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Roll Call Brigadier R Hugh Bellamy, CBE DSO* 8 December 1910 – 27 November 1972

'Hugh' Bellamy had a distinguished career in the British Army in which he was awarded two DSOs for bravery in battle and twice Mentioned in Despatches. He joined British airborne forces during the latter stages of World War II, when he commanded 6th Airlanding Brigade. Bellamy went on to command 1st Para Brigade in Palestine and oversaw 2nd Para Bde's transition into the 16th Independent Para Bde Group in 1948 while it was based in Germany.

Robert Hugh Bellamy, the son of Lt Col Robert Bellamy, was born on 8 December 1910 and educated at Sherborne School, a British boys' independent school, before attending the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.

He was commissioned into The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry in 1930 and  was awarded a Mention in Despatches for service with the British Expeditionary Force in France in 1940.

Bellamy assumed command of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Norfolk Regiment, which was part of 185 Infantry Brigade, in late 1943. He landed on Sword Beach on D-Day with the battalion and saw considerable action in Normandy as part of the 3rd British Infantry Division. He continued in command of the battalion throughout the Normandy campaign and its advance towards Germany.

He was awarded the DSO in 1944 for his actions in Normandy, which he received in the field from Field Marshal Montgomery.

He joined the 6th Airborne Division, as the commander of 6th Airlanding Brigade on 19 January 1945, after its return to the United Kingdom from the Continent where it had been hurriedly deployed to assist 21st Army Group in closing the gap between it and the American Army in the Ardennes Campaign.

General Eric Bols later observed , 'His hearty laugh and irrepressible sense of humour soon made him known throughout the Division, and it did not take people long to find out that this was his cover for an unstoppable and indefatigable determination. This was especially so where the welfare of the men of his Brigade were concerned. His last thought was for himself, but he was “loud and clear” to those above to see that his Brigade got a fair deal. In battle, the stickier things were, the more Hugh seemed to reach the top of his form, and his sense of the ridiculous invariably prevailed.'

Brigadier Bellamy's drive and courage during Operation Varsity and the advance into Germany was recognised with the award of a bar to his DSO.

He was posted to the 1st Parachute Brigade Headquarters (then located at Bulford), to take over from Brigadier Hill on 29 November 1945. Before officially taking command of the brigade he proceeded to No 1 PTS (Parachute Training School) Ringway and attended course B188. 

Brigadier Bellamy commanded the 1st Para Brigade in Palestine before assuming command of the 2nd Para Bde prior to its return to the UK. He continued in command of the brigade when it deployed to Germany to form part of the British Army of the Rhine and was designated as 16th Independent Parachute Brigade Group.

He briefly held a staff officer's post at the War Office prior to serving as Deputy Director of Weapons Development from 1950 to 1952. A move to Hong Kong followed in 1954, first as Chief of Staff and then as Deputy Commander Hong Kong.

Brigadier Bellamy returned to Germany for his final posting, as Chief of Staff 1 Corps, prior to his retirement in 1958.

Soon after his retirement from the Army, Brigadier Bellamy joined the staff of Hawker Siddeley dealing with their overseas contracts.

He married Kathleen Louisa Isabel Lascelles, daughter of Sir Alfred George Lascelles and Isabel Carteret Thynne, on 11 October 1940. They had two children, Vivian and Martin, and divorced in 1953.

Brigadier Bellamy died on 27 November 1972.

Compiled from an obituary by General  EL Bols in the Pegasus Journal, July 1973, with further information added by Bob Hilton.

by Wendy George

Listed Operations

01/09/1945 – 30/06/1948 Palestine
24/03/1945 – 02/05/1945 Rhine Crossing (Operation Varsity)
26/03/1945 – 02/05/1945 Advance to the Baltic

Airborne Forces service history

1945 6th Airlanding Brigade, (Brigadier)
1945-1947 HQ & Defence Platoon 1st Parachute Brigade, (Brigadier)
1945-1947 1st Parachute Brigade, (Brigadier)
1947-1948 HQ 2nd Parachute Brigade, (Brigadier)
1947-1948 2nd Parachute Brigade, (Brigadier)
1948-1949 16th Parachute Brigade, (Brigadier)
1948-1949 HQ 16 Parachute Brigade, (Brigadier)
1950-1952 Deputy Director Weapons Development, (Brigadier)
1954 Chief of Staff Hong Kong, (Brigadier)
1954-1956 Deputy Commander Hong Kong, (Brigadier)
1956-1958 Chief of Staff 1 Corps, (Brigadier)

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