Meeting - Court Martial

The sad case of Signalman Taylor – The Story of a Remarkable Murder Court-Martial

Speaker: Major-General Gordon Risius CB, (Ret'd)

Wednesday 13th November 2019; 7.30pm​

Woodcote Village Hall,  Reading Road, Woodcote,  RG8 0QY

Gordon is a former senior British Army officer and lawyer who served as Director of the Army Legal Services Branch.

The sad case of Signalman Taylor – The story of a remarkable murder court-martial

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Gordon Risius Court Martial
This month the British Modern Military History Society hosted a presentation given by Major-General Gordon Risius.

A fascinating talk on military law and the Court Martial process given by Maj Gen Gordon Risius to the BMMHS last evening.

As one of the most senior legal officers in the British Army for over 25 years, Maj Gen Risius gave great insight into his experiences on BAOR, N Ireland, and various other locations round the globe largely as a prosecutor.

There was lively discussion during the Q&A.

Another good attendance even on a cold and wet November evening was enjoyed by 50 people in our new, larger venue in the Woodcote Village Hall.

Grp Capt David Drew officiated during the minute of remembrance and reflection in the meeting.

Military Justice is Back in the News

 Fifteen years after Parliament granted posthumous pardons to the 306 British soldiers executed following courts-martial during the Great War, another campaign is gathering pace.  This time the call is for Parliament to protect military veterans from prosecution years after the event.

The Services are unique in their ability to try service personnel for offences against the law of the land wherever in the world they were committed.  In the case of purely military offences, they alone have jurisdiction.  In the case of civil offences, they normally share jurisdiction with the British criminal courts or, in the case of offences committed abroad, the courts of the receiving state.

The Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact in 1991.  A decade earlier the British Army of the Rhine was part of this country’s contribution to NATO’s defence of Western Europe.

Maj Gen Gordon Risius

At the BMMHS meeting on 13 November 2019, a former Director of Army Legal Services will talk about the court-martial of a British soldier on exercise with his regiment in West Germany who was accused of murdering a local German girl, together with some of the important changes made to military law since that trial. 

Event Details and Entry Cost

Entry cost is just £8, payable on the door,  and will include the talk and a Q & A, drinks, light snacks (sandwiches etc.) and a contribution to a military charity. Car parking is available on site.
Our previous talks have been sold out but as we are now moving into the Larger Main Hall, in Woodcote Village Hall, some spaces are currently available.

Due to high demand and in order to secure a seats for BMMHS events, please contact us on and we will confirm availability.  There will only be a limited number of unreserved seats available at the door.

Once you have registered your interest for a talk directly with us via we will confirm your reservation. 
We look forward to welcoming you to our meeting.

Meeting Venue: Woodcote Village Hall RG8 0QY

Woodcote Village Hall
Woodcote Village Hall, Reading Road, Woodcote, Oxon. RG8 0QY
Woodcote Village Hall

If you are unable to attend this meeting but would be interested in attending any of our future presentations or joining any organised trips please contact us on so we can keep you updated.

The story of a remarkable murder court-martial

Funds raised at this event will go to Gordon's Nominated Military Charities


Biographical notes: Major-General Gordon Risius

Gordon Risius studied at the College of Law and was admitted a solicitor in 1972. He was commissioned into the Army Legal Corps (later the Army Legal Services Branch) as a Captain with seniority from 1973. He was promoted to Major in 1978 and Lieutenant-Colonel in 1983, serving the Headquarters of the British Land Forces in Hong Kong, the British Army of the Rhine, Northern Ireland, the Ministry of Defence, the 4th Armoured Division and the British Land Forces in Cyprus. He was promoted to Colonel in 1992, and served at the Ministry of Defence.  He was promoted to Brigadier in 1994; he was Brigadier Legal at the Headquarters of the British Army of the Rhine until 1995, then the same at the Headquarters of the Land Command until 1996 and, finally, he was Brigadier Prosecutions in 1997. That year, he was appointed Director of the Army Legal Services Branch and promoted to the rank of Major-General.He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 2000 Birthday Honours and ceased to be Director in 2003.

Outside of the military, Risius was appointed an Assistant Recorder in 1991 and a Recorder in 1995. In 2003, he was appointed a Circuit Judge and in that year became a Vice-President of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal, serving until 2005; he was a Senior Judge in the Sovereign Base Areas Court in Cyprus between 2007 and 2014, and was also a Judge at Oxford Crown Court from 2010 to 2014, when he also retired as a Circuit Judge. Since 2003, he has been Honorary President of the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War. Since 1980, he has been married to Lucinda Mary, daughter of Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham.

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