troops I had the privilege to (try and) lead on to the doing of good things after Sandhurst.​
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