51985 Colonel Philip John Richards
OBE (1943) DSO (1944) MRCS (Eng) LRCP (Lond 1929)
30 Mar 1906 [Madras] – 22 Aug 1971
Colonel Philip John Richards, one of four medical brothers, was educated at Brighton College, Cambridge University, and St Bartholomew's Hospital, where he qualified in 1929. At Barts he represented the hospital boxing club as a heavyweight and was London Hospitals champion at that weight for three successive years. He held house appointments at Barts and the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, before gaining a commission as a Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1932.
He served in Madras, Burma, Persia and saw active service in Libya and Italy. In 1941, he took command of a Field Ambulance and showed evidence of his administrative ability by, in the words of his Divisional Commander,
turning the worst Field Ambulance in his Division into the best. He was appointed OBE on 25 November 1943, was mentioned in dispatches, and in December 1944 was awarded the DSO for the part he played in the Salerno landing.
After the war, he was sent to Palestine and then was ADMS in Malaya during the guerrilla activities. He was CO British Military Medical Services in Berlin in 1951 and during the Suez episode in 1956. Having been made a full colonel in 1953, he held several posts as ADMS, was CO of two military hospitals, and was DDMS Malta from 1957 till he was retired on health grounds in 1960.1
Colonel P J Richards died suddenly on 22 August 1971 while playing golf. He was 65 years of age; he left a widow, a son and a daughter.
26 Jan 1932 Appointed Lieutenant on probation. Had been successful for a commission in the RAMC in January 1932. Was confirmed in rank in August 1932.
1 May 1934 Promoted Captain RAMC.
1933–1937 Served in Madras.
1937–1938 Served in Burma.
26 Jan 1940 Appointed an Acting Major RAMC.
26 Jan 1941 Captain (Temporary Major) P J Richards was promoted Major RAMC.
23 June 1941 Granted the rank of Acting Lieutenant Colonel RAMC.
1941–1944 Commanding Officer 214 Field Ambulance.
He turned the worst Field Ambulance in the Division into the best.
1942–1945 Served with the Middle East Force and in North Africa (Central Mediterranean Force).
1944–1945 Commanding Officer 4 Casualty Clearing Station.
21 Dec 1944 Temporary Lieutenant Colonel Philip John Richards was awarded the Distinguished Service Order DSO for the part he played in the landings at Salerno.
24 May 1945 Acting Colonel L/RAMC.
24 Nov 1945 War Substantive Lt Colonel RAMC.
1945 Assistant Director Medical Services HQ 1 District.
24 Nov 1945–12 Apr 1946 Temporary Colonel L/RAMC.
1945–1946 Passed Staff College.
1946–1947 Assistant Director Medical Services HQ Western Command.
19 Feb 1947 Promoted Lieutenant Colonel RAMC.
1947–1948 Assistant Director Medical Services HQ 6 Airborne Division (Middle East Force).
1948–1952 Served with the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR).
1948–1949 Commanding Officer British Military Hospital Wuppertal.
1949–1950 Assistant Director Medical Services HQ 7 Armd Division.
1950–1951 Assistant Director Medical Services HQ Berlin and Commanding Officer British Military Hospital Berlin.
1952 Commanding Officer British Military Hospital Catterick.
16 Feb 1953 Promoted Colonel L/RAMC.
1953–1954 Assistant Director Medical Services HQ Malaya (Far East Land Force).
1954–1955 Assistant Director Medical Services HQ Northumbria District.
1955–1956 Assistant Director Medical Services HQ Salisbury Plain District.
1956–1960 Assistant Director Medical Services HQ 10 Armoured Division (Middle East Land Force).
21 Nov 1957 Assistant Director Medical Services Troops Malta.
1957–1960 Assistant Director Medical Services HQ Libya.
1958 Deputy Director Medical Services Troops Malta.
1959 Deputy Director Medical Services Troops Malta.
April 1960 Left Malta (invalided).
2 June 1961 Retired with a disability.
22 Aug 1971 Died suddenly whilst playing golf, aged 65 years.
- Entry No: 1513. Drew R, 1968. Commissioned Officers in the Medical Services of the British Army 1660–1960, Vol II Roll of Officers in the RAMC 1898–1960 London, Wellcome Historical Library.
- Succession Books Vol XXVIII, Returns of statement of service of RAMC Officers.
- Obituary, Br Med J (1971); 44:433 (13 November 1971).