From The Telegraph.
Major General Tony Richardson, who has died aged 92, emerged unscathed from a campaign which took him from the Normandy landings in June 1944 to the forced crossing of the Rhine.
On D-Day, Richardson was in command of a troop of 147 (Essex Yeomanry) Field Regiment RA, which was in support of 231 Infantry Brigade, 50th Northumbrian Division. The regiment, equipped with 25-pounder self-propelled (SP) guns, had crossed the Channel in Landing Craft Tanks (LCT) and started firing at about 10,000 yards from the shore line.
As the LCT approached Gold Beach, Richardson said to the skipper: “Run this thing up the beach. I’m going ashore dry.” The tasks of his brigade were to protect the right flank of 2nd Army until contact could be made with the American troops landing on Omaha beach 10 miles away; to capture Arromanches, which was to be the site of the British Mulberry harbour, and to take Port-en-Bessin, the terminal of the Pluto fuel pipe line.
A large blockhouse on the beach that had destroyed four tanks was knocked out by an SP gun at point-blank range and Arromanches was captured that evening. In the first six days, Richardson and his men only managed to get about four hours’ sleep. Much of the time they were well forward and in exposed positions. Many casualties were caused by mortars firing into trees and killing men sheltering under them and Richardson insisted that his troop stayed in the open.
Thomas Anthony Richardson was born in Abbassia, Egypt, on August 9 1922. His father was a captain in the Royal Army Service Corps in Cairo. Known as Tony, or Anto, to his family, he was educated at Wellington and, after enlisting, commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1942. He went up to Edinburgh University for six months to read Mathematics and Science.
Richardson took part in the breakout from Normandy, the liberation of Brussels, the advance to Arnhem and the forced crossing of the Rhine. After the war, he learnt to fly. Doing acrobatics in a Tiger Moth above the Cambridgeshire countryside, he said, was the best therapy.
In 1964, after his second spell at the War Office, he commanded 7 Para RHA. From 1967 to 1969 he was Commander RA at HQRA 2 Division in BAOR and then he moved to the MoD. He added flying helicopters to his expertise in fixed-wing aircraft and, after two years as Director Army Aviation at Middle Wallop, in 1974 he was posted to the British High Commission, Delhi, as Defence and Military Adviser.
He was proud, he said afterwards, to have been “the last British general in India”. The post was subsequently downgraded.
Richardson retired from the Army in 1977 and became the secretary of the Timber Growers’ Association before forming the British Christmas Tree Growers’ Association . Every year, he was in demand on breakfast television to advise on “caring for your Christmas tree”, and he was often interviewed for his recollections of the Normandy campaign.
For several years, he was president of the Normandy Veterans’ Association and played a prominent part in the 65th anniversary commemorations in 2009. He was Colonel Commandant RA from 1978 to 1983, Commodore of the Army Sailing Association from 1970 to 1971, chairman of the BAOR Free Fall Parachuting Club and chairman of the Tree Council from 1987 to 1989. Appointed MBE in 1960 and CB in 1976, he was an accomplished fly fisherman, and skied until he was 80.
Tony Richardson married first, in 1945, Katharine (Kit) Roberts, who predeceased him. He married secondly, in 1991, Anthea Fry, the concert pianist, who survives him with a son and a daughter of his first marriage and two stepsons of his second.
Major General Tony Richardson, born August 9 1922, died March 26 2015
The Telegraph, April 9 2015