The Passing of an era – Rear Admiral Steve Ritchie (1914-2012)



It is with deep regret that the death of Rear Admiral Steve Ritchie CB DSC has been announced.  Steve Ritchie, aged 97, passed away at his family home in Collieston, Aberdeenshire on Tuesday 8 May 2012.


In a distinguished career Steve Ritchie served as Hydrographer of the UK Navy from 1966 to 1971 before being elected President of the Directing Committee of the International Hydrographic Bureau in Monaco in 1972 – a post he held for ten years.


As a founding President (1972-73) of the Hydrographic Society and then later an Emeritus Member, Steve remained a keen supporter and active member of the Society throughout its 40 years and his presence and much-valued input will be greatly missed.


Celebrated and fêted throughout the world as hydrography's most eminent – and colourful – luminary, he was a prolific writer and continued to write on topical affairs within the profession into his nineties. Amongst the books he wrote in 'retirement' was his highly popular autobiography No Day Too Long – An Hydrographer's Tale published in 1992 which includes a Foreword by the late Prince Rainier of Monaco.


More detailed obituaries and appreciations of the long and vibrant life and career of Admiral Ritchie will be published in Soundings and The Hydrographic Journal in the coming months. Anyone wishing to contribute anecdotes or photographic contributions to these tributes are invited to send them to by mid-June.