Born: March 2, 1929;

Died: November 21, 2014.

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL Sir Robert "Bob" Richardson, who has died aged 85, served in the Korean War and the Suez crisis in the 1950s, the Aden Emergency of the 1960s, in Germany during the Cold War and as commander of the Royal Scots in Northern Ireland from the start of the Troubles in 1969.

Known as a soldier's soldier who often flouted the rules of his superiors to line up with his men on the streets, he saw regular action, murders, bank robberies and bombings during the sectarian violence, leading to a state of emergency, and in 1974 was promoted to command 29th Infantry Brigade, in charge of all troops in the Belfast area. He was later named General Officer Commanding (GOC), responsible for all troops in the entire province of Ulster. His 1982 knighthood was for his service there.

On one occasion in 1970, 70 of then Colonel Richardson's "Jocks" were separating Protestant and Catholic crowds from the troubled Highfield and Ballymurphy housing estates in Belfast and were attacked by projectiles from both sides. At least 25 Royal Scots were injured and Col Richardson was forced to call in his entire battalion to restore order.

The following year, he and his 1st Battalion Royal Scots, who had gained a reputation for a no-nonsense response to violence, were sent to help deal with growing unrest in Londonderry. Outside the city's famous walls, Col Richardson and his men were stopped by the overall British army brigade commander of the time. "Your reputation has gone before you; I cannot allow your men into the city," he reportedly said. The "Jocks" were re-assigned elsewhere.

The incident was probably because the Royal Scots had a reputation as a Protestant battalion, even though at least a third of them were Catholic and 100 per cent of them were trained to put regiment before religion. The Unionist leader Rev Ian Paisley had added fuel to the fire by suggesting they had been sent to Londonderry to defend the Protestant population. Formed in 1633, the Royal Scots are the oldest infantry regiment in the British army, with the Latin motto Nemo me impune lacessit (Nobody harms me with impunity).

By the time he left Northern Ireland in 1985, Col Richardson had been credited with easing tensions and helping forge the crucial relationship between the British army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), with the latter taking greater responsibility.

Robert Francis Richardson was born in Leith on March 2, 1929, one of five children of Robert Buchan Richardson, an Edinburgh wine and spirits merchant. He went to the city's George Heriot's School before enrolling at the Royal Military Academy (RMA) Sandhurst in Berkshire, representing them at rugby and graduating as a second-lieutenant in 1949.

He was first assigned overseas towards the end of the Korean war and later, by then a lieutenant, to Suez as the crisis unfolded in the mid-1950s. Later based with the Army of the Rhine in Osnabrück and Berlin, he was sent to southern Arabia in 1967 after the Aden crisis erupted, where he was named Chief of Staff of the Aden Brigade fighting the terrorist National Liberation Front.

He was happy to stay in the shadow of the now-legendary frontline Lt-Col Colin "Mad Mitch" Mitchell of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. While Mad Mitch gained the headlines back home for the sometimes wild heroism that won him his nickname, his colleague was mentioned in despatches for his role in the Aden conflict. He was back in Osnabrück when the Ulster Troubles broke out in 1969.

After leaving the army in 1985, Sir Robert dedicated his retirement to what he called the three Gs: golf, garden and grandchildren. His first wife Maureen died in 1986. He served for 10 years as administrator of the MacRobert Trust, a charity which seeks to protect farm, woodland and the general environment on Royal Deeside west of Aberdeen. He was an active and well-respected member of the historic Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at the famous Muirfield links in East Lothian, often host of the Open Championship. His three sons went on to play rugby at a high-level: his son Guy, a former Edinburgh Accies flanker, later became manager of the Scottish national team; another son, Jeremy, won one international cap against the Springboks at Murrayfield during their 1994 tour.

In 2006, aged 76, Sir Robert was asked to address the last parade of the Royal Scots, past the Royal Academy in Edinburgh, before they were merged with the King's Own Scottish Borderers to form the Royal Scots Borderers within the new Royal Regiment of Scotland ?? what the UK government described as a Scottish super-regiment under a defence shake-up. Many of those on parade that day had just returned from combat duty in Iraq. After standing easy, combat-weary but grateful, Royal Scots young enough to be Sir Robert's grandchildren embraced "Colonel Bob" as something of a legend.

"The golden thread linking the past and over three-and-a-half centuries of unrivalled tradition of service, comradeship, courage and loyalty to the Crown and country will be fostered and maintained in the present and through to the future," he told the parade and guests including the Royal Scots' Colonel-in-Chief Princess Anne.

"The Jock is second to none and admired throughout the world. One request to my old comrades and those serving today: treasure the past, draw strength from it but do not live in it. The old days are gone, never to return. Embrace the future."

Sir Robert, KCB, CVO, CBE died at his home in Haddington, East Lothian. He is survived by his second wife Alexandra (née Inglis), better-known as Candy, sons Charles, Jeremy and guy, daughter Clare, stepsons Lorne and Alasdair and 10 grandchildren. The funeral was private but a service to celebrate Sir Robert's life will be held on Thursday January 22 at the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh.