Michael Walsh (British Army officer)

Michael Walsh
Major General Michael Walsh 1984.jpg
Major-General Michael Walsh in 1987
Born (1927-06-10)10 June 1927
Harrogate, West Riding of Yorkshire
Died 13 October 2015(2015-10-13) (aged 88)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1944–1981
Rank Major General
Commands held 3rd Armoured Division
28 ANZUK Infantry Brigade
1st Battalion Parachute Regiment
Battles/wars Second World War
Suez Crisis
Aden Emergency
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order
Knight of the Venerable Order of Saint John

Major General Michael John Hatley Walsh, CB, CBE, DSO, KStJ, DL (10 June 1927 – 13 October 2015) was a British Army officer and the Chief Scout of the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories from 1982 to 1988.[1]


Walsh was born on 10 June 1927 in Harrogate, West Riding of Yorkshire.[2] He was educated at two independent schools: at Clifton House School in Harrogate, Yorkshire and at Sedbergh School in Cumbria, and was a member of the local Scout Troop. He attained the King's Scout Award with the added distinction of Gold Cords, indicating it as the highest award available in Scouting at the time.

Military career

Walsh joined the King's Royal Rifle Corps as a rifleman in 1944 and was commissioned in 1945. He spent the winter of 1945–46 in northern Italy guarding against incursion by Josip Broz Tito's partisans. After instructing at the Small Arms School and the Jungle Warfare School in Malaya, he was seconded to the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment (known as "3 Para") and went with it to Cyprus in 1956 as a company commander, where he took part in operations against EOKA insurgents.

In November 1956, the Suez Crisis had come to a head and 3 Para was tasked with capturing El Gamil airfield close to Port Said – part of Operation Musketeer. This was the first and last British operational parachute assault since the Second World War. Despite fierce opposition including tanks, the airfield was captured in 30 minutes.[3] After various staff and training appointments, he returned to the role of company commander with 3 Para to take part in the 1964 campaign in the Radfan Mountains in Saudi Arabia. After promotion to lieutenant colonel, he took command of 1 Para on an emergency tour to Aden in January 1967. The battalion was responsible for "Area North" for seven months and were the last British battalion to withdraw.[4] Walsh was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for various actions in June. The citation reads: "By his outstanding devotion to duty, personal bravery and exceptional powers of command, Lieutenant-Colonel Walsh contained the situation at Sheikh Othman whilst never departing from the principle of minimum force."[5]

Walsh then held staff appointments with British Army of the Rhine and the 28th ANZUK Infantry Brigade in Singapore. He was appointed Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence in 1973.[6] Following promotion to major general he took command of 3rd Armoured Division in 1976 and was then appointed Director of Army Training in 1978, retiring in 1981.[7]

Retirement years

Walsh was Knight President of the London-based Society of Knights of the Round Table from 1988 until 1995,[8] the Director of Overseas Relations for St. John Ambulance from 1989 until 1995,[2] and Vice President of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).[9] He died on 13 October 2015.[10][11]



  1. ^ "Meet the Chiefs" (PDF). The Scout Information Centre. October 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 October 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
  2. ^ a b "Birthday's today". The Telegraph. London. 10 June 2013. Archived from the original on 9 June 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2014. Maj Gen Michael Walsh, Director of Overseas Relations, St John Ambulance, 1989–95, 86
  3. ^ Paradata: Operation Musketeer
  4. ^ Paradata: Aden
  5. ^ Paradata: Citations
  6. ^ Army Commands Archived 5 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Paradata: Michael J. H. Walsh
  8. ^ Titles and forms of address: a guide to correct use. London: A. & C. Black. 2007. ISBN 9780713683257.
  9. ^ a b "Roll Call Major-General Michael J H Walsh, CB, DSO". Airborne Assault ParaData. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  10. ^ Major-General Mike Walsh
  11. ^ "UK Chief Commissioner Wayne Bulpitt". @WayneBulpitt twitter. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  12. ^ Supplement to the London Gazette (23 January 1968). "Distinguished Service Order". The London Gazette (44508). p. 872. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  13. ^ Supplement to the London Gazette (14 June 1980). "C.B.: Order of the Bath (Military Division) Ministry of Defence (Army Department) To be Ordinary Members of the Military Division of the Third Class, or Companions, of the said Most Honorable Order". The London Gazette (48212). p. 3. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  14. ^ State Intelligence (13 March 1986). "The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem: As Commander (Brother)". The London Gazette (50457). p. 3576. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  15. ^ State Intelligence (29 July 1993). "The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem: As Knight". The London Gazette (53381). p. 12467. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  16. ^ Supplement to the London Gazette (14 June 1996). "Commander of the Order of the British Empire". The London Gazette (54427). p. B10. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
Military offices
Preceded by
General Officer Commanding the 3rd Armoured Division
Succeeded by
The Scout Association
Preceded by
Chief Scout of the United Kingdom
and Overseas Territories

Succeeded by

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