A HIGH ranking soldier with family roots in Huddersfield has been appointed to a top post with the Royal Armouries.
Lt Gen Jonathon Riley, whose ancestors hail from the tiny area of Riley, Kirkburton, takes up his new post with the Armouries in June when he leaves the army following a distinguished career, which included commanding the British forces in Iraq.
Lt-Gen Riley commanded The Royal Welch Fusiliers in Gorazde, Bosnia, in 1995 during the Bosnian War when he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for bravery and distinguished conduct.
In 2003, he was appointed general officer commanding British forces in Iraq and subsequently served as deputy commander of the NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Lt-Gen Riley is one of only a few British officers to command a tri-service joint task force on operation, which he did in Sierra Leone in 2000-2001.
He was made an Officer of the Legion of Merit of the USA in 2004 and a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath in 2008.
Lt-Gen Riley is a visiting fellow in modern history at Birmingham University and a member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute.
He is a member of the council of the Army Records Society and chairman of the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum and Archive Trust, based at Caernarfon Castle.
Lt-Gen Riley has written a number of books, including several military histories and four studies of command, the most recent of which – Napoleon as a General – was published in 2007.
The long-serving solder grew up in Yorkshire and attended St Mary’s preparatory school in Beverley before going to Kingston Grammar School, Surrey.
Announcing his appointment, Ann Green, chairman of the Royal Armouries, said: “With an MA in history from Leeds University and a PhD in modern history from Cranfield, Dr Riley is well qualified to lead the Royal Armouries to new levels of excellence.
“Most importantly, he has a vision for bringing education to as wide an audience as possible.”
Lt-Gen Riley said: “This is a dream job. The Royal Armouries contains one of the world’s finest collections of arms and armour and is an international centre of excellence in terms of the quality and expertise of its staff.
“I share their passion for the collection and am looking forward immensely to providing the necessary leadership to take the museum forward.”
The Armouries has also made another high-profile appointment. Janice Murray, head of cultural planning at the National Railway Museum in York, will take on the role of chief executive.