Major-General Michael J H Walsh CB, CBE, DSO

Michael John Hately Walsh was born in Harrogate, educated at Sedbergh School, and joined the Army as a Rifleman in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps early in 1945. Following his commission he served with 1 KRRC in Northern Italy spending the bitter cold winter of 46/47 on platoon detachment in the hills that mark the border between Italy and Yugoslavia preventing Tito's partisans from seizing Trieste.

After a tour as an instructor at the Small Arms School he served with the Jungle Warfare School in Malaya for two years during the Emergency, following which he was posted to 2 KRRC as Signals Officer from where he applied for secondment to the Parachute Regiment.

On secondment he was posted to the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment then in Aldershot but to be sent at the start of 1956 to Cyprus. As OC A Coy he was involved in nearly all the anti-terrorist operations in Cyprus and, in November of that year, the airborne assault by the Anglo-French Forces at Port Said.

After a year with the British Defence Staff in Australia he attended the Australian Army Staff College. This was followed by two years as Brigade Major of 44 TA Parachute Brigade and a further two years as a Company Commander and Parachute Regiment representative at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Following the Joint Services Staff College he returned to regimental soldiering in 1964, once more as OC A Coy 3 Para, this time to serve in Bahrain and during the brief campaign in the Radfan Mountains of South Arabia. A short emergency tour in British Guiana, immediately before independence, brought this regimental tour to an end.

In 1966, after promotion to Brevet Lieutenant Colonel, he was posted to the Defence Planning Staff at the MOD. A year later he was appointed to command the 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment, then stationed in Aldershot. A few months after his arrival 1 PARA were warned for an emergency tour to cover the final withdrawal of British Forces from Aden. For seven months 1 PARA Group were responsible for 'Area North', which they dominated from “Fort Walsh”, a disused building converted into a strong point, and other fortified bases in and around Sheikh Othman. During the final stages of the withdrawal the Battalion defended RAF Khormaksar and were the last army battalion to leave the former British Colony. All ranks distinguished themselves during this difficult operational tour for which Lieutenant Colonel Walsh was awarded the DSO.

Following a staff tour as Colonel AQ of the 1st Armoured Division in BAOR he was appointed to command 28th Commonwealth (later ANZUK) Brigade in Singapore. On return from the Far East he returned once more to Germany, this time in a joint appointment as Director of Intelligence for both Rhine Army and NATO's Northern Army Group. This were followed by promotion to Major General and to be GOC 3rd Division, then UK's Mobile Force. A year later General Walsh took his Headquarters and elements of his Division to Germany there to form the 3rd Armoured Division. After a final tour as Director of Army Training at the MOD, he retired from the Army in 1981 and was made a Companion of the Bath.

On retirement he was invited in 1982 to become the Chief Scout of the United Kingdom and Dependent Overseas Countries. He carried out this exciting task with young people for seven years after which he was appointed Director Overseas of St John Ambulance and promoted to be a Knight of the Order of St John (KStJ). He also served for 15 years on many committees of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution; he is now a Vice President of that Institution. For his services to the voluntary sector he was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE Civil) in the 1986 Birthday Honours.

General Walsh was Honorary Colonel 1st Battalion The Wessex Regiment TA 1981-89, and for 25 years a member of the Regimental Committee of the Parachute Regiment. He also served for many years as a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London.

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Service History

  • 1945
    Kings Royal Rifle Corps (Rifleman)
  • 1946
    1st Kings Royal Rifle Corps, CMF, Italy (Lieutenant)
  • 1948
    Instructor, Small Arms School, Hythe (Captain)
  • 1950
    Instructor, Jungle Warfare School, Malaya (Captain)
  • 1952
    Regimental Signals Officer, 2nd Kings Royal Rifle Corps, BAOR (Captain)
  • 1955
  • 1955
    Company Second-in-Command (2-i-c) The 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) (Captain)
  • 1956
  • 1958
    Staff Captain, UKJSL, Australia (Captain)
  • 1959
    Student, Australian Army Staff College (Captain)
  • 1960
    Brigade Major HQ 44th Parachute Brigade (Major)
  • 1962
    Company Commander and Regimental Representative, RMA Sandhurst (Major)
  • 1964
    Company Commander The 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) (Lieutenant-Colonel)
  • 1965
    Second In Command (2-i-c) The 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) (Brevet Lieutenant Colonel)
  • 1966
    General Staff Officer 1st Grade (GSO1), Defence Planning Staff, MOD (Brevet Lieutenant Colonel)
  • 1967
    Commanding Officer (CO) The 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment (1 PARA) (Lieutenant-Colonel)
  • 1969
    Col AQ HQ 1st Armoured Division, BAOR (Colonel)
  • 1971
    Brigade Commander, 28 Commonwealth Brigade, Singapore (Brigadier)
  • 1973
    Brigadier Int, G2 Northern Army Group (NORTHAG), BAOR (Brigadier)
  • 1976
    General Officer Commanding, 3rd Division, UK (Major-General)
  • 1977
    General Officer Commanding, 3rd Armoured Division, BAOR (Major-General)
  • 1978
    Director Army Training, Ministry of Defence (Major-General)
  • 1981
    Retired from Active Service (Major-General)
Michael J H Walsh

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  • Newspaper article about Lieutenant-Colonel Walsh's home and military life

    Newspaper article about Lieutenant-Colonel Walsh's home and military life

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Latest Comments

JOHN CHRISTOPHER KELLY said:
I was with 1 PARA when it went to Aden in 1967. Fort Walsh was an old Church of Scotland Mission Hospital. It still had some of the old equipment in situ when we moved in.
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