R G Lees

Lt Col R G ‘Reggie’ Lees OBE Gordons

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Gilbert ‘Reggie’ Lees OBE was in the Wellesley from 1912, and was a Dormitory Prefect and in the XI.

From Wellington he went to Sandhurst and was commissioned in the Gordons. He served as Adjutant of the 4th Territorial Battalion as well as regular service with the 2nd, which Battalion he commanded at the start of the Second World War.

He took the 2nd Battalion to Fortress Singapore after the Japanese entered the war. With the Fall of Singapore he spent the rest of the war as a Japanese PoW working on the infamous Burma Railway, where he acquitted himself well and looked after his men the best he could. He is much remembered for his leadership in camp, and while the story is told most famously in the film the Bridge on the Rover Kwai, it must be stated that the real life senior British Officer, Col Toosey, to whom Reggie was effectively 2 i/c, could not have been more completely differently. For those with an interest, Julie Summers’ book is an interesting starting point.

Lees also became the inspiration for the Colonel in the McAuslan novels, and was well known to Charles Johnson Payne, better known as Snaffles, who dedicated several paintings and caricatures to him.

He retired from professional soldiering in 1954.

He was initiated into Golconda Lodge No 3249 in India which is still thriving in Secundarabad. He joined the OW Lodge in 1929 when still a Subaltern, and served the Lodge for 50 years.