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Lord Richards of Herstmonceux

Kirsty Young talks to Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, former Chief of the Defence Staff.

Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, former Chief of the Defence Staff, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs.

He was a soldier for 42 years, rising through the ranks to the very top becoming the principal military advisor to government. Shrewd, swashbuckling and outspoken, he is now retired from one of the most successful military careers of modern times: so illustrious he's been knighted twice.

The campaigns he led in East Timor, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan are well documented and most recently his counsel against military intervention in both Libya and Syria helped guide the Government through the most complex of international strategic defence decision-making.

He is possibly less well known for his private passions - tennis, skiing, sailing and the action man credentials must surely be further boosted by the fact that he once spent an evening as Joan Collin's bodyguard. He's also partial to a spot of karaoke.

Born in Egypt into a military family he grew up with some understanding of the very particular strain that comes with a life in the forces. Just as well because in 35 years of marriage he and his wife have moved home 29 times.

He says: "I see myself as a moral soldier. I do not associate the military with wars and bloodshed in the narrow sense. I associate the military with doing good, bringing down tyrants, with releasing people's ambitions for their children."

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 14 Mar 2014 09:00

Music Played

  • Elvis Presley

    It's Now or Never

    • Always on My Mind.
    • EMI.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Part of Act 2 from Swan Lake

    Performer: London Symphony Orchestra. Performer: André Previn.
    • Swan Lake/Tchaikovsky.
    • EMI.
  • The Men's Chorus

    There is Nothin' Like A Dame from South Pacific

    • South Pacific.
    • Naxos.
  • The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

    Highland Cathedral

    • Fame and Renown.
    • Bandleader.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Peter Penfold & Choir of children from the Sierra Leone Milton Margai School for the Blind

      My West African Home

      • My West African Home.
      • Unknown..
  • Michael Ball

    Empty Chairs and Empty Tables

    • Les Miserables – Original London Cast.
    • First Night.
  • John Denver

    Leaving On a Jet Plane

    • Song’s Best Friend.
    • RCA.
  • Giacomo Puccini

    O Soave Fanciulla from Puccini's La Boheme

    Performer: Maria Callas. Performer: Giuseppe di Stefano. Performer: Orchestra of La Scala, Milan. Performer: Antonino Votto.
    • Opera Aria Duets.
    • EMI.
  • Book Choice

    • The complete works - Patrick O'Brian

  • Luxury Choice

    • Sailcloth


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest David Richards
Producer Cathy Drysdale


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