16th April 1956

Lieutenant Governor, Lord Ruthven, died in Bath

Lord Ruthven of Freeland was Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey from 1929 until his retirement in 1935. During that time he represented the interests of King George V within the Bailiwick.

Born in London in June 1870, he was schooled at Eton and had a distinguished career in the army. He was commissioned into the Scots Guards aged 17 and fought in the Second Boer War. From 1914 he also served the First World War.

His aged father served in the First World War, too, at the age of 76, as a messenger, carrying dispatches to the front line in France.

After the war, Lord Ruthven served as commander of the Bangalore Brigade. As its name suggests, the brigade was posted to India, where it helped the Indian Army expand, and oversaw internal security.

Ruthven’s long military career

His tour of duty in India ran from May 1920 until May 1923, at which point he returned to the UK. Just three years later, the brigade was disbanded. Upon his arrival back in Britain, Ruthven was put in charge of security around London. This role required him to keep food stocks coming into the city during the General Strike of 1926.

In total, he spent 47 years in the military, including the five years that he was Lieutenant Governor. His posting in Guernsey marked his last official engagement.

Active until the end

Walter Patrick Ruthven died in Bath, which he was visiting, on 16 April 1956. His funeral took place four days later at Holy Trinity church on the Isle of Wight.

He was 85 years old when he died. He had lived out his final years at his home in Bembridge, on the Isle of Wight. His first wife, Jean Leslie, had died three years previously, after 57 years together. Lord Ruthven then married his second wife a few months later, in November the same year. She was Judith Bell, who had been his secretary while he was Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey.


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