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About General Sir David William Fraser, GCB, OBE
General Sir David William Fraser, GCB, OBE (30 December 1920 – 15 July 2012) was a British Army officer who became Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies.
Fraser was born on 30 December 1920. He was the son of Brigadier the Hon. William Fraser, the younger son of the 19th Lord Saltoun, and Pamela Maude, widow of Billy Congreve a Victoria Cross recipient and daughter of actors Cyril Maude and Winifred Emery. He was educated at Eton College. He left school to join the British Army but was refused. Instead, in January 1940, he matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford.
While studying at the University of Oxford, Fraser joined the Home Defence Force. In October 1940, he was training at the Guards' Depot in Caterham, Surrey. He was streamlined during training before taking an intensive four-month course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He was commissioned into the Grenadier Guards as a second lieutenant on 4 April 1941. He was given the service number 184424. His first posting was as a troop commander in the 2nd Battalion, 5th Guards Armoured Brigade, part of the Guards Armoured Division. In the last two years of World War II, he was involved in the North West Europe Campaign. He finished the war as a war substantive lieutenant.
On 27 February 1946, his promotion to lieutenant was confirmed with seniority from 30 June 1943. On 30 December 1947, he was promoted to captain. He served as a company commander in the 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards in the Malayan Emergency of 1948. Having attended Staff College, he was promoted to major on 30 December 1954. He was involved in the Suez Crisis in 1956 and the Cyprus Emergency in 1958. He was made a brevet lieutenant colonel on 1 July 1959. On 6 June 1960, he was promoted to that rank.
From December 1966 to 1969, he was posted to the Ministry of Defence as Director of Defence Policy (Army). He was appointed General Officer Commanding 4th Division in 1969, and Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Policy) in 1971. He was Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff from April 1973 to August 1975. He went on to be British Military Representative to NATO in 1975, and Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies in 1977 before retiring in 1980.
He was appointed KCB in 1973 and GCB in 1980.
Fraser was president of the Society for Army Historical Research from 1980 to 1993.
In 1947 he married Anne Balfour-Fraser but they divorced in 1952; they had one daughter (Antonia Isabella Fraser). In 1957 he married Julia Frances Oldridge de la Hey; they had two sons (Alexander James Fraser and Simon William Fraser) and two daughters (Lucy Caroline Fraser and Arabella Katherine Fraser).
Honours and decorations
In the 1962 New Year Honours, Fraser was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).