- Parent Category: General Articles
- Written by Bill Griffiths
Col. Gen Robert (Bob) B. Partridge 1951-2011
It is no exaggeration to say that Prince Maurice’s Regiment of Dragoones owes its current existence to Bob Partridge.
Bob joined the regiment in the summer of 1975. The later 70s were a time of great change and advancement in the Sealed Knot (see A Trve and Accurat Historie of Prince Maurice’s Regiment written by Bob). The original regiment split to form many of the core regiments of both the Royalist and Parliamentarian armies in the South West. Bob rose to the rank of sergeant and became 2 i/c of the remainder, overseeing the introduction of leather in place of PVC, shotguns in place of fencing foils and, in short order, their replacement with muskets. Bob was soon promoted to Major and given command of the Regiment.
By the mid 80's he was tertio commander, and was instrumental in bringing the dragoone regiments together at major musters to represent the skirmishing that often took place at the commencement of the larger scale encounters of the civil war. Indeed he became the first General of Royalist Dragoones. In time this development led to the creation of the Forlorn Hope.
Bob was also a key figure in the Royalist staff, including holding positions such as Judge Advocate General, and Pageant Master of the Royalist Army. Many appearances in the 1990s included Bob with the Kings Standard which he had made for the 350th anniversary of Naseby, and its still one of the best flying colours of the Sealed Knot.
Off the field Bob was never one to stand on his rank, and many members of the regiment will have fond memories of sharing a pinch, or three, of snuff; engaging in scholarly, entertaining conversations about many aspects of history; and his wicked playing of many a classic pub game – trip to the South Pole anyone...?
Bob’s interest in history was arguably demonstrated by his position and commitment to the regiment and the Sealed Knot, but to those members who visited his home in Cheshire when he offered his brick tent for the winter Nantwich muster, it was clear that the English Civil War was but a side interest in many ways. Stepping in to the house was like stepping into a modern version of Sir John Soanes house, with every corner packed with historic items focussing on the Napoleonic navy, the English Civil war, and the world of Ancient Egypt. Books, replicas, prints and pictures all vied for space. Indeed even in the late 80s it was clear that Bob’s true historical passion was Egypt.
Bob published four books. The first in 1994 Faces of Pharaohs was the publication of what had been his final year project of Manchester University’s Certificate Course in Egyptology. It falls to few dissertations to make it to print, but Bob expanded his to form a book that served to position him at the heart of Egyptology. It was even a book club book of the month choice.
However, publishing a first volume is difficult, and costly. Bob revised an old approach, asking friends and family to sponsor him. In return their names would be listed in the book and they would receive a copy of the publication. The list of sponsors includes c. 15 members of Prince Maurice’s (out of a total list of 48 sponsors).
His next book Transport in Ancient Egypt soon followed in 1996. But his third saw a return the the English Civil War. O Horrable Murder: the trial, execution and burial of King Charles I is dedicated to the SK, and in particular Prince Maurice’s. A fascinating read, it demonstrates both the light touch and the thoroughness that Bob brought to his scholarship; taking the story through to the rediscovery of Charles unmarked grave and his final re-internment during the Victorian period.
At the start of the C21st Bob was able to take early retirement from his senior position in Barclays Bank, giving him the opportunity to throw himself fully in to Egyptology. 2002 saw his fourth book Fighting Pharoahs: weapons and warfare in Ancient Egypt. In the preface Bob cited his membership and experiences with the Sealed Knot as providing him with a sense of participation which he hoped to bring to the book.
Bob also ran the Ancient Egypt Picture Library, with over 30,000 images, but most significantly was editor of the magazine Ancient Egypt from 2004 to his death. This magazine is THE publication for people interested in Ancient Egypt, and placed Bob at the centre of an amazing web of contacts as he reported on the latest research and discoveries. As a result of his enthusiasm new groups sprang up across the country to promote the study of Ancient Egypt, with professionals and amateurs alike paying tribute to Bob’s scholarship, knowledge and passion. He was well known for asking the important and insightful questions at conferences that always helped move discussion, and indeed the subject, forward.
It is no exaggeration to say that his death on 10th July 2011 after a long illness, caused a great deal of sorrow not just within Prince Maurice’s but across the Egyptological community. He had a natural joi de vivre that made him great company. Bob was someone who oozed knowledge, and was a joy to learn from. He inspired many, and leaves the legacy not only of a Sealed Knot regiment, perhaps without parallel in the make up, and cohesion, of its members, but also an expanded community of people interested in, and informed about, Ancient Egypt.
It is sad to reflect that if granted a longer time, Bob would have gone on to achieve even more. The world is, quite simply, a poorer place without his presence.