The Rushden Echo, 20th October 1916
Death of Colonel Ripley
Northants Regiments’ Great Loss
Gallant officer succumbs to wounds
Fought in two wars - Twice mentioned in dispatches
Wounded on two occasions - A Useful Public Career
It is with the profoundest regret regret which will be shared by everyone in Northamptonshire that we have to record the death from wounds of Lieutenant-Colonel George Eustace Ripley, V.D., and J.P., which sad event took place in a hospital in London on Monday. In Rushden the death of Colonel Ripley is felt with the utmost poignancy, for he was the brother-in-law of Mr. A. H. Sartoris, J.P., of Rushden Hall, and the deceased officer and his wife have paid many visits to the town.
The gallant Colonel was wounded about five months ago, at the same time as Captain Beachham, and by the same shell. He spent his convalescence at his home at Cottingham, and about a month ago he returned to the front. Shortly after he was very severely wounded, his arm having subsequently to be amputated, and now he has succumbed to his wounds.
The deceased was best known in Northamptonshire as the commanding officer of the 4th Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment in the years preceding the war. He was appointed to command the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the County Regiment in December, 1903. He commanded the old Volunteers until they became converted into the Territorial Force in 1908, and he then assumed command of the new formation, and held it until within a few months of the declaration of war, when he was succeeded by Colonel Barry, D.S.O.
A Popular Officer
By the regulations of the War Office Colonel Ripley was compelled to retire and in spite of his frequently expressed wish to retain the post for which, in spite of his having exceeded the age, he was eminently fitted. His desire to retain command was no more ardent than the desire of every member of the battalion down to the newest recruit that he should do so. No Territorial battalion ever had a more popular officer.
When war broke out, Colonel Barry, the new Commanding Officer of the 4th Battalion, was appointed on the staff, and Colonel Ripley applied to be reinstated. Owing to some very unfortunate delay, his application was not received before Colonel Curtis had been appointed, and both Colonel Ripley and the Battalion were extremely disappointed.
It was not long, however, before the War Office gave Colonel Ripley other work, and since September, 1914, he has commanded another battalion of the county regiment, which has won great glory for itself and for the county on the battlefields of France.
The South African War
The late Colonel Ripley was the son of Canon Ripley, of Earlham Hall, Norfolk, and before he became associated with the Volunteers he had a distinguished military career.
His earliest years in the Army were with the 3rd Norfolks, but in 1884 he joined the Northamptonshire Regiment as a captain. He served with the 3rd Northamptonshire Regiment in the South African War, going out soon after the commencement of hostilities. He was twice mentioned in despatches for special service in the field, and received the Queen’s and King’s medals with six clasps.
On returning home when hostilities concluded, he was given a great reception by the villagers of Weekley. Acknowledging the welcome, Captain Ripley (as he then was) said he had heard it stated that Northampton men were a rough lot of shoemakers, but he would tell them that as soon as they donned the red coat, and were treated the right way, they would always be found to be a grand lot of soldiers and an honour to the county.
A Leader of Men
Of fine stature and physique, with an intense love for the profession of arms, Colonel Ripley looked every inch a leader of men. His fearlessness of personal danger was only equalled by his keen sense of what was due to those serving under him as well as to himself.
The news of Colonel Ripley’s death caused the profoundest regret both at the Northampton Depot and the Territorial Headquarters. “He joined the Northamptonshire Regiment the same day that I did,” said Colonel Eunson to a Press representative, “and was the kindest and truest friend I ever had, so you can understand what a great blow his death is to me personally. He was as fine a sportsman as ever lived, being equally at home in the saddle, shooting, and fishing and I never knew a finer soldier. His death will be deeply regretted by all ranks in the Battalion.
Colonel Ripley, who was a J.P. for the County, lived at Bury House, Cottingham. In 1896 he married Violet Jeanne, daughter of the late Mr. Herbert Sartoris, J.P., and Mrs. Sartoris, of Weekley. Mrs. Ripley is a sister of Mr. A. H. Sartoris, J.P., of Rushden Hall, and there are three children, two sons, aged 17 and 15, and a daughter. One son is training at Sandhurst and one is at Eton.
In civil life Colonel Ripley took an active part in public affairs. He was a member of the Kettering Board of Guardians and Rural District Council. He was chairman of the Cottingham Polling District of the North Northants Conservative Association. In August 1912, he was appointed a Magistrate for the County. He was a fine shot, and a regular follower of the Woodland Pytchley Hounds.