|1 Apr 2019|
|Deaths & Obituaries|
|EPHRAUMS, Roderick Jarvis (Roger), Major General Royal Marines, CB, OBE, CStJ, DL |
Died on 6 January 2019, aged 91. The following obituary was published in the Telegraph:
Major-General Roger Ephraums, who has died aged 91, participated in a wide range of operations during his 33 years’ service in the Royal Marines, while his elite Corps met the challenges of Britain’s worldwide interests and reinforced Nato solidarity during the 1970s.
In 1973, when Ephraums took command of 3 Commando Brigade, he had been associated with Arctic warfare from the earliest days of the Corps’ involvement. His challenge now was a number of large-scale exercises involving the newly formed UK/Netherlands Amphibious Force and Greek, Turkish, Italian and US marines to demonstrate the advantages of amphibious flexibility on Nato’s Southern Flank.
These were accomplished largely due to Ephraums’s charm, courteousness, droll sense of humour and very methodical approach. After these palpable successes, it was entirely appropriate that he should attend the Nato Defence College in Rome in 1976.
He was promoted in March 1976, his final appointment being as Major General Commando Forces when he oversaw large-scale winter deployments on the Northern Flank of Nato. Again, Ephraums displayed the meticulous staff work which was the hallmark of his career, ensuring that the Corps was re-roled and that the right people were in place to exert appropriate influence.
His efforts proved crucial to operational effectiveness and demonstrated the Royal Marines’ versatility. Throughout his career Ephraums also demonstrated his own soundness in strategy, politics and operations.
Christened Roderick Jarvis, Ephraums was born in Torquay on May 12th 1927, the son of a mining engineer, and was educated at Tonbridge School. His elder brother, Captain Mike Ephraums MC Royal Marines, was killed in action at Termoli, Italy, in 1943 while serving with 40 Commando. Roger joined the Corps in January 1945, passing out top of his entry and being awarded the sword of honour.
His first appointment was to the cruiser Mauritius in the Mediterranean Fleet.
After instructing at the Infantry Training Centre RM at Lympstone and qualifying as a heavy weapons specialist in 1951, he was appointed to 42 Commando on anti-terrorist operations in the jungles of Malaya. The commando deployed to Malta in 1952, and then to the Suez Canal Zone where, during breaks from the primitive living conditions in a tented camp, he visited Beirut, Damascus and Jerusalem.
Ephraums was adjutant of 42 Commando at Bickleigh, Devon, when on a July night in 1958, during a crisis in Lebanon, he received a midnight call to bring the commando to instant readiness, gather reinforcements and embark in the aircraft carrier Albion at Portsmouth. So overloaded that there was concern for her seaworthiness, Albion sailed for the Mediterranean. When the crisis settled, Ephraums’s administrative skills were again tested as the commando disembarked in Malta and then redeployed for training at Tarhuna, a British training ground in the Libyan Desert.
After the Army Staff College in 1960 and promotion to major, Ephraums became the first Corps Secretary, a new appointment intended to bring coherence and order to the Royal Marines’ regimental affairs. He returned to the Far East in 1962-64 as Brigade Major at headquarters 3 Commando Brigade in Sarawak, just as the confrontation between Indonesia and Malaya was developing.
In 1969 Ephraums took command of 45 Commando a month before the presentation of new colours by the Queen: at rehearsals Molly, his wife, stood in for the monarch. A few weeks later Ephraums led a covert deployment to Bermuda to guard against trouble during an international Black Power conference there; 45 Commando also conducted two tours of duty in Northern Ireland in the summers of 1970 and 1971. Besides these operational tours, Ephraums’s task was to develop the techniques of winter warfare and to move the commando from Plymouth to a new home at Arbroath, Angus. It was a relief to become a student at the Royal College of Defence Studies in 1972.
Ephraums was appointed CB in 1977 and retired from the Corps a year later.
He initially settled near Arbroath and joined an outdoor clothing company based in nearby Friockheim, but left when in 1985 he was asked to become Representative Colonel Commandant, Royal Marines, attending official and ceremonial functions on behalf of the Duke of Edinburgh and the Corps and acting as the link between retired and serving members of the Corps.
Ephraums and his wife were an ever-approachable, hospitable and widely admired couple who led active lives. He was an enthusiastic sailor and served for 10 years as the chairman of the RNLI at Arbroath. He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Angus in 1985, and made a Commander of the Order of St John in 1994.
In 1989 he bought an apartment in Lagos where he wintered, and eight years later left Scotland and bought a retirement home in Winterbourne Earls, Wiltshire. There, he served as a steward in Salisbury Cathedral.
Ephraums married Adela Mary “Molly” Forster in 1955. She survives him with their two sons and a daughter.