Military (& related) obituaries

Apparently (according to the DT I think) he sadly took his own life.

Am reading a new biography of Professor Frank Pantridge, RAMC, MC, FEPOW.

Having gone into captivity after Singapore at 11.5 stones, he was released in 1945 at 4.5 stones.

Reportedly, having fought so hard to retain his own life, he loathed suicide cases.
 

Warrant Officer ‘Norrie’ Norrell, served the Queen in the Royal Yacht Britannia for more than three decades – obituary​

He often acted as minder to the royal children, but was once reprimanded for making the Princess of Wales feel like a naughty schoolgirl
Norrell with his statue by the Royal Yacht Britannia at Leith

Norrell with his statue by the Royal Yacht Britannia at Leith
Warrant Officer “Norrie” Norrell, who has died aged 87, was a yachtsman who gave unstintingly loyal and dedicated service to the Royal family.
His 34 years’ service and 750,000 nautical miles in the Royal Yacht Britannia, from Able Seaman to Warrant Officer, made him the longest serving “yottie” in the ship which the Queen once described as “the only place where I can truly relax”.
“It was the Queen’s home,” Norrell told an interviewer. “Wherever she went in the world, she could come back at night to her own staff. It was somewhere where she could kick her shoes off and relax.”
Among the earliest state visits during Norrell’s service were Princess Margaret’s tour of East Africa and the Duke of Edinburgh’s opening of the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956, the Queen’s visit to Portugal in 1957, and the opening of the St Lawrence Seaway in 1959. But many of Norrell’s memories were much more personal.


He recalled organising treasure hunts for the young Prince Charles and Princess Anne, the children pretending to steer Britannia as though they were driving a car; and teaching the younger princes to fly kites and lay lobster pots. Once he received a note from a royal nanny to say they were learning words they did not understand.
He also recalled a grown-up Charles introducing the first double bed in Britannia, for his honeymoon with the Princess of Wales, and the night when Diana played the piano in the seamen’s recreation space, when Norrell reminded her: “Your Royal Highness, you should not be here, I am quite happy to escort you back to your quarters.”
The next day he was reprimanded by the Flag Officer Royal Yachts, after the Princess complained that he had made her feel like a naughty schoolgirl.
Norrell in 1978

Norrell in 1978
Norrell helped to organise mock garden fetes in the Yacht and, at a sod’s opera, made the Queen laugh at a rendition of We Are The Ovaltineys (the theme to the Ovaltine children’s club) using words which had been specially written for her.
Meanwhile Norrell, who had joined Britannia while she was building, rose from triturator operator (“a rather grand name for the garbage man”) to Chief Petty Officer and Coxswain of the Royal Barge, responsible for training other boats’ crews and for maintenance.
He progressed to Warrant Officer and Coxswain of the Royal Yacht herself, responsible for the good order and discipline of all ratings. The Queen ignored an edict that Royal Yachtsmen should not be referred to by nickname, calling him “Norrie”, and in 1973 he was awarded the Royal Victorian Medal, which is in the personal gift of the Sovereign.
Ellis Victor Norrell was born on December 7 1933 in Portland, Dorset, and educated at Chichester High School for Boys, before joining the Navy at the boys’ training establishment, HMS St Vincent, in Gosport. He served in the battleship Vanguard, the depot ships Montclare and Adamant, the minesweeper Lioness, and in the stone frigate Dryad and in Nelson’s Victory when he qualified as a radar plotter and as a shallow water diver.
His father, who had been a Boy Seaman in the previous Royal Yacht, Victoria and Albert, was pleased when in 1954 young Norrell was interviewed and accepted into the Permanent Royal Yacht Service. During his subsequent service in Britannia, his untiring personal effort set an example of sound seamanship and leadership which was an inspiration to all.
In 1988 Norrell was made a member of the Royal Victorian Order, discharged to pension, and immediately re-employed at Windsor Castle. There he joined the royal household, where he spent the next eight years responsible for the security of Royal heirlooms during refurbishment of parts of the Castle, particularly after the fire in 1992.
Ellis Norrell married, in 1957, Grace Michie, who died in 2005; he is survived by their three daughters.
Warrant Officer E V Norrell, born December 7 1933, died October 9 2021
 

Warrant Officer ‘Norrie’ Norrell, served the Queen in the Royal Yacht Britannia for more than three decades – obituary​

He often acted as minder to the royal children, but was once reprimanded for making the Princess of Wales feel like a naughty schoolgirl
Norrell with his statue by the Royal Yacht Britannia at Leith

Norrell with his statue by the Royal Yacht Britannia at Leith
Warrant Officer “Norrie” Norrell, who has died aged 87, was a yachtsman who gave unstintingly loyal and dedicated service to the Royal family.
His 34 years’ service and 750,000 nautical miles in the Royal Yacht Britannia, from Able Seaman to Warrant Officer, made him the longest serving “yottie” in the ship which the Queen once described as “the only place where I can truly relax”.
“It was the Queen’s home,” Norrell told an interviewer. “Wherever she went in the world, she could come back at night to her own staff. It was somewhere where she could kick her shoes off and relax.”
Among the earliest state visits during Norrell’s service were Princess Margaret’s tour of East Africa and the Duke of Edinburgh’s opening of the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956, the Queen’s visit to Portugal in 1957, and the opening of the St Lawrence Seaway in 1959. But many of Norrell’s memories were much more personal.


He recalled organising treasure hunts for the young Prince Charles and Princess Anne, the children pretending to steer Britannia as though they were driving a car; and teaching the younger princes to fly kites and lay lobster pots. Once he received a note from a royal nanny to say they were learning words they did not understand.
He also recalled a grown-up Charles introducing the first double bed in Britannia, for his honeymoon with the Princess of Wales, and the night when Diana played the piano in the seamen’s recreation space, when Norrell reminded her: “Your Royal Highness, you should not be here, I am quite happy to escort you back to your quarters.”
The next day he was reprimanded by the Flag Officer Royal Yachts, after the Princess complained that he had made her feel like a naughty schoolgirl.
Norrell in 1978

Norrell in 1978
Norrell helped to organise mock garden fetes in the Yacht and, at a sod’s opera, made the Queen laugh at a rendition of We Are The Ovaltineys (the theme to the Ovaltine children’s club) using words which had been specially written for her.
Meanwhile Norrell, who had joined Britannia while she was building, rose from triturator operator (“a rather grand name for the garbage man”) to Chief Petty Officer and Coxswain of the Royal Barge, responsible for training other boats’ crews and for maintenance.
He progressed to Warrant Officer and Coxswain of the Royal Yacht herself, responsible for the good order and discipline of all ratings. The Queen ignored an edict that Royal Yachtsmen should not be referred to by nickname, calling him “Norrie”, and in 1973 he was awarded the Royal Victorian Medal, which is in the personal gift of the Sovereign.
Ellis Victor Norrell was born on December 7 1933 in Portland, Dorset, and educated at Chichester High School for Boys, before joining the Navy at the boys’ training establishment, HMS St Vincent, in Gosport. He served in the battleship Vanguard, the depot ships Montclare and Adamant, the minesweeper Lioness, and in the stone frigate Dryad and in Nelson’s Victory when he qualified as a radar plotter and as a shallow water diver.
His father, who had been a Boy Seaman in the previous Royal Yacht, Victoria and Albert, was pleased when in 1954 young Norrell was interviewed and accepted into the Permanent Royal Yacht Service. During his subsequent service in Britannia, his untiring personal effort set an example of sound seamanship and leadership which was an inspiration to all.
In 1988 Norrell was made a member of the Royal Victorian Order, discharged to pension, and immediately re-employed at Windsor Castle. There he joined the royal household, where he spent the next eight years responsible for the security of Royal heirlooms during refurbishment of parts of the Castle, particularly after the fire in 1992.
Ellis Norrell married, in 1957, Grace Michie, who died in 2005; he is survived by their three daughters.
Warrant Officer E V Norrell, born December 7 1933, died October 9 2021
I’ll bet he has taken some right Royal stories to the grave with him. RIP Norrie FN
 

Auld-Yin

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Obituary: Major General Mark Strudwick, former head of army in Scotland and Governor of Edinburgh Castle​

Major General Mark Jeremy Strudwick CBE KStJ, soldier. Born: 19 April, 1945 in Whitstable, Kent. Died: 26 September, 2021 in Livingston, aged 76​

By Alison Shaw
Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 7:00 am
Mark Strudwick pictured on the day he was made General Officer in Command in Scotland and Governor of Edinburgh Castle
Mark Strudwick pictured on the day he was made General Officer in Command in Scotland and Governor of Edinburgh Castle
https://www.scotsman.com/news/peopl...inburgh-castle-3415654#disqus-comment-section
Mark Strudwick joined the army for adventure and it certainly wasn’t in short supply: he served in numerous trouble spots, was mentioned twice in despatches, helped catch a triple killer and became General Officer Commanding the army in Scotland.
When he had finished soldiering he went on to head the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust, (PSYBT) helping countless youngsters make their way in business, including Scots bra queen Michelle Mone, now Baroness Mone of Mayfair OBE.

His was a life defined by service which included passionate commitment to the Order of St John where he was both prior and chair of St John Scotland, supporting its international work and recognised for his inspired leadership with the award of Officer of Merit military division (with swords).

The son of book publisher and artist Ronald Strudwick and his wife Mary, he was born in Kent and educated at St Edmund’s School, Canterbury before training at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Commissioned into the Royal Scots in 1966, he served in the UK, with the British Army of the Rhine, in Cyprus, Canada, India and Northern Ireland where he was mentioned in despatches. His first MiD, in 1984, followed a challenging tour of duty in west Balfast where he dealt with some serious rioting. The second was as Brigade Commander, 3 Infantry Brigade, in South Armagh. He was awarded the CBE for his leadership during the building of permanent vehicle check points and observation towers in the area.

In the mid-1980s he commanded 1st Battalion, the Royal Scots, and faced one of its blackest days when three soldiers were executed by one of their colleagues during a pay roll heist. Corporal Andrew Walker had signed out a sub-machine gun from an armoury before shooting the three men who had just picked up the £19,000 army payroll for Glencorse barracks in Penicuik. The bodies of paymaster Major David Cunningham, 56, Staff Sergeant Terrence Hosker, 39, and Private John Thomson, 25, were found in the bloodied snow of the Pentland Hills in January 1985. All had been shot in the head.
Strudwick ordered the battalion to account for and check all weapon systems. It was later found that a bullet in one of the victims forensically matched the gun signed out by their killer, who was convicted and sentenced to 30 years, reduced to 27 on appeal.

Meanwhile Strudwick spent a year as an instructor at Staff College, Camberley before going to Northern Ireland as assistant chief of staff at G1/G4 HQ. Among subsequent posts, he was deputy military secretary at the Ministry of Defence and aide de camp to HM The Queen, 1996-97, before becoming General Officer Commanding, Army in Scotland and, in tandem, Governor of Edinburgh Castle, 1997-2000.

After retiring from the army he applied to become chief executive of the PSYBT, motivated through his love of working with and supporting young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Over 12 years he led a team supporting youngsters to start and grow their own business, with a small army of volunteers providing advice, professional support and mentoring and the charity funding more than 650 companies with loans and grants.
However, he realised that, once they were up and running, further support was needed to help them flourish and so he introduced the charity’s Growth Fund for those who wanted to take their business to the next level. Many helped through the PSYBT have gone on to become household names, such as Michelle Mone and Louise McDonald who set up the women’s health and fitness club franchise Curves.

Another large part of his life was the Order of St John, of which he had been Prior since 2015 until June this year. He led the organisation through a period of significant change, refocusing its efforts on building charitable services run by St John volunteers to benefit Scottish communities. He was also enthusiastic about St John Scotland’s international work, visiting the St John eye Hospital in Jerusalem and St John Malawi on several occasions.

He died two days before he was due to be invested with the order’s Officer of Merit award. The citation praised his leadership which led to a substantial increase in charitable services, the stabilisation of membership and impressive growth in volunteers. During his tenure the patient transport provision for renal and cancer treatment more than doubled and training was given to 500,000 citizens in bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation with more than 200 public defibrillators supplied around Scotland.
He was also a senior member of the Royal Company of Archers (the Queen’s bodyguard for Scotland) and had been involved since 1994, a lieutenant since 2018. Other offices he held included: Her Majesty’s Commissioner, Queen Victoria School, Dunblane; governor of the Royal School, Bath and Gordonstoun; chairman of Scottish Veterans’ Residences and trustee of Historic Scotland Foundation.
Although his life was hectic, he also managed to squeeze in hobbies of golf, shooting, fishing and sailing and had served as Commodore of the Infantry Sailing Association.
In all of his endeavours he always had the backing of a supportive wife, firstly Jan, whom he met at a tennis party in Glencorse and who predeceased him, and then Sue, whom he met on the sidelines while watching their grandchildren play sport at the same prep school.

He is survived by Sue, his children Piers and Sara, step-children Jeremy, Robin and Sacha, four grandchildren and 11 step-grandchildren.

From today's The Scotsman

 

Obituary: Major General Mark Strudwick, former head of army in Scotland and Governor of Edinburgh Castle​

Major General Mark Jeremy Strudwick CBE KStJ, soldier. Born: 19 April, 1945 in Whitstable, Kent. Died: 26 September, 2021 in Livingston, aged 76​

By Alison Shaw
Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 7:00 am
Mark Strudwick pictured on the day he was made General Officer in Command in Scotland and Governor of Edinburgh Castle
Mark Strudwick pictured on the day he was made General Officer in Command in Scotland and Governor of Edinburgh Castle
Obituary: Major General Mark Strudwick, former head of army in Scotland and Governor of Edinburgh Castle
Mark Strudwick joined the army for adventure and it certainly wasn’t in short supply: he served in numerous trouble spots, was mentioned twice in despatches, helped catch a triple killer and became General Officer Commanding the army in Scotland.
When he had finished soldiering he went on to head the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust, (PSYBT) helping countless youngsters make their way in business, including Scots bra queen Michelle Mone, now Baroness Mone of Mayfair OBE.

His was a life defined by service which included passionate commitment to the Order of St John where he was both prior and chair of St John Scotland, supporting its international work and recognised for his inspired leadership with the award of Officer of Merit military division (with swords).

The son of book publisher and artist Ronald Strudwick and his wife Mary, he was born in Kent and educated at St Edmund’s School, Canterbury before training at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Commissioned into the Royal Scots in 1966, he served in the UK, with the British Army of the Rhine, in Cyprus, Canada, India and Northern Ireland where he was mentioned in despatches. His first MiD, in 1984, followed a challenging tour of duty in west Balfast where he dealt with some serious rioting. The second was as Brigade Commander, 3 Infantry Brigade, in South Armagh. He was awarded the CBE for his leadership during the building of permanent vehicle check points and observation towers in the area.

In the mid-1980s he commanded 1st Battalion, the Royal Scots, and faced one of its blackest days when three soldiers were executed by one of their colleagues during a pay roll heist. Corporal Andrew Walker had signed out a sub-machine gun from an armoury before shooting the three men who had just picked up the £19,000 army payroll for Glencorse barracks in Penicuik. The bodies of paymaster Major David Cunningham, 56, Staff Sergeant Terrence Hosker, 39, and Private John Thomson, 25, were found in the bloodied snow of the Pentland Hills in January 1985. All had been shot in the head.
Strudwick ordered the battalion to account for and check all weapon systems. It was later found that a bullet in one of the victims forensically matched the gun signed out by their killer, who was convicted and sentenced to 30 years, reduced to 27 on appeal.

Meanwhile Strudwick spent a year as an instructor at Staff College, Camberley before going to Northern Ireland as assistant chief of staff at G1/G4 HQ. Among subsequent posts, he was deputy military secretary at the Ministry of Defence and aide de camp to HM The Queen, 1996-97, before becoming General Officer Commanding, Army in Scotland and, in tandem, Governor of Edinburgh Castle, 1997-2000.

After retiring from the army he applied to become chief executive of the PSYBT, motivated through his love of working with and supporting young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Over 12 years he led a team supporting youngsters to start and grow their own business, with a small army of volunteers providing advice, professional support and mentoring and the charity funding more than 650 companies with loans and grants.
However, he realised that, once they were up and running, further support was needed to help them flourish and so he introduced the charity’s Growth Fund for those who wanted to take their business to the next level. Many helped through the PSYBT have gone on to become household names, such as Michelle Mone and Louise McDonald who set up the women’s health and fitness club franchise Curves.

Another large part of his life was the Order of St John, of which he had been Prior since 2015 until June this year. He led the organisation through a period of significant change, refocusing its efforts on building charitable services run by St John volunteers to benefit Scottish communities. He was also enthusiastic about St John Scotland’s international work, visiting the St John eye Hospital in Jerusalem and St John Malawi on several occasions.

He died two days before he was due to be invested with the order’s Officer of Merit award. The citation praised his leadership which led to a substantial increase in charitable services, the stabilisation of membership and impressive growth in volunteers. During his tenure the patient transport provision for renal and cancer treatment more than doubled and training was given to 500,000 citizens in bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation with more than 200 public defibrillators supplied around Scotland.
He was also a senior member of the Royal Company of Archers (the Queen’s bodyguard for Scotland) and had been involved since 1994, a lieutenant since 2018. Other offices he held included: Her Majesty’s Commissioner, Queen Victoria School, Dunblane; governor of the Royal School, Bath and Gordonstoun; chairman of Scottish Veterans’ Residences and trustee of Historic Scotland Foundation.
Although his life was hectic, he also managed to squeeze in hobbies of golf, shooting, fishing and sailing and had served as Commodore of the Infantry Sailing Association.
In all of his endeavours he always had the backing of a supportive wife, firstly Jan, whom he met at a tennis party in Glencorse and who predeceased him, and then Sue, whom he met on the sidelines while watching their grandchildren play sport at the same prep school.

He is survived by Sue, his children Piers and Sara, step-children Jeremy, Robin and Sacha, four grandchildren and 11 step-grandchildren.

From today's The Scotsman

But gosh that was a sobering read. Cpl Walker Royal Scots (ex COP) was a part of my training team at the Scottish Infantry Depot (Glencorse) in 1984 when we ran the Junior Brecon course - he who went onto slaughter the pay roll team.
 

Auld-Yin

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But gosh that was a sobering read. Cpl Walker Royal Scots (ex COP) was a part of my training team at the Scottish Infantry Depot (Glencorse) in 1984 when we ran the Junior Brecon course - he who went onto slaughter the pay roll team.
This was just one incident in a long and distinguished career. I don't see why it should have been so prominent in Mark's obit. He certainly had a varied life though, especially after leaving the army.
 
May be a repeat...
The longest-serving clan chief and decorated war veteran who was close friends with Prince Philip has died at 102-years-old.

Captain Alwyne Arthur Compton Farquharson of Invercauld and Monaltrie was the 16th chief of Scottish Clan Farquharson.

He was awarded the Military Cross for his role in the Battle of Normandy and worshipped at Crathie Kirk in a seat directly opposite the Queen, his Balmoral neighbour.

He and the Duke of Edinburgh also had coffee together at Sandringham until both no longer could.

 
May be a repeat...
The longest-serving clan chief and decorated war veteran who was close friends with Prince Philip has died at 102-years-old.

Captain Alwyne Arthur Compton Farquharson of Invercauld and Monaltrie was the 16th chief of Scottish Clan Farquharson.

He was awarded the Military Cross for his role in the Battle of Normandy and worshipped at Crathie Kirk in a seat directly opposite the Queen, his Balmoral neighbour.

He and the Duke of Edinburgh also had coffee together at Sandringham until both no longer could.

They are melting away from us and we will not see their sort again.
 
May be a repeat...
The longest-serving clan chief and decorated war veteran who was close friends with Prince Philip has died at 102-years-old.

Captain Alwyne Arthur Compton Farquharson of Invercauld and Monaltrie was the 16th chief of Scottish Clan Farquharson.

He was awarded the Military Cross for his role in the Battle of Normandy and worshipped at Crathie Kirk in a seat directly opposite the Queen, his Balmoral neighbour.

He and the Duke of Edinburgh also had coffee together at Sandringham until both no longer could.

This is the DTs take on him.

Captain Alwyne Farquharson, benevolent Scottish laird and longest-serving clan chief who won an MC after the Normandy landings – obituary​

r 2021 • 1:05pm

Farquharson in his early thirties in front of Invercauld House

Farquharson in his early thirties in front of Invercauld House
Captain Alwyne Farquharson, 16th Laird of Invercauld, who has died aged 102, won an MC in 1944 shortly after D-Day and later became Scotland’s oldest and longest-serving clan chief; he was also chieftain of the Ballater Highland Games for a remarkable 73 years and a landowner held in great affection by his tenantry and local community.
He inherited the extensive Invercauld estate straddling Aberdeenshire and Perthshire in 1941, aged 21, when his aunt Myrtle Farquharson (his mother’s elder sister) was killed in a London bombing raid. In the 1950s he gained the rare distinction of being able to describe himself as the Queen’s landlord after she leased a grouse moor from him adjoining her own land at Balmoral.
During the benevolent and extraordinarily long tenure of the genial Capt Farquharson, Invercauld struck visitors as an exceptionally happy and friendly place. So vast as to seem a world apart, the estate is smaller than it once was, but still covers close to 100,000 acres, extending from Deeside deep into the Cairngorms, where the scenery becomes more truly Arctic than anywhere else in Britain.
The Queen with Captain Alwyne Farquharson

The Queen with Captain Alwyne Farquharson
Owned by the Farquharsons since the 15th century, Invercauld encompasses several Munros, Glenshee ski resort, some of Scotland’s finest grouse moors and 24 miles of the River Dee, one of the country’s best salmon rivers, where Farquharson, a keen fisherman, once caught 16 salmon in a single day in the 1960s.
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Since the late 19th century the Farquharson family had tended to let Invercauld House to sporting parties during the summer months and move to nearby Braemar Castle. Farquharson and his wife continued this tradition after they took over in 1949, their tenants including the Queen Mother, who took it for several weeks in 1956 while the builders were in at Birkhall so that she could host her usual house parties for the grouse shooting.
A friend as well as neighbour of the royal family, Farquharson declined to allow Invercauld to be used for the filming of Mrs Brown, the 1997 film about the relationship between Queen Victoria and her ghillie John Brown.
But the cost of maintaining the main houses continued to rise, and in 2007 he let Braemar Castle on a 50-year repairing lease to the Community of Braemar, a charity which opens it to the public.
Invercauld House and some surrounding land is also now let on a long lease to the Swiss art dealers Iwan and Manuela Wirth.
Captain Farquharson was born Alwyne Arthur Compton in London on May Day 1919, along with his twin sister Mary, two years before their father inherited the Newby Hall estate in Yorkshire. Alwyne and his siblings grew up there and spent parts of the Easter and summer holidays at Torloisk, their other property, on the Isle of Mull. He was educated at Eton and in 1937 went up to Magdalen College, Oxford, to read Agriculture.
His studies were interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War, whereupon he joined the Royal Scots Greys and later saw action in Palestine, North Africa, Italy and France.
In his early twenties

In his early twenties
Shortly after the landings in Normandy in 1944, during the advance towards the village of Maltot as part of the 4th Armoured Brigade, the then Lieutenant Compton was ordered to keep in touch by wireless with an infantry battalion that was attacking the village “in order that vital information might be available”, so the citation for his MC recorded.
The situation soon became obscure, however, so he made his way by scout car from the infantry battalion HQ to the forward troops, who were being held up by determined enemy resistance. Despite the very obvious danger, “to clarify the situation he went forward alone on foot 200 yards in front of our own infantry and although under heavy fire established the fact that five Tiger tanks were holding up the advance”.
While doing so he was seriously wounded, but he succeeded in getting back to the wireless set up on his scout car and although in great pain sent a very clear report of what he had seen. He was awarded an Immediate MC for his “outstanding devotion to duty” in getting “information which was of great value in enabling a higher formation to make an important decision”.
Captain Alwyne Farquharson and his wife Frances arriving at the Braemar Highland Gathering

Farquharson and his wife ‘Francie’ arriving at the Braemar Highland Gathering: they threw themselves into the challenge of reviving the estate, and encouraged the endangered Gaelic language CREDIT: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/via Getty
While convalescing from his injuries after the war at Newby, Compton met Frances Lovell Oldham, the vivacious former fashion journalist and editor of Harper’s Bazaar, who was some 19 years older than him. They married in 1949, in which year Compton also assumed the name and arms of Farquharson and was recognised as Chief of the Clan.
Embarking on their new Highland life together, the Farquharsons threw themselves into the challenge of reviving a much encumbered and impoverished estate. Nothing much had happened there for a very long time and there was much modernising work to be done.
Writing about Invercauld in Country Life in 1953, the famous naturalist and folklorist Seton Gordon observed how the Farquharsons had “enhanced the family reputation” by the way they “interest themselves in each tenant”; Gordon also noted approvingly that they encouraged the old Gaelic language, which was in danger of being lost in this part of the Highlands.
Renowned for her dramatic flair and flamboyant sense of style, “Francie” Farquharson soon made her mark at Invercauld House by painting the entire exterior of a pagoda-style larder outside the kitchen in exuberant sugar-pink – “which looked marvellous against the snow,” as her husband remarked. She also spread her distinctive style liberally through the principal rooms of Braemar Castle, while taking great care to preserve the indigenous period feel.
In later years Francie persuaded her husband to receive paying guests at Invercauld, where she proved an alluring hostess with her charmingly softened American accent and her worldly yet also highly personal sense of humour.
She also set up a series of shops and boutiques, and organised theatre, film and music evenings in the local village; and she was famous for her fashion shows in the local hall in Braemar, where people were lavishly clad in brightly coloured tartan-checked mohair.
Farquharson with his second wife, of nearly 30 years, Patricia

Farquharson with his second wife, of 28 years, Patricia
Like his grandfather, Col A H Farquharson, a close friend of King George V, Capt Farquharson took an active part in local affairs, serving as a county councillor for Aberdeenshire from 1949 to 1975 and as a JP from 1951. Besides his role as chieftain of the Ballater Highland Games, he was also vice-patron of the Braemar Royal Highland Gathering; both events were regularly attended by members of the royal family.
He attended his last Games at the age of 100 in 2019, and received a standing ovation as he arrived with a guard of honour and made his usual eloquent and unscripted speech.
Frances Farquharson died in 1991. There were no children of the marriage, although Frances had a daughter from her second marriage, Marybelle Gordon (later Drummond).
One happy marriage followed another. Farquharson married secondly, in 1993, Patricia de Winton, and moved to live in Norfolk, near to where she had grown up.
Captain Alwyne Farquharson, born May 1 1919, died October 6 2021
 
This is the DTs take on him.

Captain Alwyne Farquharson, benevolent Scottish laird and longest-serving clan chief who won an MC after the Normandy landings – obituary​

r 2021 • 1:05pm

Farquharson in his early thirties in front of Invercauld House

Farquharson in his early thirties in front of Invercauld House
Captain Alwyne Farquharson, 16th Laird of Invercauld, who has died aged 102, won an MC in 1944 shortly after D-Day and later became Scotland’s oldest and longest-serving clan chief; he was also chieftain of the Ballater Highland Games for a remarkable 73 years and a landowner held in great affection by his tenantry and local community.
He inherited the extensive Invercauld estate straddling Aberdeenshire and Perthshire in 1941, aged 21, when his aunt Myrtle Farquharson (his mother’s elder sister) was killed in a London bombing raid. In the 1950s he gained the rare distinction of being able to describe himself as the Queen’s landlord after she leased a grouse moor from him adjoining her own land at Balmoral.
During the benevolent and extraordinarily long tenure of the genial Capt Farquharson, Invercauld struck visitors as an exceptionally happy and friendly place. So vast as to seem a world apart, the estate is smaller than it once was, but still covers close to 100,000 acres, extending from Deeside deep into the Cairngorms, where the scenery becomes more truly Arctic than anywhere else in Britain.
The Queen with Captain Alwyne Farquharson

The Queen with Captain Alwyne Farquharson
Owned by the Farquharsons since the 15th century, Invercauld encompasses several Munros, Glenshee ski resort, some of Scotland’s finest grouse moors and 24 miles of the River Dee, one of the country’s best salmon rivers, where Farquharson, a keen fisherman, once caught 16 salmon in a single day in the 1960s.
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Since the late 19th century the Farquharson family had tended to let Invercauld House to sporting parties during the summer months and move to nearby Braemar Castle. Farquharson and his wife continued this tradition after they took over in 1949, their tenants including the Queen Mother, who took it for several weeks in 1956 while the builders were in at Birkhall so that she could host her usual house parties for the grouse shooting.
A friend as well as neighbour of the royal family, Farquharson declined to allow Invercauld to be used for the filming of Mrs Brown, the 1997 film about the relationship between Queen Victoria and her ghillie John Brown.
But the cost of maintaining the main houses continued to rise, and in 2007 he let Braemar Castle on a 50-year repairing lease to the Community of Braemar, a charity which opens it to the public.
Invercauld House and some surrounding land is also now let on a long lease to the Swiss art dealers Iwan and Manuela Wirth.
Captain Farquharson was born Alwyne Arthur Compton in London on May Day 1919, along with his twin sister Mary, two years before their father inherited the Newby Hall estate in Yorkshire. Alwyne and his siblings grew up there and spent parts of the Easter and summer holidays at Torloisk, their other property, on the Isle of Mull. He was educated at Eton and in 1937 went up to Magdalen College, Oxford, to read Agriculture.
His studies were interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War, whereupon he joined the Royal Scots Greys and later saw action in Palestine, North Africa, Italy and France.
In his early twenties

In his early twenties
Shortly after the landings in Normandy in 1944, during the advance towards the village of Maltot as part of the 4th Armoured Brigade, the then Lieutenant Compton was ordered to keep in touch by wireless with an infantry battalion that was attacking the village “in order that vital information might be available”, so the citation for his MC recorded.
The situation soon became obscure, however, so he made his way by scout car from the infantry battalion HQ to the forward troops, who were being held up by determined enemy resistance. Despite the very obvious danger, “to clarify the situation he went forward alone on foot 200 yards in front of our own infantry and although under heavy fire established the fact that five Tiger tanks were holding up the advance”.
While doing so he was seriously wounded, but he succeeded in getting back to the wireless set up on his scout car and although in great pain sent a very clear report of what he had seen. He was awarded an Immediate MC for his “outstanding devotion to duty” in getting “information which was of great value in enabling a higher formation to make an important decision”.
Captain Alwyne Farquharson and his wife Frances arriving at the Braemar Highland Gathering

Farquharson and his wife ‘Francie’ arriving at the Braemar Highland Gathering: they threw themselves into the challenge of reviving the estate, and encouraged the endangered Gaelic language CREDIT: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/via Getty
While convalescing from his injuries after the war at Newby, Compton met Frances Lovell Oldham, the vivacious former fashion journalist and editor of Harper’s Bazaar, who was some 19 years older than him. They married in 1949, in which year Compton also assumed the name and arms of Farquharson and was recognised as Chief of the Clan.
Embarking on their new Highland life together, the Farquharsons threw themselves into the challenge of reviving a much encumbered and impoverished estate. Nothing much had happened there for a very long time and there was much modernising work to be done.
Writing about Invercauld in Country Life in 1953, the famous naturalist and folklorist Seton Gordon observed how the Farquharsons had “enhanced the family reputation” by the way they “interest themselves in each tenant”; Gordon also noted approvingly that they encouraged the old Gaelic language, which was in danger of being lost in this part of the Highlands.
Renowned for her dramatic flair and flamboyant sense of style, “Francie” Farquharson soon made her mark at Invercauld House by painting the entire exterior of a pagoda-style larder outside the kitchen in exuberant sugar-pink – “which looked marvellous against the snow,” as her husband remarked. She also spread her distinctive style liberally through the principal rooms of Braemar Castle, while taking great care to preserve the indigenous period feel.
In later years Francie persuaded her husband to receive paying guests at Invercauld, where she proved an alluring hostess with her charmingly softened American accent and her worldly yet also highly personal sense of humour.
She also set up a series of shops and boutiques, and organised theatre, film and music evenings in the local village; and she was famous for her fashion shows in the local hall in Braemar, where people were lavishly clad in brightly coloured tartan-checked mohair.
Farquharson with his second wife, of nearly 30 years, Patricia

Farquharson with his second wife, of 28 years, Patricia
Like his grandfather, Col A H Farquharson, a close friend of King George V, Capt Farquharson took an active part in local affairs, serving as a county councillor for Aberdeenshire from 1949 to 1975 and as a JP from 1951. Besides his role as chieftain of the Ballater Highland Games, he was also vice-patron of the Braemar Royal Highland Gathering; both events were regularly attended by members of the royal family.
He attended his last Games at the age of 100 in 2019, and received a standing ovation as he arrived with a guard of honour and made his usual eloquent and unscripted speech.
Frances Farquharson died in 1991. There were no children of the marriage, although Frances had a daughter from her second marriage, Marybelle Gordon (later Drummond).
One happy marriage followed another. Farquharson married secondly, in 1993, Patricia de Winton, and moved to live in Norfolk, near to where she had grown up.
Captain Alwyne Farquharson, born May 1 1919, died October 6 2021
The 'Excellent' attachment is for your considered postings on this topic. In the busyness of my days, I miss these obits. Thank you.
 

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The 'Excellent' attachment is for your considered postings on this topic. In the busyness of my days, I miss these obits. Thank you.
The one obit I hope you miss for a long time is your own! I too like reading about the full and interesting Iives shown in these obits.
 
The one obit I hope you miss for a long time is your own! I too like reading about the full and interesting Iives shown in these obits.
Being the sad person I am I have all the DT books of compiled Military Obituaries, amazing lives and incredible feats of derring-do.
This was a reprint for 1987, and the first in the book.

Lest we forget: Brigadier Ian Stewart, the first British officer to land on French soil – obituary​

ByTelegraph Obituaries3 November 2018 • 7:00am

The retreat from Mons, where Brigadier Ian Stewart was cut off from his battalion

The retreat from Mons, where Brigadier Ian Stewart was cut off from his battalion CREDIT: Robert Hunt Library/Windmill books/UIG via Getty images
This obituary has been republished as part of The Telegraph's commemoration of the end of the First World War. As well as the generals who planned missions and the poets who immortalised them, many ordinary British men and women helped bring about the Armistice on November 11 1918. Here, we remember them
Brig. Ian Macalister Stewart, the 13th Laird of Achnacone, Argyllshire, who died on March 14 1987 aged 91, was the first British officer to land on French soil and the first to be mentioned in despatches in 1914.
As an 18-year-old platoon commander with the 2nd Bn., Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, he led a charge and fell, claymore in hand like his Jacobite ancestors. The next moment his sergeant leant over him, saying “poor kid”, only to receive the caustic retort that he had only tripped over the sword.
In the retreat from Mons, he was cut off from the battalion but managed to commandeer a train, ordering the driver to head back down the line. He and his men then fell asleep and woke up to find they had passed the British troops and were almost in Paris.


Stewart was awarded the Military Cross in 1915, a Bar in 1917 and mentioned in despatches again. After being wounded he served the remainder of the war as a junior staff officer to Maj.-Gen. J.F.C. “Boney” Fuller in the Tank Corps and fought at the battle of Cambrai.
Afterwards, Stewart settled down to regimental life, serving in the West Indies, Peking, Hong Kong and India. Characteristically, he passed the Staff College exams but refused to take up his place, saying he never knew an officer who didn’t come away more stupid than he went.
From 1934 to 1937, he was commanding officer at Stirling Castle, the Argylls’ regimental depot, where he introduced several comforts, including a hot water system and a cup of tea for the troops after lunch.

Developing tactics​

On arriving in Malaya as commanding officer of the 2nd Bn. at the beginning of the 1939-45 war, he immediately started training his men in jungle warfare, developing those tactics of encircling then driving an enemy up against a roadblock which the Japanese were to employ so successfully in the campaign.
The Argylls fought with great distinction on the Malayan peninsular and were the last troops to cross on to Singapore Island. As they passed over the cause- way two pipers played “A Hundred Pipers” and the battalion’s march past, “Highland Laddie.”
On the island, Stewart ordered the enrolment of some Royal Marines who had survived the sinking of the battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse to form what were inevitably known as the “Plymouth Argylls.”
Stewart, however, escaped capture when Singapore fell because he had been ordered away to report to General Wavell – the newly appointed Supreme Commander, South West Pacific – on the best methods of fighting in the jungle.
His wife, Ursula, was evacuated in a naval intelligence ship three days before Singapore fell and was taken to Colombo where she found her husband outside a hotel.
Awarded a DSO in 1942, Stewart’s fighting days were now over. He was made colonel and chief instructor at the School of Infantry, then transferred to South East Asia Command.
He was appointed brigadier, General Staff, responsible for 11th Army Group training and commanded 144 Infantry Brigade in 1945. In his last two years before retirement he commanded Stirling District and did much for Polish troops stationed locally.

Youngest officer​

Ian MacAlister Stewart was born in India, the son of the expert polo-playing medical officer of the Poona Horse. He went to Cheltenham and Sandhurst, from which he passed out in December, 1913, to become the youngest officer in the British Army.
On retiring, he started to farm from dawn to dusk the 2,500-acre estate at Achnacone, which had been granted to an ancestor after the battle of Flodden in 1513.
While not a grand house, his home contained an immaculately ordered collections of relics, including those of two ancestors killed at Culloden, of another who was Nelson’s flag officer at Copenhagen and of yet another who was killed in the Peninsular campaign. There was also his mess tin which in 1914 stopped a spent bullet. It continued to rattle around inside ever after.
Ever innovative, he experimented with bringing sheep indoors for lambing and took a keen part in fighting the Forestry Commission’s attempt to cover the country with conifers.
He led the fight locally against plans to amalgamate the Argylls with another regiment as well as continuing to take a keen interest in the local Polish community.
He also owned a horse called Mistake the Second on which, weighing nine stone, he won many races. A tall, modest man with a fund of stories he continued to put his organisational skills to good use, running mountain rescue operations.
Stewart married, in 1937, Ursula, daughter of Bernard Morley-Fletcher, the niece and secretary to the Duchess of Atholl. She died in 1969. He is survived by a daughter.
This obituary was originally published by The Telegraph on March 20 1987
 

Due to its print size I have had to trim the content, sorry!

General Colin Powell, America’s first black Secretary of State, whose career was overshadowed by his 2003 speech on Iraq to the United Nations – obituary​



General Colin Powell in 1993

General Colin Powell in 1993 CREDIT: Bachrach photographers
General Colin Powell, who has died aged 84 of complications from Covid-19, rose from modest origins to be America’s top soldier, top diplomat, and, before the election of Barack Obama to the White House, the most successful black man in American political history; for many, however, his reputation was fatally tarnished by the speech he gave to the UN in early 2003 accusing the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein of “concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction” – a claim that gave a veneer of respectability to the invasion of Iraq, but turned out to be based on faulty evidence.
Powell served as President Reagan’s national security adviser and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff under President George HW Bush, finally becoming Secretary of State under President George W Bush in 2001; he was the first black man to hold the post.


Successive polls found Powell to be the most popular man in America. His modesty and obvious decency charmed the media, and his relaxed attitude to questions of race seemed to offer the hope that America’s racial problems could one day be solved.
Yet he was a complex icon – a military man who strongly resisted military involvement, black but of the establishment; and his popularity with the public was not always echoed by those he worked alongside or by his natural allies among leaders of the black population. General Norman Schwarzkopf, the Gulf War commander, observed that among his army comrades his “reputation was mixed”. Many in the African-American civil rights movement saw him as an “Uncle Tom” figure, collaborating with the white establishment, and viewed his Republicanism as treachery.
In fact Powell’s politics remained something of a mystery. Before he came out as a Republican in 1996, his only known political statement had been to put an “All the Way With LBJ” sticker on the bumper of his car during the presidential campaign of 1964. To lifelong Republican loyalists, including many in George W Bush’s team, Powell was not only not “one of us”, they feared he might even be “one of them”. He held liberal views on key issues such as abortion and was a regular guest at the Georgetown home of Ben Bradlee, the former editor of the Washington Post, whose parties were a magnet for the Left intelligentsia.
Powell’s credentials as a military strategist, too, sat uneasily with the instincts of the hawkish Right. Temperamentally cautious, he did all he could to prevent American troops exposing themselves to unnecessary risk, promulgating the so-called “Powell doctrine” that no hostilities should be initiated unless American interests were threatened, until the goals of the mission were clear and until the American military was in a position to deliver overwhelming force to achieve them.

“Of all manifestations of power, restraint impresses men most,” he would say, quoting Thucydides; but many believed that Powell’s caution was excessive and potentially inimical to America’s long-term interests.
In 1991, following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, he initially opposed the use of force, preferring economic sanctions, to the outrage of the then Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, who saw the invasion as a direct threat to American interests and had to order him to draw up military plans.
As the campaign got under way, Powell was adamant that the Iraqi forces should not be destroyed. Powell’s critics, including Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Secretary under George W Bush, argued that it was Powell’s caution which enabled Saddam Hussein to survive unscathed; Powell on the other hand pointed out that the goal of the mission had been to drive the Iraqis out of Kuwait, not to march to Baghdad.
The controversy did Powell no harm, however, and as Norman Schwarzkopf acidly remarked, Powell “was the only one who didn’t want to fight the Gulf war and the only one to come out an unqualified winner.”
Powell’s caution was in evidence again in 1992 when he did all he could to prevent American troops being sent to Bosnia, where, as he saw it, America had no strategic interests at stake. His reluctance prompted Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to demand angrily “what’s the point in having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” – to which Powell retorted, “American GIs are not toy soldiers to be moved around on some global game board.” According to his critics, Powell’s resistance to US involvement delayed intervention for three and a half years of bloodshed.
In the aftermath of the atrocities of September 11 2001 it seemed that the Powell doctrine might be eclipsed as the American public rallied behind the President’s call for an all-out war against terrorism. His initial suggestion that the government should seek to work with moderate elements in the Taliban was swiftly brushed aside, and it seemed that he had become isolated.

Yet Powell’s skill as a coalition builder proved indispensable in rallying international support for the war. It was he who persuaded General Musharraf of Pakistan to ditch his former allies in the Taliban; and his excellent relations with his Russian opposite number Igor Ivanov were thought to have helped to persuade President Putin to brush aside objections from the Russian military and weigh in behind the American-led campaign.
Powell argued that America needed to corral a worldwide alliance in a war on terrorism, in which military action would be just one of many battle fronts – others being international banking, policing, public security, espionage and surveillance. But in the early stages of the war, with the Taliban on the run, hawks in the administration, led by Rumsfeld, began to send out conflicting messages both about the timescale for ending the war in Afghanistan and the likelihood of America going it alone and widening the conflict to other states which sponsored terrorism – notably Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
When Bush issued a series of tough warnings to Saddam to re-admit UN weapons inspectors, Powell moved quickly to deny suggestions that America was about to take military action against Iraq. And although Powell advised Bush to give the UN inspectors time to do their work, he ultimately failed to rein in the hawkish vice-president Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their allies, who were determined to link Saddam with 9/11, and al-Qaeda with Iraq.
While Powell was wary of a military solution, he always maintained that he supported the decision to invade Iraq after the Bush administration concluded that diplomatic efforts had failed, and in February 2003 he was dispatched to the UN to sell the case for military action.
In his fateful speech to the security council on February 5 he referred to “first-hand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails … The source was an eyewitness who supervised one of these facilities.” He asserted that “there can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more,” adding that there was “no doubt” in his mind that Saddam was “working to obtain key components to produce nuclear weapons”.
The invasion began on March 19; Baghdad fell in April and hostilities formally ended at the beginning of May. But no nuclear, chemical or biological weapons were found by coalition forces, and two suspect trucks at the centre of Powell’s brief to the UN were later discovered to have only been used to produce hydrogen for artillery weather balloons.

With Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2001 CREDIT: CLARE KENDALL
By April 2004 it had become obvious that most of what Powell had told the Security Council was groundless, based on the testimony of a source who later admitted that he had made up the story. In a humiliating session with the US press corps Powell admitted: “It appears not to be the case that [the intelligence] was that solid but, at the time I was preparing that presentation, it was presented to me as solid.”
In fact doubts about the credibility of the source had circulated in US intelligence circles before the war, and as it later transpired, intelligence chiefs had not shared these doubts with Powell. But it was Powell, who later described the UN speech as a “painful and lasting blot” on his career, who found himself the fall guy.
From the moment he was forced to admit he had misled the UN, Powell’s departure was inevitable. The fact that it was delayed until November 15 2004, shortly after Bush was re-elected, was probably a reflection of his insistence on playing the good soldier to the bitter end.
Colin Luther Powell was born in Harlem on April 5 1937, moving as an infant to the south Bronx, where he was brought up.
Tony Blair once cited Powell as an example of a black American born into poverty who had risen to the top. In fact, Powell’s family owned a successful bakery business in Jamaica and was comfortably off by black American standards.
His parents had emigrated from Jamaica in the 1920s and Powell always felt that his origins had made all the difference to his prospects: “Blacks in the West Indies were slaves too, but the British abolished slavery earlier,” he once observed. “In the Caribbean they were more than an indentured people, But in the US, blacks were oppressed, totally oppressed.”

Young Colin attended elementary school and secondary school in the South Bronx, but his mother’s hopes that her only son would become a minister were disappointed. He entered the City College of New York to study Geology; by his own admission he was not a good student and did not really find his feet until he joined the CCNY Reserve Officers Training Corps, of which he soon became commander. When he graduated aged 21, he received a commission as Army second lieutenant, beginning a military career that would last 35 years.
In the 1960s Powell completed two tours of duty in Vietnam, first as a military adviser to the South Vietnamese Army and second as a battalion commander.
During his second tour, a helicopter in which he was travelling crashed, killing several of his comrades and wounding him and several others. Forgetting his own wounds, Powell fought to rescue his troops from the blazing wreckage. For his bravery he was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, two of America’s highest honours. But some detected a darker side: when in 1968, troops from his division slaughtered more than 300 civilians at My Lai, Powell was asked to investigate, but in his report declared: “Relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent.” There were suggestions that he had been party to a cover-up.
Picked for promotion, on return from Vietnam Powell studied for a Master of Business Administration degree at George Washington University, then after a stint in Korea went on to occupy a succession of high-level posts in and out of the military.
In 1976-77 he commanded the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), then after stints at the Department of Energy and as senior military assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, he served as assistant divisional commander of the 4th infantry division at Fort Carson from 1981 to 1983.
He then became senior military assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger, cutting his teeth on the invasion of Grenada and the bombing of Libya. After a further year as commander of US V Corps in Europe, in 1987 he was appointed National Security Adviser to President Reagan.

The late 1980s were a controversial time as the administration became involved in a succession of “dirty wars” in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. In his memoir My American Journey (1995), Powell admitted to being the “chief administration advocate” for the Contras, the Right-wing Nicaraguan paramilitaries. Though he was never directly involved, he was also familiar with the sanctions-busting arms sales to Iran that financed that support, and his testimony to a Senate inquiry into what became known as the “Iran-Contra” scandal was found to be “misleading”.
In 1989 Reagan’s successor as president, George HW Bush, named him chairman of his joint chiefs of staff – the youngest man, and the first black man, to hold the post. In 1991 he was given charge of Operation Desert Storm as supreme commander of all US air and land forces during the Gulf War.
He remained in post under President Clinton and, following the triumph of the Gulf War, his name was touted around Washington as an ideal candidate for senior office, if not the White House. But Powell stayed on at the Pentagon, presiding over America’s disastrous military intervention in Somalia and its refusal to intervene in Bosnia.
When he retired from the Pentagon in 1993, the pressure to stand for office became acute. The Democrat power broker Vernon Jordan approached him to see if he would run with Bill Clinton in 1996, but Powell admitted “I don’t even know what I am politically”. Instead he made a fortune on the lecture circuit and published his memoirs, which sold more than 1.5 million copies and earned him an estimated $6.5 million advance.
But he never dispelled the notion that he might one day take a political role and his foundation of an organisation called America’s Promise, dedicated to the advancement of young people, did nothing to quell speculation.
In 1996, after finally declaring himself a Republican, he stood up at the San Diego convention and made a speech calling for compassionate conservatism that left some delegates in a state of shock. But even though his liberal views on abortion (pro-choice) and positive discrimination for minorities (in favour) were at odds with those of the vast majority of his colleagues, his credibility in a Republican Party almost totally dominated by whites was thought to be crucial to the party’s electoral chances, so it came as no surprise when Bush made it clear that he was assured of a major job in a new Republican administration.
On December 16 2000, Powell was nominated by the incoming Republican President as Secretary of State. After being unanimously confirmed by the US Senate, he was sworn in as the 65th Secretary of State on January 20 2001.

On his first day at work in the State Department, staff were said to have formed an honour guard to welcome him and shake hands, some crying with relief after eight years of Clinton. “Don’t get me wrong,” Powell told them, “I’m still a general. If you perform well, you’ll be fine. But if you don’t, you’ll be doing push-ups.”
Though he was seen as an outsider in a Right-wing administration, Powell’s emollient approach helped to rescue Bush from some early foreign-policy scrapes. When China impounded a US spy plane and its crew which had strayed into Chinese air space, it was Powell who put together the formulation that secured the crew’s release. It was also Powell who persuaded Ariel Sharon to pull out of Gaza in April 2001, giving, so it was believed at the time, a new lease of life to the Middle East peace process.
But he never established a close relationship with Bush who, when prompted by the journalist Bob Woodward to say something nice about his Secretary of State, could only come up with: “Powell is a diplomat and you’ve got to have a diplomat.”
Powell often spoke of his role in Washington in terms of conflict, once (according to a diplomat’s account of the conversation) joking to Britain’s then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw that he did not have to go abroad to face a jihad: “There’s a jihad against me right here at home.”
As soon as he took up his job at the state department, it was clear that he had a struggle on his hands. The vice-president Dick Cheney’s office was swollen with foreign policy staff who second-guessed almost every element of foreign policy. When Powell suggested that the US would pick up on talks with North Korea where the Clinton administration left off, he was immediately contradicted by the White House and forced into retracting his remarks.

The announcement by Condoleezza Rice in March 2001 that the US would walk away from the Kyoto treaty on climate change was another a slap in his face.
When he was on a tour of central Asia in December 2001, Cheney and Rumsfeld tried to stage a policy coup and cut off ties with Yasser Arafat, declaring him a sponsor of terrorism. Powell had to fly home and fight a rearguard action to reverse the policy. A few months later, when he was in the Middle East attempting to restart Israel-Palestinian talks, orders came from the White House to dump a speech he had planned about an international peace conference.
Indeed, his influence was so diminished that in September 2001, a week before the al-Qaida attacks on the twin towers and Pentagon, Time magazine ran a cover story on him asking: “Where have you gone, Colin Powell?”
In fact, when the two hijacked aeroplanes hit the World Trade Towers in New York, Powell was in Lima, Peru, attending a conference of the Organization of American States. When he heard the news, he left immediately for Washington, but not before persuading conference delegates to pass a resolution affirming their faith in democracy.
After retiring from the State Department, Powell mostly returned to private life, picking up a few directorships and joining the motivational speaker circuit.

Powell was the recipient of numerous military decorations, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart. His civilian awards included the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and in 1993 an honorary knighthood from the Queen.
Colin Powell married, in 1962, Alma Johnson, with whom he had two daughters, and a son, Michael, who served as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from 2001 to 2005.
General Colin Powell, born April 5 1937, died October 18 2021
 

Due to its print size I have had to trim the content, sorry!

General Colin Powell, America’s first black Secretary of State, whose career was overshadowed by his 2003 speech on Iraq to the United Nations – obituary​



General Colin Powell in 1993

General Colin Powell in 1993 CREDIT: Bachrach photographers
General Colin Powell, who has died aged 84 of complications from Covid-19, rose from modest origins to be America’s top soldier, top diplomat, and, before the election of Barack Obama to the White House, the most successful black man in American political history; for many, however, his reputation was fatally tarnished by the speech he gave to the UN in early 2003 accusing the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein of “concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction” – a claim that gave a veneer of respectability to the invasion of Iraq, but turned out to be based on faulty evidence.
Powell served as President Reagan’s national security adviser and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff under President George HW Bush, finally becoming Secretary of State under President George W Bush in 2001; he was the first black man to hold the post.


Successive polls found Powell to be the most popular man in America. His modesty and obvious decency charmed the media, and his relaxed attitude to questions of race seemed to offer the hope that America’s racial problems could one day be solved.
Yet he was a complex icon – a military man who strongly resisted military involvement, black but of the establishment; and his popularity with the public was not always echoed by those he worked alongside or by his natural allies among leaders of the black population. General Norman Schwarzkopf, the Gulf War commander, observed that among his army comrades his “reputation was mixed”. Many in the African-American civil rights movement saw him as an “Uncle Tom” figure, collaborating with the white establishment, and viewed his Republicanism as treachery.
In fact Powell’s politics remained something of a mystery. Before he came out as a Republican in 1996, his only known political statement had been to put an “All the Way With LBJ” sticker on the bumper of his car during the presidential campaign of 1964. To lifelong Republican loyalists, including many in George W Bush’s team, Powell was not only not “one of us”, they feared he might even be “one of them”. He held liberal views on key issues such as abortion and was a regular guest at the Georgetown home of Ben Bradlee, the former editor of the Washington Post, whose parties were a magnet for the Left intelligentsia.
Powell’s credentials as a military strategist, too, sat uneasily with the instincts of the hawkish Right. Temperamentally cautious, he did all he could to prevent American troops exposing themselves to unnecessary risk, promulgating the so-called “Powell doctrine” that no hostilities should be initiated unless American interests were threatened, until the goals of the mission were clear and until the American military was in a position to deliver overwhelming force to achieve them.

“Of all manifestations of power, restraint impresses men most,” he would say, quoting Thucydides; but many believed that Powell’s caution was excessive and potentially inimical to America’s long-term interests.
In 1991, following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, he initially opposed the use of force, preferring economic sanctions, to the outrage of the then Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, who saw the invasion as a direct threat to American interests and had to order him to draw up military plans.
As the campaign got under way, Powell was adamant that the Iraqi forces should not be destroyed. Powell’s critics, including Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Secretary under George W Bush, argued that it was Powell’s caution which enabled Saddam Hussein to survive unscathed; Powell on the other hand pointed out that the goal of the mission had been to drive the Iraqis out of Kuwait, not to march to Baghdad.
The controversy did Powell no harm, however, and as Norman Schwarzkopf acidly remarked, Powell “was the only one who didn’t want to fight the Gulf war and the only one to come out an unqualified winner.”
Powell’s caution was in evidence again in 1992 when he did all he could to prevent American troops being sent to Bosnia, where, as he saw it, America had no strategic interests at stake. His reluctance prompted Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to demand angrily “what’s the point in having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” – to which Powell retorted, “American GIs are not toy soldiers to be moved around on some global game board.” According to his critics, Powell’s resistance to US involvement delayed intervention for three and a half years of bloodshed.
In the aftermath of the atrocities of September 11 2001 it seemed that the Powell doctrine might be eclipsed as the American public rallied behind the President’s call for an all-out war against terrorism. His initial suggestion that the government should seek to work with moderate elements in the Taliban was swiftly brushed aside, and it seemed that he had become isolated.

Yet Powell’s skill as a coalition builder proved indispensable in rallying international support for the war. It was he who persuaded General Musharraf of Pakistan to ditch his former allies in the Taliban; and his excellent relations with his Russian opposite number Igor Ivanov were thought to have helped to persuade President Putin to brush aside objections from the Russian military and weigh in behind the American-led campaign.
Powell argued that America needed to corral a worldwide alliance in a war on terrorism, in which military action would be just one of many battle fronts – others being international banking, policing, public security, espionage and surveillance. But in the early stages of the war, with the Taliban on the run, hawks in the administration, led by Rumsfeld, began to send out conflicting messages both about the timescale for ending the war in Afghanistan and the likelihood of America going it alone and widening the conflict to other states which sponsored terrorism – notably Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
When Bush issued a series of tough warnings to Saddam to re-admit UN weapons inspectors, Powell moved quickly to deny suggestions that America was about to take military action against Iraq. And although Powell advised Bush to give the UN inspectors time to do their work, he ultimately failed to rein in the hawkish vice-president Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their allies, who were determined to link Saddam with 9/11, and al-Qaeda with Iraq.
While Powell was wary of a military solution, he always maintained that he supported the decision to invade Iraq after the Bush administration concluded that diplomatic efforts had failed, and in February 2003 he was dispatched to the UN to sell the case for military action.
In his fateful speech to the security council on February 5 he referred to “first-hand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails … The source was an eyewitness who supervised one of these facilities.” He asserted that “there can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more,” adding that there was “no doubt” in his mind that Saddam was “working to obtain key components to produce nuclear weapons”.
The invasion began on March 19; Baghdad fell in April and hostilities formally ended at the beginning of May. But no nuclear, chemical or biological weapons were found by coalition forces, and two suspect trucks at the centre of Powell’s brief to the UN were later discovered to have only been used to produce hydrogen for artillery weather balloons.

With Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2001 CREDIT: CLARE KENDALL
By April 2004 it had become obvious that most of what Powell had told the Security Council was groundless, based on the testimony of a source who later admitted that he had made up the story. In a humiliating session with the US press corps Powell admitted: “It appears not to be the case that [the intelligence] was that solid but, at the time I was preparing that presentation, it was presented to me as solid.”
In fact doubts about the credibility of the source had circulated in US intelligence circles before the war, and as it later transpired, intelligence chiefs had not shared these doubts with Powell. But it was Powell, who later described the UN speech as a “painful and lasting blot” on his career, who found himself the fall guy.
From the moment he was forced to admit he had misled the UN, Powell’s departure was inevitable. The fact that it was delayed until November 15 2004, shortly after Bush was re-elected, was probably a reflection of his insistence on playing the good soldier to the bitter end.
Colin Luther Powell was born in Harlem on April 5 1937, moving as an infant to the south Bronx, where he was brought up.
Tony Blair once cited Powell as an example of a black American born into poverty who had risen to the top. In fact, Powell’s family owned a successful bakery business in Jamaica and was comfortably off by black American standards.
His parents had emigrated from Jamaica in the 1920s and Powell always felt that his origins had made all the difference to his prospects: “Blacks in the West Indies were slaves too, but the British abolished slavery earlier,” he once observed. “In the Caribbean they were more than an indentured people, But in the US, blacks were oppressed, totally oppressed.”

Young Colin attended elementary school and secondary school in the South Bronx, but his mother’s hopes that her only son would become a minister were disappointed. He entered the City College of New York to study Geology; by his own admission he was not a good student and did not really find his feet until he joined the CCNY Reserve Officers Training Corps, of which he soon became commander. When he graduated aged 21, he received a commission as Army second lieutenant, beginning a military career that would last 35 years.
In the 1960s Powell completed two tours of duty in Vietnam, first as a military adviser to the South Vietnamese Army and second as a battalion commander.
During his second tour, a helicopter in which he was travelling crashed, killing several of his comrades and wounding him and several others. Forgetting his own wounds, Powell fought to rescue his troops from the blazing wreckage. For his bravery he was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, two of America’s highest honours. But some detected a darker side: when in 1968, troops from his division slaughtered more than 300 civilians at My Lai, Powell was asked to investigate, but in his report declared: “Relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent.” There were suggestions that he had been party to a cover-up.
Picked for promotion, on return from Vietnam Powell studied for a Master of Business Administration degree at George Washington University, then after a stint in Korea went on to occupy a succession of high-level posts in and out of the military.
In 1976-77 he commanded the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), then after stints at the Department of Energy and as senior military assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, he served as assistant divisional commander of the 4th infantry division at Fort Carson from 1981 to 1983.
He then became senior military assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger, cutting his teeth on the invasion of Grenada and the bombing of Libya. After a further year as commander of US V Corps in Europe, in 1987 he was appointed National Security Adviser to President Reagan.

The late 1980s were a controversial time as the administration became involved in a succession of “dirty wars” in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. In his memoir My American Journey (1995), Powell admitted to being the “chief administration advocate” for the Contras, the Right-wing Nicaraguan paramilitaries. Though he was never directly involved, he was also familiar with the sanctions-busting arms sales to Iran that financed that support, and his testimony to a Senate inquiry into what became known as the “Iran-Contra” scandal was found to be “misleading”.
In 1989 Reagan’s successor as president, George HW Bush, named him chairman of his joint chiefs of staff – the youngest man, and the first black man, to hold the post. In 1991 he was given charge of Operation Desert Storm as supreme commander of all US air and land forces during the Gulf War.
He remained in post under President Clinton and, following the triumph of the Gulf War, his name was touted around Washington as an ideal candidate for senior office, if not the White House. But Powell stayed on at the Pentagon, presiding over America’s disastrous military intervention in Somalia and its refusal to intervene in Bosnia.
When he retired from the Pentagon in 1993, the pressure to stand for office became acute. The Democrat power broker Vernon Jordan approached him to see if he would run with Bill Clinton in 1996, but Powell admitted “I don’t even know what I am politically”. Instead he made a fortune on the lecture circuit and published his memoirs, which sold more than 1.5 million copies and earned him an estimated $6.5 million advance.
But he never dispelled the notion that he might one day take a political role and his foundation of an organisation called America’s Promise, dedicated to the advancement of young people, did nothing to quell speculation.
In 1996, after finally declaring himself a Republican, he stood up at the San Diego convention and made a speech calling for compassionate conservatism that left some delegates in a state of shock. But even though his liberal views on abortion (pro-choice) and positive discrimination for minorities (in favour) were at odds with those of the vast majority of his colleagues, his credibility in a Republican Party almost totally dominated by whites was thought to be crucial to the party’s electoral chances, so it came as no surprise when Bush made it clear that he was assured of a major job in a new Republican administration.
On December 16 2000, Powell was nominated by the incoming Republican President as Secretary of State. After being unanimously confirmed by the US Senate, he was sworn in as the 65th Secretary of State on January 20 2001.

On his first day at work in the State Department, staff were said to have formed an honour guard to welcome him and shake hands, some crying with relief after eight years of Clinton. “Don’t get me wrong,” Powell told them, “I’m still a general. If you perform well, you’ll be fine. But if you don’t, you’ll be doing push-ups.”
Though he was seen as an outsider in a Right-wing administration, Powell’s emollient approach helped to rescue Bush from some early foreign-policy scrapes. When China impounded a US spy plane and its crew which had strayed into Chinese air space, it was Powell who put together the formulation that secured the crew’s release. It was also Powell who persuaded Ariel Sharon to pull out of Gaza in April 2001, giving, so it was believed at the time, a new lease of life to the Middle East peace process.
But he never established a close relationship with Bush who, when prompted by the journalist Bob Woodward to say something nice about his Secretary of State, could only come up with: “Powell is a diplomat and you’ve got to have a diplomat.”
Powell often spoke of his role in Washington in terms of conflict, once (according to a diplomat’s account of the conversation) joking to Britain’s then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw that he did not have to go abroad to face a jihad: “There’s a jihad against me right here at home.”
As soon as he took up his job at the state department, it was clear that he had a struggle on his hands. The vice-president Dick Cheney’s office was swollen with foreign policy staff who second-guessed almost every element of foreign policy. When Powell suggested that the US would pick up on talks with North Korea where the Clinton administration left off, he was immediately contradicted by the White House and forced into retracting his remarks.

The announcement by Condoleezza Rice in March 2001 that the US would walk away from the Kyoto treaty on climate change was another a slap in his face.
When he was on a tour of central Asia in December 2001, Cheney and Rumsfeld tried to stage a policy coup and cut off ties with Yasser Arafat, declaring him a sponsor of terrorism. Powell had to fly home and fight a rearguard action to reverse the policy. A few months later, when he was in the Middle East attempting to restart Israel-Palestinian talks, orders came from the White House to dump a speech he had planned about an international peace conference.
Indeed, his influence was so diminished that in September 2001, a week before the al-Qaida attacks on the twin towers and Pentagon, Time magazine ran a cover story on him asking: “Where have you gone, Colin Powell?”
In fact, when the two hijacked aeroplanes hit the World Trade Towers in New York, Powell was in Lima, Peru, attending a conference of the Organization of American States. When he heard the news, he left immediately for Washington, but not before persuading conference delegates to pass a resolution affirming their faith in democracy.
After retiring from the State Department, Powell mostly returned to private life, picking up a few directorships and joining the motivational speaker circuit.

Powell was the recipient of numerous military decorations, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart. His civilian awards included the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and in 1993 an honorary knighthood from the Queen.
Colin Powell married, in 1962, Alma Johnson, with whom he had two daughters, and a son, Michael, who served as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from 2001 to 2005.
General Colin Powell, born April 5 1937, died October 18 2021
Interesting he made 4* and Chairman of the Joint Chief's but was not an West Point graduate!
 

Due to its print size I have had to trim the content, sorry!

General Colin Powell, America’s first black Secretary of State, whose career was overshadowed by his 2003 speech on Iraq to the United Nations – obituary​



General Colin Powell in 1993

General Colin Powell in 1993 CREDIT: Bachrach photographers
General Colin Powell, who has died aged 84 of complications from Covid-19, rose from modest origins to be America’s top soldier, top diplomat, and, before the election of Barack Obama to the White House, the most successful black man in American political history; for many, however, his reputation was fatally tarnished by the speech he gave to the UN in early 2003 accusing the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein of “concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction” – a claim that gave a veneer of respectability to the invasion of Iraq, but turned out to be based on faulty evidence.
Powell served as President Reagan’s national security adviser and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff under President George HW Bush, finally becoming Secretary of State under President George W Bush in 2001; he was the first black man to hold the post.


Successive polls found Powell to be the most popular man in America. His modesty and obvious decency charmed the media, and his relaxed attitude to questions of race seemed to offer the hope that America’s racial problems could one day be solved.
Yet he was a complex icon – a military man who strongly resisted military involvement, black but of the establishment; and his popularity with the public was not always echoed by those he worked alongside or by his natural allies among leaders of the black population. General Norman Schwarzkopf, the Gulf War commander, observed that among his army comrades his “reputation was mixed”. Many in the African-American civil rights movement saw him as an “Uncle Tom” figure, collaborating with the white establishment, and viewed his Republicanism as treachery.
In fact Powell’s politics remained something of a mystery. Before he came out as a Republican in 1996, his only known political statement had been to put an “All the Way With LBJ” sticker on the bumper of his car during the presidential campaign of 1964. To lifelong Republican loyalists, including many in George W Bush’s team, Powell was not only not “one of us”, they feared he might even be “one of them”. He held liberal views on key issues such as abortion and was a regular guest at the Georgetown home of Ben Bradlee, the former editor of the Washington Post, whose parties were a magnet for the Left intelligentsia.
Powell’s credentials as a military strategist, too, sat uneasily with the instincts of the hawkish Right. Temperamentally cautious, he did all he could to prevent American troops exposing themselves to unnecessary risk, promulgating the so-called “Powell doctrine” that no hostilities should be initiated unless American interests were threatened, until the goals of the mission were clear and until the American military was in a position to deliver overwhelming force to achieve them.

“Of all manifestations of power, restraint impresses men most,” he would say, quoting Thucydides; but many believed that Powell’s caution was excessive and potentially inimical to America’s long-term interests.
In 1991, following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, he initially opposed the use of force, preferring economic sanctions, to the outrage of the then Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, who saw the invasion as a direct threat to American interests and had to order him to draw up military plans.
As the campaign got under way, Powell was adamant that the Iraqi forces should not be destroyed. Powell’s critics, including Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Secretary under George W Bush, argued that it was Powell’s caution which enabled Saddam Hussein to survive unscathed; Powell on the other hand pointed out that the goal of the mission had been to drive the Iraqis out of Kuwait, not to march to Baghdad.
The controversy did Powell no harm, however, and as Norman Schwarzkopf acidly remarked, Powell “was the only one who didn’t want to fight the Gulf war and the only one to come out an unqualified winner.”
Powell’s caution was in evidence again in 1992 when he did all he could to prevent American troops being sent to Bosnia, where, as he saw it, America had no strategic interests at stake. His reluctance prompted Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to demand angrily “what’s the point in having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” – to which Powell retorted, “American GIs are not toy soldiers to be moved around on some global game board.” According to his critics, Powell’s resistance to US involvement delayed intervention for three and a half years of bloodshed.
In the aftermath of the atrocities of September 11 2001 it seemed that the Powell doctrine might be eclipsed as the American public rallied behind the President’s call for an all-out war against terrorism. His initial suggestion that the government should seek to work with moderate elements in the Taliban was swiftly brushed aside, and it seemed that he had become isolated.

Yet Powell’s skill as a coalition builder proved indispensable in rallying international support for the war. It was he who persuaded General Musharraf of Pakistan to ditch his former allies in the Taliban; and his excellent relations with his Russian opposite number Igor Ivanov were thought to have helped to persuade President Putin to brush aside objections from the Russian military and weigh in behind the American-led campaign.
Powell argued that America needed to corral a worldwide alliance in a war on terrorism, in which military action would be just one of many battle fronts – others being international banking, policing, public security, espionage and surveillance. But in the early stages of the war, with the Taliban on the run, hawks in the administration, led by Rumsfeld, began to send out conflicting messages both about the timescale for ending the war in Afghanistan and the likelihood of America going it alone and widening the conflict to other states which sponsored terrorism – notably Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
When Bush issued a series of tough warnings to Saddam to re-admit UN weapons inspectors, Powell moved quickly to deny suggestions that America was about to take military action against Iraq. And although Powell advised Bush to give the UN inspectors time to do their work, he ultimately failed to rein in the hawkish vice-president Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their allies, who were determined to link Saddam with 9/11, and al-Qaeda with Iraq.
While Powell was wary of a military solution, he always maintained that he supported the decision to invade Iraq after the Bush administration concluded that diplomatic efforts had failed, and in February 2003 he was dispatched to the UN to sell the case for military action.
In his fateful speech to the security council on February 5 he referred to “first-hand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails … The source was an eyewitness who supervised one of these facilities.” He asserted that “there can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more,” adding that there was “no doubt” in his mind that Saddam was “working to obtain key components to produce nuclear weapons”.
The invasion began on March 19; Baghdad fell in April and hostilities formally ended at the beginning of May. But no nuclear, chemical or biological weapons were found by coalition forces, and two suspect trucks at the centre of Powell’s brief to the UN were later discovered to have only been used to produce hydrogen for artillery weather balloons.

With Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2001 CREDIT: CLARE KENDALL
By April 2004 it had become obvious that most of what Powell had told the Security Council was groundless, based on the testimony of a source who later admitted that he had made up the story. In a humiliating session with the US press corps Powell admitted: “It appears not to be the case that [the intelligence] was that solid but, at the time I was preparing that presentation, it was presented to me as solid.”
In fact doubts about the credibility of the source had circulated in US intelligence circles before the war, and as it later transpired, intelligence chiefs had not shared these doubts with Powell. But it was Powell, who later described the UN speech as a “painful and lasting blot” on his career, who found himself the fall guy.
From the moment he was forced to admit he had misled the UN, Powell’s departure was inevitable. The fact that it was delayed until November 15 2004, shortly after Bush was re-elected, was probably a reflection of his insistence on playing the good soldier to the bitter end.
Colin Luther Powell was born in Harlem on April 5 1937, moving as an infant to the south Bronx, where he was brought up.
Tony Blair once cited Powell as an example of a black American born into poverty who had risen to the top. In fact, Powell’s family owned a successful bakery business in Jamaica and was comfortably off by black American standards.
His parents had emigrated from Jamaica in the 1920s and Powell always felt that his origins had made all the difference to his prospects: “Blacks in the West Indies were slaves too, but the British abolished slavery earlier,” he once observed. “In the Caribbean they were more than an indentured people, But in the US, blacks were oppressed, totally oppressed.”

Young Colin attended elementary school and secondary school in the South Bronx, but his mother’s hopes that her only son would become a minister were disappointed. He entered the City College of New York to study Geology; by his own admission he was not a good student and did not really find his feet until he joined the CCNY Reserve Officers Training Corps, of which he soon became commander. When he graduated aged 21, he received a commission as Army second lieutenant, beginning a military career that would last 35 years.
In the 1960s Powell completed two tours of duty in Vietnam, first as a military adviser to the South Vietnamese Army and second as a battalion commander.
During his second tour, a helicopter in which he was travelling crashed, killing several of his comrades and wounding him and several others. Forgetting his own wounds, Powell fought to rescue his troops from the blazing wreckage. For his bravery he was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, two of America’s highest honours. But some detected a darker side: when in 1968, troops from his division slaughtered more than 300 civilians at My Lai, Powell was asked to investigate, but in his report declared: “Relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent.” There were suggestions that he had been party to a cover-up.
Picked for promotion, on return from Vietnam Powell studied for a Master of Business Administration degree at George Washington University, then after a stint in Korea went on to occupy a succession of high-level posts in and out of the military.
In 1976-77 he commanded the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), then after stints at the Department of Energy and as senior military assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, he served as assistant divisional commander of the 4th infantry division at Fort Carson from 1981 to 1983.
He then became senior military assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger, cutting his teeth on the invasion of Grenada and the bombing of Libya. After a further year as commander of US V Corps in Europe, in 1987 he was appointed National Security Adviser to President Reagan.

The late 1980s were a controversial time as the administration became involved in a succession of “dirty wars” in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. In his memoir My American Journey (1995), Powell admitted to being the “chief administration advocate” for the Contras, the Right-wing Nicaraguan paramilitaries. Though he was never directly involved, he was also familiar with the sanctions-busting arms sales to Iran that financed that support, and his testimony to a Senate inquiry into what became known as the “Iran-Contra” scandal was found to be “misleading”.
In 1989 Reagan’s successor as president, George HW Bush, named him chairman of his joint chiefs of staff – the youngest man, and the first black man, to hold the post. In 1991 he was given charge of Operation Desert Storm as supreme commander of all US air and land forces during the Gulf War.
He remained in post under President Clinton and, following the triumph of the Gulf War, his name was touted around Washington as an ideal candidate for senior office, if not the White House. But Powell stayed on at the Pentagon, presiding over America’s disastrous military intervention in Somalia and its refusal to intervene in Bosnia.
When he retired from the Pentagon in 1993, the pressure to stand for office became acute. The Democrat power broker Vernon Jordan approached him to see if he would run with Bill Clinton in 1996, but Powell admitted “I don’t even know what I am politically”. Instead he made a fortune on the lecture circuit and published his memoirs, which sold more than 1.5 million copies and earned him an estimated $6.5 million advance.
But he never dispelled the notion that he might one day take a political role and his foundation of an organisation called America’s Promise, dedicated to the advancement of young people, did nothing to quell speculation.
In 1996, after finally declaring himself a Republican, he stood up at the San Diego convention and made a speech calling for compassionate conservatism that left some delegates in a state of shock. But even though his liberal views on abortion (pro-choice) and positive discrimination for minorities (in favour) were at odds with those of the vast majority of his colleagues, his credibility in a Republican Party almost totally dominated by whites was thought to be crucial to the party’s electoral chances, so it came as no surprise when Bush made it clear that he was assured of a major job in a new Republican administration.
On December 16 2000, Powell was nominated by the incoming Republican President as Secretary of State. After being unanimously confirmed by the US Senate, he was sworn in as the 65th Secretary of State on January 20 2001.

On his first day at work in the State Department, staff were said to have formed an honour guard to welcome him and shake hands, some crying with relief after eight years of Clinton. “Don’t get me wrong,” Powell told them, “I’m still a general. If you perform well, you’ll be fine. But if you don’t, you’ll be doing push-ups.”
Though he was seen as an outsider in a Right-wing administration, Powell’s emollient approach helped to rescue Bush from some early foreign-policy scrapes. When China impounded a US spy plane and its crew which had strayed into Chinese air space, it was Powell who put together the formulation that secured the crew’s release. It was also Powell who persuaded Ariel Sharon to pull out of Gaza in April 2001, giving, so it was believed at the time, a new lease of life to the Middle East peace process.
But he never established a close relationship with Bush who, when prompted by the journalist Bob Woodward to say something nice about his Secretary of State, could only come up with: “Powell is a diplomat and you’ve got to have a diplomat.”
Powell often spoke of his role in Washington in terms of conflict, once (according to a diplomat’s account of the conversation) joking to Britain’s then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw that he did not have to go abroad to face a jihad: “There’s a jihad against me right here at home.”
As soon as he took up his job at the state department, it was clear that he had a struggle on his hands. The vice-president Dick Cheney’s office was swollen with foreign policy staff who second-guessed almost every element of foreign policy. When Powell suggested that the US would pick up on talks with North Korea where the Clinton administration left off, he was immediately contradicted by the White House and forced into retracting his remarks.

The announcement by Condoleezza Rice in March 2001 that the US would walk away from the Kyoto treaty on climate change was another a slap in his face.
When he was on a tour of central Asia in December 2001, Cheney and Rumsfeld tried to stage a policy coup and cut off ties with Yasser Arafat, declaring him a sponsor of terrorism. Powell had to fly home and fight a rearguard action to reverse the policy. A few months later, when he was in the Middle East attempting to restart Israel-Palestinian talks, orders came from the White House to dump a speech he had planned about an international peace conference.
Indeed, his influence was so diminished that in September 2001, a week before the al-Qaida attacks on the twin towers and Pentagon, Time magazine ran a cover story on him asking: “Where have you gone, Colin Powell?”
In fact, when the two hijacked aeroplanes hit the World Trade Towers in New York, Powell was in Lima, Peru, attending a conference of the Organization of American States. When he heard the news, he left immediately for Washington, but not before persuading conference delegates to pass a resolution affirming their faith in democracy.
After retiring from the State Department, Powell mostly returned to private life, picking up a few directorships and joining the motivational speaker circuit.

Powell was the recipient of numerous military decorations, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart. His civilian awards included the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and in 1993 an honorary knighthood from the Queen.
Colin Powell married, in 1962, Alma Johnson, with whom he had two daughters, and a son, Michael, who served as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from 2001 to 2005.
General Colin Powell, born April 5 1937, died October 18 2021

I think he was an outstanding man

The initial point of this Article above is that his legacy is - he was wrong about Iraq.

He was no more wrong than any of us reading this now..

Bush might have known stuff- we dont.
Blair might have known stuff - we dont.
Dr David. Kelly knew stuff - he's dead

Is there anybody here on Arrse - who knew WMD in Iraq was a real threat ?

Anyone ?
 
I think he was an outstanding man

The initial point of this Article above is that his legacy is - he was wrong about Iraq.

He was no more wrong than any of us reading this now..

Bush might have known stuff- we dont.
Blair might have known stuff - we dont.
Dr David. Kelly knew stuff - he's dead

Is there anybody here on Arrse - who knew WMD in Iraq was a real threat ?

Anyone ?
I don’t think I’m mistaken, but didn’t Powel put his hand up and say the Int about the WMD in Iraq had been wrong ?
If he did, that’s the sign of a great diplomat!
 

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