(1885–1957), British tank commander. Born in India of Ulster parentage, he became a Royal Engineer officer in 1904, fought in the Mohmand campaign in 1908, and in the First World War was decorated at Neuve Chapelle in 1915 and won the DSO in Mesopotamia in 1916. He was distinguished for energy and conversational brilliance, and for disregarding orders he knew to be bad. Foreseeing the predominance of tanks, he joined the Royal Tank Corps in 1923 and was an instructor at Quetta staff college until 1927. In 1934 he demonstrated the efficacy of radio communications in tank warfare and in 1937–9 he formed and trained 7th Armoured Division. He then retired but was rescued by Churchill from corporal's rank in the Home Guard to form 11th Armoured Division. He also formed 79th Armoured Division, of vehicles specially designed for opposed landings, such as the Flail and Crocodile tanks (see engineers, 1) and, led it, with heavy casualties and marked success, through the Normandy landings (see OVERLORD) and beyond. He was knighted in 1943.
From The Oxford Companion to World War II in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Second World War.