Obituary – Sir Desmond Rice (LI 1938-43)
Major-General Sir Desmond Rice, KCVO, CBE (LI 1938-43), Marlburian Club President from 1992-93 died on 14th July 2020, aged 95.
He was a British Army officer and courtier, appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1970 for his management of the Ministry of Defence’s decision to reduce some of the Territorial Army’s yeomanry regiments to squadrons grouped under new title. According to The Times:
“When chance led Rice to an army workshop in Nottingham awaiting the arrival of armoured vehicles being shipped round the Cape from Aden, he ruthlessly — and sensibly without seeking permission — seized the opportunity to have every armoured vehicle in his regiment overhauled and fitted with up-to-date radios.
He then welded together the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry, the Sherwood Rangers, the Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry, the North Irish Horse and the Berkshire and Westminster Dragoons into one modern armoured reconnaissance regiment, the Royal Yeomanry, ready for active service.”
He soon rose through the ranks becoming Commander in 1976 and vice-adjutant general in 1978, retiring from the army in 1979. He was appointed a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 1985 and Knight Commander in 1989.
He married Denise in 1954 and he is survived by their daughter Juliette.
A full obituary can be read in The Times.