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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Other events that occured in April

Guernsey’s first female murderer goes on trial 1st
A French fisherman is arrested and escorted to St Peter Port 2nd
Guernsey’s new population law comes into force 3rd
Guernsey’s oldest resident dies, aged 110 4th
An occupation-era minefield is discovered at L’Ancresse 5th
Birth of Stone de Croze, the original Guernseyman 6th
The first ever Guernsey stamp is issued 7th
Antiquarian William Collings Lukis was born 8th
Guernsey hosts its first Parkrun at Pembroke 9th
Alderney residents lined the coast to watch Titanic pass 10th
Norfolk pupils spend a week in Guernsey 11th
A plane hit a car while landing at Guernsey Airport 12th
Battery Mirus was test fired for the first time 13th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry fights at Ypres 14th
Guernsey Mormon Sampson Avard dies in Illinois 15th
Lieutenant Governor, Lord Ruthven, died in Bath 16th
Death of the Vicar General of the Channel Islands 17th
TV’s Jeeves is rushed to hospital on Guernsey 18th
Guernsey Airport’s new terminal opened for business 19th
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie film opened 20th
Death of Guernsey-born footballer Len Duquemin
Three Jewish women are deported from Guernsey 21st
Guernsey bigamist got married for the second time 22nd
Aurigny pilot Ray Bowyer spots a UFO near Alderney 23rd
The States of Guernsey registers the gov.gg domain 24th
Guernsey-set film The Sea Devils hits cinemas 25th
Hydrofoil Condor 1 completed its final sea trials 26th
The first Muratti football match takes place 27th
Guernsey passengers stage a ferry sit-in 28th
Guernsey abolishes the death penalty for murder 29th
Finishing touches put to new hospital 30th
Murder suspects steal visitor’s boat from St Peter Port