Douglas Patteson-Knight, 78, a retired brigadier general in the British Army and a resident of McLean since 1946, died Nov. 9 at his home after a heart attack.

He retired in 1948 after three years of duty on the planning staff at the British embassy here.

Gen. Patteson-Knight was born in Kanutsford, Scotland. He was a graduate of Wellington College in England and of Sandhurst Military Academy. He then was commissioned in the Royal Scots Greys and posted to India in 1923. He served with a cavalry brigade in England before retiring with the rank of captain in 1933.

He became known as a polo player and steeplechase rider. He was called back to active duty in World War II and was sent to Burma, where he later took part in the retreat of British troops to India. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire.

Gn. Patteson-Knight was a member of the Potomac Sailing Association and helped plan many of the Potomac regattas.

Survivors include his wife of 51 years, the former Frances Holland Loring, of McLean; a daughter, Jennifer Fitzgerald of Washington; a son, Robin David of London, and two grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Robinson Chair at John Hopkins University in Baltimore.