The General Perspective

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by Charley Fortnum, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Another Pen & Sword publication arrived today--there aren't too many of these I don't have now.

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  2. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I'm glad to see that someone has at last written a biography of McCreery, who was truly the unknown army commander. After reading Bidwell and Graham's "Tug of War" I have considerable respect for McCreery. He seems to have been a tough, uncompromising character.
     
  3. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    The Australian Army History Series has done some fine volumes on Australian commanders, to wit:
    Blamey, David Horner
    Morshead, Hero of Tobruk and El Alamein, David Coombes
    Lavarack:Rival General, Brett Lodge
    The Fall of General Gordon Bennett, A.B. Lodge
     
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  4. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    There is also a much earlier Morshead biography and I'd be interested in getting a copy, but postage from the Antipodes is hideous (as it is from Canada...). In general, though, I'm hunting for Brits first and then the dominions.

    There was also a privately published biography of McCreery by John Strawson. It was comissioned for his family and I have a copy.
     
  5. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    If there's a Second World War-era senior commander who has passed into history almost totally unremarked, it would for my money be General Sir John Crocker.

    Commands:
    3rd Armoured Bde (1940),
    6th Armoured Div (1941-42),
    XI Corps (1942),
    IX Corps (1942-43),
    I Corps (1943-45).

    More senior appointments post-war and was Montgomery's preferred candidate to succeed him as CIGS, and yet the only extended trace of him I can find is in:

    Delaney, Douglas E. (2011). Corps Commanders: Five British and Canadian Generals at War, 1939–45
    (a very interesting read that covers Horrocks, Burns, Crocker, Simonds, and Foulkes).
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  6. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Just received a book from a few years ago. The consensus seems to be that it's a bit of a 'published dissertation' and not a great biography, but Adam was an interesting man (certainly a radical in the sense that he tried to mould the army into an instrument for personal improvement and social change while Adjutant-General) and also a great friend and ally of Alanbrooke's.

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    Last edited: May 6, 2020
  7. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Well-Known Member

    Cited in part as in my reading some generals disappear from view:
    In research last year I came across General Sir Frank Messervy. See: Frank Messervy - Wikipedia and the far better biography when his medals were sold in 2016: Lot 53, 22 September 2006 | Dix Noonan Webb
    Digging away I found a biography by Henry Maule ‘Spearhead General: The Epic Story of General Sir Frank Messervy and his Men in Eritrea, North Africa and Burma’. This has a Foreword by Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck, cited in part
    So why almost nothing after 1945? Well his time as Pakistani Chief of Army Staff, August 1947 to February 1948, gets a mention. Sadly the answer might be that in July 1956 he was due to stand trial at The Old Bailey, London on a charge of Indecent Assault on a 13yr old girl. Spotted in a Singapore newspaper archive: NewspaperSG - Singapore Standard, 19 July 1956 Alas the result could not be found. He died at home in Wokingham in 1974.
     
  8. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I had no idea of that at all.

    He pleaded guilty and got off lightly:
    FORMER G.O.C. IS GUILTY

    Edit: hints here that he went off the rails after a medical operation!?

    http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/188/1/cp_Fullversion-2015WestonJphdBBK.pdf
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
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  9. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Thanks Charley,
    I wasn't aware of that book. Delaney also wrote an excellent book about Bert Hoffmeister. It was a well researched and nuanced account of arguably Canada's most capable senior commander.

    Delaney's credentials are impeccable:
    Douglas Delaney
     
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  10. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Well-Known Member

    Thanks Charley for that court update, via the newspaper archive in Singapore.

    The other General is Kenneth Anderson, who was First Army commander in the North African campaign after the Operation Torch landings, but who swiftly fell from grace due to criticism by Alexander and Montgomery. See: Kenneth Anderson (British Army officer) - Wikipedia
     
  11. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I've read that he had zero social skills.
     
  12. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    True. When Bradley came to Anderson with a proposed plan of operations for II Corps in VULCAN, he is said to have criticized it to Bradley as "A childish fantasy, just a childish fantasy." God knows Montgomery was not a born diplomat, but even he could deal with Allied commanders better than that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
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  13. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

  14. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    New acquisition. Might be interesting as the co-author is a bit of a wartime celebrity in her own right.

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  15. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

  16. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    The following book has received fairly middling reviews, but it's all there is on Dempsey other than walk-on parts in the various Monty biographies, so it's valuable in merely existing.

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  17. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Picked this up for a very reasonable price. Looking forward to reading it and assuming that others here already have.

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  18. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    It's not perfect, but it's a decent first edition from 1967 with pages so sharp that it has clearly never been read.

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    *Scurries to the index to see how much he has slagged off Monty*
     
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  19. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Unremarkable plain boards, but this is a minor privately-published rarity (as the preface explains).

    Robert Bridgeman, 2nd Viscount Bridgeman - Wikipedia

    He served with BEF and was later Deputy General and then Director General of the Home Guard. His final wartime posting was as Deputy Adjutant General at the War Office and he was a contemporary of most of those who achieved high command during the period.

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    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
  20. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    This is a little creased with a couple of minor splits to the jacket, but I can't complain at the price: £5.50 for a first edition. Obviously this (and its companion volume) have been superseded by the publication of the (almost) full diaries, but I'm curious as to how Bryant edited them and how much of the Churchill bashing (and accompanying praise) got through.

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