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Major General Charles Ramsay
January 1, 2018

Joined: May 12, 2014
Posts: 975
Major General Charles Ramsay

January 1, 2018

Just received an email from Brig David Allfrey, Colonel of the Regiment, sharing the sad news of the sudden death of General Charles from a heart attack. Many members of this site will remember General Charles from service in Herford  where he was C Sqn Leader and later as CO in Catterick in the late 70s. A very shy and unassuming man General Charles was a mainstay of regimental life for decades. I think two sons served in SCOTS DG in the mid to late 80s. R.I. P.

January 1, 2018

Joined: April 23, 2014
Posts: 176
Major General Charles Ramsay

January 1, 2018

 Dear All
I am very sad to report the death of Major General Charles Ramsay. I have rung the
Presidents and Vice Presidents of the Regimental Council and would be hugely grateful if you
could all help pass the message to those I may have omitted from my email addresses. So
many people will want to know.
This news will come very hard at the start of 2018, particularly as for so many of us, Charles
has been an omnipresent part of regimental life for about as long as many of us can
He was my first Commanding Officer when I was a potential officer in Catterick and many of
you will have known him as a commander, brother officer and friend for rather longer, both
in the Royal Scots Greys and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.
Charles and Mary have been so generous - in time, hospitality, wisdom and friendship - to all
of us over the years. And, Charles has been assiduous in holding us to the marks of heritage
and culture of our Regiment and its forebears. His particular enthusiasm and support of all
matters, music and equitation have been constant and enduring.
I have just spoken to their elder son Will at their home in Berwickshire and he has explained
that Charles died during the course of Saturday night, from a suspected heart attack. He had
been well and had a happy time over Christmas.  Mary has their children Will, Rowena,
Camilla and Charlie with her at Pittlesheugh now.
There will be a private family funeral in Duns and burial beside his relatives in Leitholm, in
the not too distant future, with a Service of Thanksgiving in due course, probably in Kelso.
In the meantime, if you would like to write to Mary, her address is:
The Hon bl Mrs Ramsay
TD10 6UL

January 2, 2018

Joined: May 5, 2014
Posts: 829
Major General Charles Ramsay

January 2, 2018

I remember General Charles well, first from his time as C Sqn Leader when I was in D Sqn, & then as CO in Catterick.  My recollection is of  a quiet man but with a smile that could ice water ! We in D Sqn were already in NI at Gosford Castle, South Armagh, when we learned that C Sqn were due to join us - every officer, & I include those of his equal rank, were in awe of him, almost terrified of his arrival. He actually had an old VW Beetle there (brought over from BAOR ?), which he lent to the subalterns to swan around in - this gesture almost backfired literally when a group of them were stopped by (plain clothed ?)  police in Portadown, each "side" trying to draw 9mm pistols - fortunately before a shot was fired common sense prevailed and a mass shoot out averted. It transpired the reason for the police "stop" was because the VW had tractor number plates fitted !! RIP Sir, you will be long remembered by all that served with you. John (JKW)

January 3, 2018

Joined: April 23, 2014
Posts: 176
Major General Charles Ramsay

January 3, 2018

From: Miss Sharon McConnell


          Assistant Regimental Secretary


The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

(Carabiniers & Greys)

Home Headquarters



Telephone:   0131 310 5100/5102

Facsimile:    0131 310 5101



HHQ 530

3 Jan 2018








Further to the initial letter from the Colonel of the Regiment about the death of Major General Ramsay, it is confirmed his funeral service will be held on 15 January 2018 at 1100hrs at Christ Church, Duns with a burial at Leitholm. The funeral will be a private family affair (with no representation from the Regiment).


A Service of Thanksgiving to which everyone is welcome will be held on 25 January 2018 at 1400hrs at


St Andrews Church

Belmount Place




Following the service there will be a reception at Pittlesheugh, Greenlaw,Berwickshire, TD10 6UL. If you are attending the Service of Thanksgiving please could you inform Home Headquarters.










Yours Sincerely

Sharon McConnell

Miss Sharon McConnell

Asst Regt Sec|HHQ SCOTSDG|The Castle|Edinburgh|EH1 2YT|0131 310 5102|94740 5102| (SCOTSDG-HHQ-RegtSec-Asst)




January 3, 2018

Joined: May 14, 2014
Posts: 1033
Major General Charles Ramsay

January 3, 2018

My  condolences to his family, and to the Regimental family on this sad loss, another member gone but never to be forgotten, Tom

January 22, 2018

Joined: January 18, 2018
Posts: 4
Major General Charles Ramsay

January 22, 2018

Hi    my name is Tony Gray  I served in 3rd Carabiniers      C and B squadrons       1956 to 1959 is there anyone out there remembers me?    I have been a member of Scots DG ass. since I left.

January 23, 2018

Joined: May 12, 2014
Posts: 975
Major General Charles Ramsay

January 23, 2018

Tony hi, I expect you have inadvertedly posted on General Ramsay’s obituary page. I doubt you will elicit much of a response from this page. Go to ‘General Chat’ and post there you will be much more likely to find old chums on there. Best wishes David Fullard.

January 25, 2018

Joined: April 23, 2014
Posts: 176
Major General Charles Ramsay

January 25, 2018


Major General Charles Ramsay

Charismatic cavalry officer who was a natural leader with a liking for fast cars and aeroplanes

(News Standard Telegraph Optimisation)
Ramsay winning his regiment’s Sprot Cup with Sea Fox, 1977

MAJOR GENERAL CHARLES RAMSAY, who has died aged 81, was a larger-than-life character with an appetite for adventure which peacetime soldiering could not, perhaps, wholly satisfy.

Ramsay was a man of high courage, unshakeable principles and total integrity. He had a good brain and once he had decided that a particular course of action was the right one, nothing would persuade him to take an easier path. He was a natural leader and, had there been a major war during his career, he had qualities which his country would have found invaluable. As it was, danger held an irresistible attraction for him.

Charles Alexander Ramsay was born at North Berwick, East Lothian, on October 12 1936. His grandfather, Brigadier General William Ramsay, commanded the 4th Royal Hussars in India in the late 1890s. One of his subalterns was Lieutenant Winston Churchill, who wrote, in a letter to his mother: “I am now getting on quite well with Colonel Ramsay who takes my advice in most matters.”

Charles Ramsay’s father, Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, was responsible for the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940 – for which he was knighted – and the planning and command of the naval forces in the invasion of France. He was killed in a flying accident in 1945.

Young Charles was brought up at Bughtrig House in Berwickshire. His remarkable powers of persuasion were evident from an early age. He once convinced his brother, David, that if he opened an umbrella, he would float gently down from the first floor balcony. David, fortunately, suffered nothing worse than a sprained ankle.

He went to Eton and, in his last half there, he bought a second-hand MG and persuaded a garage owner in the High Street to hide it for him. In 1955, he went to Sandhurst and, the next year, he was commissioned into the Royal Scots Greys.

He became friends with the racing manager at Jaguar and, while serving in Germany, where there was no tax to pay, he bought a succession of sports cars in their XK range – 120, 140 and 150. After three years in BAOR, he was posted as adjutant of the Ayrshire Yeomanry. He learnt to fly at Carlisle and kept a Beagle Airedale, a single-engined aeroplane, at Prestwick.

He rejoined his Regiment in Aden and spent several months with one of the squadrons in Hong Kong. Command of a squadron at Fallingbostel, BAOR, followed. He bought his first Ferrari and kept a plane. One day, as he took off from the parade ground, someone drove across in front of him and a serious accident was only narrowly avoided.

On another occasion, flying back to Scotland, he got into thick cloud and lost height in a desperate effort to get free of it. Suddenly he found himself flying close to the ground and going past a large power station. Fortunately, the tower at Leeds/Bradford Airport found him on their radar and was able to guide him down. He was shaking, he said, when he got out.

Ramsay spent a year at the Canadian Army Staff College and then took up a staff appointment at HQ UK Land Forces. In 1969 he had a bad fall on the Cresta Run and ruptured his liver. He needed a large blood transfusion, but was given contaminated blood. He recovered, despite the doctors having given him only a five per cent chance of survival.

After joining the 3rd Carabiniers in BAOR, he commanded a squadron in South Armagh where the Troubles were rife. On one occasion, in his Land Rover, he was fired at; the bullet passed just over his head.

He instructed at the Junior Staff College, Warminster, and then became Military Assistant to the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff in Whitehall. This was the first of four appointments in the MoD. In 1977, at Catterick, Yorkshire, he assumed command of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, an amalgamation of the 3rd Carabiniers and the Royal Scots Greys which had taken place in 1971.

In 1978, in what was the highlight of his career, he commanded the Regimental Tercentenary parade in Edinburgh. This was attended by the Queen and a consisted of a band of pipes and drums, a mounted contingent and 30 tracked vehicles, including 15 Chieftain tanks. He persuaded a nervous Edinburgh Council to allow the parade to travel over the gas mains down the length of Princes Street. In the event, the only casualty was a demolished traffic light.

Ramsay took the Regiment to Germany in 1979 and was appointed OBE the same year. He returned to the MoD before commanding 12th Armoured Brigade and the Osnabruck Garrison in BAOR. On important occasions, instead of a regulation Army staff car, he drove his shiny, black V12 Jaguar saloon. This caused considerable dismay among the top ranks after the commander-in-chief saluted him by mistake.

In 1983 he went back to the MoD as Deputy Director of Military Operations. Two years later, he was promoted to major general on becoming GOC Eastern District. His final appointment was that of Director General of Army Organisation and the TA.

His superior at the time asked him to write a paper recommending changes to the organisation of the Army. Ramsay consulted widely and his plan had the support of the Army Board. His boss, however, disapproved of it and ended Ramsay’s chances of further promotion. It was a great shock and a disappointment. He handed over to his successor and was appointed CB on his retirement from the Army in 1990.

Ramsay lived at Bughtrig, the Georgian family house which he had inherited in 1975. He and his wife subsequently moved to a smaller house where they farmed about 1,000 acres. He had always wanted to re-establish his family’s links with the Highlands and when an estate at Glen Lyon, Perthshire, came on the market, he bought it. It provided forestry, farming, sport and a useful income from letting the lodges. For some 25 years, he also kept a holiday house on St Lucia and a motor yacht for trips around the Caribbean.

He hunted, played polo and won point-to-point and cross-country races, having his share of heavy falls. He hated being in hospital and, on one occasion, discharged himself while concussed and with the drip still in his arm. Latterly, he trained his point-to-pointers at Bughtrig, with his children, William, Rowena and Charlie, riding most of them. As an owner, he also had wins under National Hunt Rules.

He was the most generous of hosts and devoted to his soldiers – his “Regimental Family”. Many of them had enjoyed a day’s fishing or stalking with him and they regarded him as a sort of father figure.

For some 13 years, he was on the board of John Menzies, his mother’s family business, based in Edinburgh. Ramsay was Honorary Colonel of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards from 1992 to 1998 and then took on the responsibility of chairman of the Regimental Museum and the shop in Edinburgh Castle.

He and his wife, Mary, had the happiest of marriages and she was the greatest support to him throughout their time together.

Major General Charles Ramsay married, in 1967, Mary MacAndrew, the daughter of Lord Charles MacAndrew. She survives him with their two sons and two daughters.

Major General Charles Ramsay, born October 12 1936, died December 31 2017

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