County mourns generous man’

PUBLISHED: 14:18 01 March 2007 | UPDATED: 21:35 29 May 2010

Colonel Sir John Ruggles-Brise Bt, CB, OBE, TD, DU

Colonel Sir John Ruggles-Brise Bt, CB, OBE, TD, DU

THE county has been mourning the former Lord Lieutenant of Essex. Colonel Sir John Ruggles-Brise Bt, CB, OBE, TD, DU, pictured, passed away aged 98 at his ancestral home, Spains Hall, in Finchingfield last week. During his lifetime Sir John was a patron,

THE county has been mourning the former Lord Lieutenant of Essex.

Colonel Sir John Ruggles-Brise Bt, CB, OBE, TD, DU, pictured, passed away aged 98 at his ancestral home, Spains Hall, in Finchingfield last week.

During his lifetime Sir John was a patron, president, commissioner, chairman, officer or member of 50 local, county and national bodies.

In 1953 he was appointed chairman of the Essex Territorial Army and Auxiliary Forces Association, becoming president in 1958.

For two years from 1957 he became President of the Country Landowner's Association and for five years from 1958 Chairman of the Council of the Baronetage. In 1958 he was also made Companion of the Most Honourable Order of Bath.

He worked as Chairman of the University Appeal Committee resulting in the building of Essex University in Colchester, becoming Pro-Chancellor in 1964.

In 1967 he was granted the Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Chelmsford, 'in deep appreciation of and gratitude' for his services to the county.

Sir John was born on the June 13 1908 at nearby Brent Hall, eldest son of Sir Edward and Lady Ruggles-Brise.

He was educated first at St David's school at Reigate in Surrey and then later at Eton.

After leaving college he lived with relatives in Canada, before returning to England in 1928 to begin work with the Employers' Liability Assurance Company in London as - in his own words - 'junior office boy'.

He continued to work for the company for 25 years.

In 1938 he joined the Territorial Army, serving through the Second World War in Anti-Aircraft Command, rising through the ranks to be a Lieutenant Colonel.

In May 1945, he was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Military Division), and later received the Territorial Decoration.

In May 1942, upon the death of his father the first Baronet Colonel Sir Edward Ruggles-Brise, Sir John succeeded to the title and the Spains Hall Estate.

Two years later he was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Essex, and Lord Lieutenant in August 1958. He was to serve the Queen and the county in that office for 20 years.

His nephew, Tim Ruggles-Brise said: "One cannot help but be deeply moved by my uncle's strength of faith, his immense sense of duty and his lovely sense of humour.

"He was a most unselfish and generous man and an exemplary head of our family, whom it will be impossible to emulate."

Dates for a memorial service have yet to be arranged.

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