Roy Wilde CBE: Former Pupil

Former Sandbach School pupil, Roy Wilde CBE, enjoyed a military career spanning 37 years followed by running a City of London Livery Company.
Now retired, he pursues archaeology, local history and watercolour & oil painting.
Roy has kindly given this engaging interview to the OSA’s roving reporter, Ryan Grant.

Roy Wilde CBE


I followed my two elder brothers to Sandbach (and Craig House) in 1959. Both of them had boarded at the School, but the boarding house was closed just before I started. So we commuted daily (including Saturdays) by rail from Alderley Edge to Elworth. I was not scholastically inclined, for me the highlights of school were more practical subjects, sport and art. Languages were a particular disaster. Geoff Piggott (Geography), Pip Semper (History) and Alan Astins (Art) were influential in my subject preferences, influences that have lived with me throughout later life. Lacking great hand-to-eye coordination, my sports focussed on athletics and cross-country. After 2 years we all joined the CCF (mandatory in those days) which opened up the opportunity for adventurous training, Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award and Army Outward Bound courses. Recognising that I would never have been mature enough to survive art college, I applied for the Army Regular Commissions Board.

Military Career 1966-2002

1966-68 – Royal Military Academy Sandhurst – OCdt to JUO
1968-69 – 2nd Fusiliers – 2Lt Rifle Platoon Commander – 24th Amphibious Brigade, Somerset & Denmark
1969-70 – 2nd Fusiliers – 2Lt Mechanised Platoon Commander – West Berlin
1970 – US Army Airborne, Pathfinder and Rangers Courses – Fort Benning, Georgia, USA
1971-72 – Depot The Queen’s Division -Junior Soldier Instructor – Bassingbourn, Herts
1972 – 2nd Fusiliers Lt – Pioneer Platoon Commander, Catterick, Canada & N Ireland
1973-74 – 2nd Fusiliers Lt – Intelligence Officer, N Ireland (Mentioned in Despatches) & Catterick
1974-6 – 2nd Fusiliers Captain – Adjutant – Catterick, Germany & N Ireland
1977 – Royal Military Academy Sandhurst – Captain – Instuctor
1978 – Royal Military College of Science – Captain – Student Technical Staff Course
1979 – Staff Collage – Captain – Student Command & Staff Course – Camberley, Surrey
1980-81 – HQ 12 Armoured Brigade – Major – Deputy Chief of Staff – Osnabruck, Germany
1982 – 2nd Fusiliers – Major – Mechanised Company Commander – West Berlin
1983-84 – 2nd Fusiliers – Major – Rifle Company Commander, Catterick & Falkland Islands
1984-86 – Ministry of Defence – Major –Staff Officer Close Combat Equipment Requirements – London
1986-88 – Zimbabwe Staff College – Lt Col – Instructor – Harare
1988-90 – 1st Fusiliers – Lt Col – Commanding Officer – 5th Airmobile Brigade – Canterbury, N Ireland (Mentioned in Despatches) & Kenya
1990-91 – Supreme HQ Allied Powers Europe – Lt Col – Staff Officer Close Operational Requirements & Force Development – Mons, Belgium
1991 – Staff Collage – Colonel – Student Higher Command & Staff Course
1992-3 – Royal Military College of Science – Col -Senior Directing Staff
1993-4 – Royal Military College of Science – Col – Chief of Staff
1995 – Royal College of Defence Studies – Col – Student I Security & International Studies – London
1995–97 – 52nd Lowland Brigade – Brigadier – Regional Brigade Commander – Edinburgh
1997-98 – HQ Land Command – Brigadier – Project Director IT & Accounting Systems – Wilton, Wiltshire
1998-99 – HQ NATO Stabilisation Force – Brigadier – Commander Factions Liaison Organisation (appointed CBE)– Sarajevo, Bosnia Hetzegovina
2000-01 – HQ Army Training – Brigadier –Chief of Staff and Director Individual Training (Army) – Upavon, Wiltshire
2001-02 – HQ Initial Training Group -Brigadier – Commander – All Army Initial Training– Upavon, Wiltshire

There is a lot of gobbledegook and abbreviations in the above. In short, during my early military career I held a broad spectrum of regimental appointments, leading soldiers on operations, interspersed by administrative roles. Later appointments were staff appointments of greater responsibility, including NATO strategic planning, weapons project development in the MoD, and loan service training of foreign armies. The final stages of my military career involved various appointments with Army-wide responsibilities. In my year in Sarajevo as Commander, the Factions Liaison Organisation for the Bosnia Peace Stabilisation Force I was responsible for communicating NATO’s operational intent to the Defence Ministers and Army Commanders of the previously warring factions and dissuading them from returning to open war during the Kosovo conflict.

Second Career 2002-2012

My second career as CEO/Clerk of the 700 year old Worshipful Company of Tallow Chandlers, involved managing a Grade I listed building and Scheduled site (the best preserved Stuart livery hall in the City of London) providing the membership, trade-education support and charity administration of the ancient trade guild and its modern mineral oil and oleo-chemical trade associations. Charitable activities included fund-raising and administration of a disbursing benevolent charity that supports at least 80 charities per year, spanning the whole of the spectrum of need. These include 15 educational award and scholarship schemes in partnership with a variety of industrial sponsors and educational establishments. During my spare time I completed an Open University history degree.

Retirement 2012-Present

In my retirement I undertook a Master’s degree in Archaeological Survey and Computing. I was Chairman of Trustees of the Fusilier Museum (London) in the Tower of London and a trustee of two other local charities. I volunteer in various other activities, including the AONB Foundations of Archaeology project, the Salisbury Museum Finding Pitt-Rivers project and I recently conducting a small excavation on a Late Iron Age site on the Wilton Estate. During Covid I undertook a second Master’s degree in Bioarchaeology, focussing on human and faunal bones.

In addition to OSA, I am a life member of the National Trust, and a member of the Institute of Archaeology, the Army Records Society, the Gallipoli Association and the Prehistoric Ceramic Research Group. When time permits I paint in oils and watercolour and still represent my Livery Company in fun downhill skiing. I am married to Karen and we have three children and two grandchildren.


The Siege of Chester 1643-1646, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Earl Wavell Prize for Military History, 1968.
The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Battlefield Performance, Royal Military College of Science research dissertation, 1978.
Multinational Forces – Integration for National Security, NATO’s Sixteen Nations, Vol 36, No 7, December 1991.
War Art and Pictorial Propaganda, RCDS Occasional Papers, 1995.
Professionalism and Power in the Surgical Practice of London during the Early Modern Period, Open University research dissertation 2007.
Anthem Pater Caelestis, (libretto only, music by Marcus Barcham-Stevens) 2012.
Hamshill Ditches Settlement and its Pottery, A Durotrigian Site in South Wiltshire, University of Southampton, 2015.
Iron Age Banjo Enclosures, University of Southampton, 2021.