Robert Fry

Lieutenant General Sir Robert Alan Fry, KCB, CBE (born 6 April 1951)[1] served as a Royal Marine for over 30 years and was involved in military operations in Northern Ireland, the Gulf, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. After retirement from military service he went into private business and, in 2007, became CEO of Hewlett Packard's defence and security business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In 2010 he was appointed chairman of McKinney Rogers International and subsequently, in 2011, Albany Associates.

Sir Robert Fry
Lieutenant General Sir Robert Fry
(self-portrait taken in Baghdad 2007)
Born (1951-04-06) 6 April 1951
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Marines
Years of service1973–2007
RankLieutenant General
Commands heldRoyal Marines
3 Commando Brigade
45 Commando
Battles/warsGulf War
Kosovo War
Iraq War
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Mentioned in Despatches
Legion of Merit (United States)

Early career

After taking a degree in economics at the University of Bath and working for a period in commerce in New York City, Fry joined the Royal Marines in 1973.[2] His early career was spent at regimental and special duties. Attendance at the Army Staff College was followed by tours in the Ministry of Defence and Directorate of Special Forces, a sequence punctuated in the 1986/7 academic year when he studied for an MA (Distinction) in War Studies at King's College London.[3]

Senior military career

In 1989, Fry was appointed Chief of staff, HQ 3 Commando Brigade, and subsequently took part in Operation Haven in Northern Iraq. This was followed by a return to the Ministry of Defence before taking command of 45 Commando in 1995. In 1997, in the rank of brigadier, he became the Director of Naval Staff Duties in the Ministry of Defence, after which he took over command of 3 Commando Brigade in 1999 and deployed to Kosovo (CBE).[4]

He was appointed Commandant General Royal Marines in 2001,[5] and a year later he took up the job of Commander United Kingdom Amphibious Forces, in which capacity he deployed as the UK Maritime Component Commander for operations in the Gulf.[6]

He assumed the post of Chief of Staff at the Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood in May 2002 and remained in the job throughout the planning for and conduct of operations against Iraq. He took over the job of Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Commitments) in July 2003.[7]

In 2004, the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COS) directed Fry to develop a plan to support NATO and switch British forces from Iraq to Afghanistan, where they had been involved since 2001. The plan had to accommodate the difficulty of concurrent operations in two theatres but was judged necessary in order to prevent a failure of the Alliance and the loss of Southern Afghanistan to Taliban control.[8]

He was deployed as Senior British Military Representative and Deputy Commanding General, Multinational Force, Iraq in March 2006[9] and retired in 2007.[2]

Later career

From July 2007 to March 2010, Fry served as CEO of HP Enterprise Services Defence & Security UK,[10] where he ran HPs $1.5 billion Europe, Africa and Middle East defence business.[4] In January 2010 he was appointed chairman of the business consultancy McKinney Rogers International and in 2011 became chairman of Albany Associates.[10] He remains an advisor to HP and a number of other companies in the defence and banking sectors.[4]

Fry is an established essayist and occasional columnist.[11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22] He is also a visiting professor at Reading University,[3] a visiting fellow at Oxford University[6] and a visiting professor at King's College London Department of War Studies.[23] He is also a member the Royal United Services Institute executive council and a trustee of Help for Heroes.[24]


Early on in his career Fry was Mentioned in Despatches and appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire. Later on he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services as commander of a multinational brigade in Kosovo in 1998. In July 2003, he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath for his services as Director of Operations in the MoD, and was made Officer of the United States' Legion of Merit in 2006 for his final operational tour as Deputy Commanding General of coalition forces in Iraq.[25] In 2012 he became the first non US recipient of the USMC Semper Fidelis award[26] and in 2014 received an honorary doctorate (LLD) from the University of Bath.[27]


He is married to Liz and they have two daughters. He maintains his military links as colonel of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, and is a Freeman of the City of London and Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers.[1]


  1. Debrett's: Lt-Gen Sir Robert Fry, KCB, CBE Linked 2013-08-15
  2. The Standard (Kenya), 8 February 2011: Navigating rough patches with military precision Linked 2013-08-15
  3. "Sir Robert Fry, Visiting Professor, University of Reading, Department of Politics & International Relations" (PDF). Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  4. Chief, 14 September 2010: From BDUs to Pinstripes Linked 2013-08-15
  5. Breakfast with Frost, 5 May 2002: David Frost interview with Major-General Robert Fry (transcript) Linked 2013-08-15
  6. "Leadership Breakfast Series 3/17/11 Sir Robert Fry KCB CBE". Harvard Business School. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  7. "V: Ministry of Defence and Tri-Service Senior Appointments" (PDF). Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  8. Fairweather, Jack. (2014). The Good War: The Battle For Afghanistan 2006–14. London: Jonathan Cape. ISBN 9780224097369
  9. U.S. Department of Defense, 22 August 2006: DoD News Briefing with Lt. Gen. Sir Robert Fry from Iraq (transcript of video conference) Linked 2013-08-15
  10. DueDil: Sir Robert Alan Fry – Directorships Linked 2013-08-15
  11. RUSI Journal, Jun 1998, Vol. 143, No. 3: "End of the continental century"- essay by Robert Fry Linked 2013-08-15
  12. Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2010: Ex-U.K. Military Leader Pushes Europe on Defense Capability Linked 2013-08-15
  13. Wall street Journal, March 14, 2010: "A Military Leader Looks Back at Lessons of Afghanistan, Iraq" Linked 2013-08-15
  14. Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2010: "Fighting Wars in Cyberspace", by Robert Fry Linked 2013-08-15
  15. Wall Street Journal: 9 November 2010 – Civvy Street's Boardrooms Gain From Military Cuts
  16. Huffington Post: 10 Sep 2011: Ten Years On – Is it the End of the 9/11 Moment?
  17. Fair Observer: 23 March 2011 – America in Afghanistan – The 20/20 View.
  18. Forbes: 23 August 2011 – World War I's Crucial Lesson for Today's Leaders
  19. Prospect Magazine: 24 April 2012 – A Strategic Own Goal?
  20. Prospect Magazine: 17 October 2012 – Survival of the Fittest
  21. City AM: 30 January 2012 – Strategy Has Been Forgotten by Business
  22. Economia: 16 July 2012 – What Accountants Can Learn from the Prussians
  23. "People: Sir Robert Fry". Department of War Studies, King's College London.
  24. "Sir Robert Fry". Help for Heroes. Archived from the original on 21 August 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  25. "No. 58183". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 December 2006. p. 17361.
  26. "Marine Corps University Foundation's West Coast Semper Fidelis Award" (PDF). Foundation News. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  27. "Lieutenant General Sir Robert Fry". University of Bath. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
Military offices
Preceded by
Robert Fulton
Commandant General Royal Marines
Succeeded by
Anthony Milton
Preceded by
Sir Anthony Pigott
Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Commitments)
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Style
Preceded by
Nick Houghton
Senior British Military Representative
and Deputy Commanding General, Multinational Force, Iraq

March 2006 – September 2006
Succeeded by
Graeme Lamb
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