Military (& related) obituaries

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Plastic Yank, Feb 17, 2005.

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  1. PtP agreed that this was something many individuals would endorse. Torygraph seems main source, but i am sure the other qualities will be represented.

    Lets hope it becomes a Sticky.

    To start off:

    The DT, 14 Feb 04


    Colonel Geoffrey Powell, who has died aged 90, won an MC leading 156 Parachute Battalion at the Battle of Arnhem; later he served in MI5 and became a notable writer on military history.

    Brigadier "Shan" Hackett's 4th Parachute Brigade was dropped north-west of Arnhem on September 18 1944 in the second lift of "Market Garden", an audacious attempt to capture the road and rail bridges over the Rhine. The Brigade had the task of moving into Arnhem to establish a defensive perimeter on the high ground to the north of the town in order to block the movements of German forces from that direction.

    As Powell - then a major in command of C Company - left the Dakota, the Germans were on the dropping zone shooting up at him, and one of the bullets grazed his fingers. On the ground, the lightly equipped paras, without artillery, armour or air cover, found themselves confronted by determined, well-armed German troops in strong defensive positions.

    A dawn attack by C Company the next morning was successful, but assaults by A and B Companies, with the objective of capturing a dominating feature, were repulsed with very heavy casualties. In the first 36 hours, two-thirds of the battalion was lost and food and ammunition were running short.

    Amidst the carnage, there were acts of the greatest gallantry. Powell said afterwards that one of the Dakotas that had flown over them had been hit and was on fire; it was rapidly losing height, but the RASC dispatchers stood in the doorway throwing out supplies until it was too late for them to jump. The pilot was awarded a posthumous VC.

    As the Brigade attempted to move from the woodland into the Oosterbeek Perimeter, it encountered ferocious German attacks from machine-gun fire and mortar bombs which burst in the trees with deadly effect. An attack by Messerschmitts on the Brigade HQ caused more casualties.

    After his CO and second-in-command were killed, Powell took command of the remnants of 156 Battalion and elements of Brigade HQ, leading them out of the dense woodland towards Oosterbeek. When he took cover in a house, a round of solid shot came through the wall, passed over his head and exited through the other, showering him with debris and leaving a hole a foot in diameter.

    Facing virtual annihilation, Powell led one bayonet charge to clear the enemy from a hollow in a wood and afford a brief respite for the beleaguered survivors. Then, Hackett led another to break through the encircling Germans and reach Oosterbeek, where 1st Airborne Division was clinging to a small bridgehead north of the Neder Rijn.

    For the next six days, Powell and what was left of his battalion fought a rearguard action to defend the eastern sector of the perimeter. Here they saw some of the most bitter fighting of the week. Most of the British anti-tank guns had been destroyed, and German armoured vehicles were able to stand off out of range and smash each building in turn, compelling the defenders, by now hungry and exhausted, to fight from slit trenches in the gardens.

    When orders were given to evacuate, Powell led the survivors downstream in darkness and pouring rain, guided by lines of parachute ropes, each man holding on to the smock of the man in front. At the riverbank, the first boat that he saw was riddled with bullet holes and its sapper crew dead.

    As his men started to swim across a boat appeared, and Powell put half his group on board and waited for it to return, before departing with the remainder. Harassed by scarlet tracer from the German spandaus and with shells dropping around them, they reached the southern bank.

    Powell formed up his 15 men and marched them, bayonets fixed and rifles at the slope, five miles back to the reception area. Although recommended for a DSO, he was awarded an MC. The citation stated that his bravery was an inspiration to all around him. Brigadier Hackett described him as a great fighting man in a great tradition; competent, courageous and self-effacing.

    Geoffrey Stewart Powell was born at Scarborough, Yorkshire, on Christmas Day 1914, a few days after the German naval bombardment of the town. After attending Scarborough College, he started work with a firm of estate agents, but decided that it was not for him and was commissioned as a regular subaltern into The Green Howards in 1939.

    Powell served with the 2nd Battalion at Ferozepore in the Punjab before transferring to 151 British Parachute Battalion (later 156 Parachute Battalion) in 1942.

    Promoted major and given command of C Company, he served in Palestine and Tunisia, but broke a leg in a night drop and missed the invasion of Italy.

    Arnhem was the end of Powell's participation in the Second World War. After attending Staff College, Camberley, he was posted to Java, and subsequently Malaya as brigade major of 49 Indian Infantry Brigade; he was mentioned in dispatches.

    In 1954 Powell returned to the 2nd Battalion Green Howards to command C Company in the Canal Zone and then in operations against Eoka terrorists in Cyprus.

    The next year, he was promoted lieutenant-colonel and appointed to the planning staff of the CIGS, Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer.

    Powell commanded the 11th Battalion King's African Rifles in Kenya in 1957 and then moved to the MoD. In 1962, in his final appointment in the Army, he served as Brigade Colonel Yorkshire Brigade. He then applied for an appointment in the Security Service, took the Civil Service Commission examination and, having passed out close to the top, was accepted. For the next 12 years he worked for MI5, initially on security policy and then on counter-espionage.

    In 1977 Powell moved to Chipping Campden and was able to devote more time to writing. He founded and ran the Campden Bookshop and helped to start the Campden & District Archaeological and History Society. He lectured on Army Staff College battlefield tours of Arnhem, and he was proud of being elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

    As a young man, he enjoyed polo, hunting and beagling. In his latter years, he took to climbing and was a vigorous walker into his eighties.

    Powell published a number of books, among them Men at Arnhem (1976); The Devil's Birthday: The Bridges to Arnhem (1984); Plumer: The Soldier's General (1990); and Buller: a Scapegoat? (1994). The History of The Green Howards (1992) was updated in collaboration with his son, Brigadier John Powell, Colonel of the Green Howards, and republished in 2002.

    Geoffrey Powell died on January 5. He married, in 1944, Felicity Wadsworth, who survives him with their son and daughter.

    Just don't make 'em like this anymore
    • Excellent Topic Excellent Topic x 2
  2. Read this and many orbits and felt humbled that such a gentleman could die without so much as a brief note in the nation television news.

    A great loss to society and may he finally rest in peace.

    • Like Like x 3
  3. If I may be so bold as to add to this thread with a mention from today's Telegraph...

    Major George Fielding

    Major George Fielding, who has died aged 89, was parachuted into north-eastern Italy in 1944 at the head of an SOE unit with the objective of carrying out subversive operations in southern Austria.

    Along with two officers and an NCO, Fielding was dropped near Tramonti, 200 miles behind enemy lines, on the night of August 12. After a hazardous march north, they established a mission with the Italian partisans at Forni Avoltri, some 15 miles from the Austrian frontier.
    It proved impossible to enter Austria in uniform or without documents. Fielding, however, crossed the frontier twice, dressed as a peasant but carrying no papers, to reconnoitre the Upper Gail Valley. He visited a local doctor, known to be anti-Nazi, to find out what were the prospects of establishing a local resistance movement; but his contact told him to drop the idea - most of the Austrians were intimidated by the long reach of the Nazi machine, and all the able-bodied men had been conscripted.

    The Germans reacted swiftly to Fielding's activities, making repeated attacks with regular troops in an attempt to drive him from the area. He relied on the partisans for food, local intelligence and a bodyguard; but when air drops of arms and ammunition promised by the Balkan Air Force did not arrive, morale suffered and his position became increasingly dangerous.

    Fielding blamed these supply failures on the pilots' unwillingness to fly over the mountains at night, and he was moved to send them a message asking that they display "more of the spirit of the Battle of Britain and less of the bottle of Bari".

    Fear of German reprisals led to the betrayal of Fielding's hiding places on two consecutive nights - but he was warned on both occasions and moved just in time. Two of his group, however, were captured, and in October he was betrayed and surrounded. Although wounded, he escaped, and the Germans placed a reward of 800,000 lire on his head, an almost irresistible temptation in a poverty-stricken area.

    A thousand Alpine troops, a Russian brigade and two of the best Italian Republican units – a total of 6,000 men – were diverted from the front in a determined effort to eliminate Fielding's group of 30 partisans and crush the remaining resistance in the region. Local intelligence became scarce and unreliable, and by mid-November the snow had closed the passes for the winter.

    Fielding was ordered to withdraw what remained of his mission to Slovenia. After a gruelling march of 300 miles across the mountains, during which they were short of food and had to ford rivers by night, they reached Crnomelj. On December 27 they were evacuated to southern Italy. Fielding was awarded an immediate DSO.

    George Rudolf Hanbury Fielding was born at Twyford, Berkshire, on July 3 1915, two days after his father, a company commander with the Sherwood Foresters, had sailed for Gallipoli, where he was killed three weeks later. His mother moved with her infant son to the Pays d' Enhaut, in Switzerland, where they joined the English community already established at Château d'Oex.

    George was educated at Shrewsbury before going up to Freiburg University to study German. After a year in Canada on the edge of the Arctic Circle, he sailed for the Argentine, where he worked as assistant to the farm manager on an estancia. He was responsible for supervising gauchos who had a habit of reaching for their skinning knives to settle a difference - but he carried a revolver, and demonstrated his proficiency with the weapon by challenging the foreman to a competition and beating him.

    Fielding worked as a cattle-buyer for a spell, before returning to England to enlist. He was commissioned into the 3rd the King's Own Hussars and was wounded in 1940 in the battle for Crete. After being evacuated by the Royal Navy, he saw active service in the Western Desert before being recruited by the SOE in 1944.

    When Fielding and his comrades arrived at the southern Italian base after being airlifted from Slovenia, their reception was less than fulsome. They had lived off chestnuts for a week, but were obliged to look at a sumptuous buffet through locked glass doors for an hour and a half before being allowed into the mess.

    Fielding was reprimanded by a senior RAF officer for his "bottle of Bari" message, but he defended his action, recounting the many starlit nights that he had waited for supplies, only to be told that bad weather had forced the cancellation of the airdrop.

    His explanation for returning without any money - he had given all that remained to an Italian priest for a stained glass window in his church to commemorate the deaths of the local partisans - was grudgingly accepted; but the loss of 20 gold sovereigns, which had fallen from his pocket in a barn where he was hiding, nearly resulted in a board of enquiry.

    After the war, Fielding bought a mixed farm in the west of Ireland, and ran it successfully for nine years before returning with his family to the Pays d'Enhaut; an excellent skier, for a time he ran a sporting travel agency. His natural charm and command of languages made him a popular member of the international community.

    After the death of his wife, Georgina (née Pope), whom he had married in 1940, Fielding took up painting, which brought him a new circle of friends. He died on January 23, and is survived by a son and a daughter.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. An excellent suggestion P_Y , your wish is my command.

    If anyone can find illustrations or photos when making a post, so as to better inform all of us on the background of some of these fine men and women, please post them.

  5. I have access to a scanner and will try and post those pictures which appear in the Telegraph (or which I have to hunt* down on google)

    *oops! can no longer do this....well, to blazes to the begrudgers - tally ho! :twisted:
  6. A 'related' obituary - as much if it reads from the Squaddies trying to be real people thread.

    From the Daily Telegraph (I recommend signing up to their obits)

    This has to be filmed - but who could fill the man's shoes?.
  7. Obituaries

    February 17, 2005

    Major-General George Crookenden
    Army officer whose diaries as a PoW are a poignant record of the frustrations of prison camp life in wartime Germany

    GEORGE CROOKENDEN was a meticulous man, but a relaxed manner and sense of humour rescued him from any hint of dogmatism. As he would ruefully concede, his principal contribution to the Allied cause in the Second World War was the unpublished diary he kept as prisoner. It revealed that his incarceration was not one of severe hardship, but of frustration and mood swings caused by trivial incidents in the camp and good and bad news from outside: persistent failure of the electric light system; delight at the Allied liberation of Paris; a letter from the wrong girl at home.
    The circumstances of his capture could be made amusing by his light-hearted telling of it. After commissioning into the Royal Artillery in 1941, he volunteered for service overseas and sailed via the Cape to Egypt. In the Western Desert he joined the Essex Yeomanry, nicknamed “Groppi’s Horse” from the time and money spent by their officers at Café Groppi in Cairo’s Kasr el Nil Street. The regiment had been sent out to Palestine with their horses, as part of the 1st Cavalry Division, then mechanised as the 104th Royal Horse Artillery.

    During the withdrawal of the 8th Army from the Gazala Line in June 1942, Crookenden was left in charge of a 25-pounder gun with a broken-down towing tractor. The vehicle was eventually restarted, but Crookenden and his men were overtaken by Rommel’s swift movement with three divisions round the 8th Army’s open flank at Bir Hacheim. Small-arms fire was exchanged, but the situation was hopeless and the Gunners found themselves in the hands of the German 90th Light Division.

    While in a prisoner-of-war cage in the desert south of Tripoli, Crookenden could not fail to notice a vast mural on a rock depicting the coastline of North Africa as a naked woman, reputedly painted by a New Zealand officer. It later became a tourist attraction.

    Flown to Italy with other prisoners, Crookenden was held in a camp near Bari, then moved to a monastery, and finally north to Bologna. The German Army reacted quickly to the Italian armistice in September 1943, and clamped their own guards on the prison camps which the Italians had abandoned. As the American 5th and British 8th armies fought their way up the Italian peninsula, the prisoners were moved by train to Germany, in Crookenden’s case to a converted barracks outside Brunswick, where the final volume of his wartime diary began.

    Read 60 years later, it provides a poignant illustration of the fluctuating nature of prison-camp life, the brevity of the daily entries giving them extra point. Food, letters and amateur dramatic performances were the principal preoccupations, with fragments of news of battles to the east and west adding some spice to humdrum lives. One is left wondering which of the two entries registers the greater hurt: “No letters again,” or “Letter from Mavis F____. It’s amazing how the almost unwanted ones come through.” Others, such as “Heaviest daylight air raid so far (August 24, 1944).

    Five high-explosive bombs inside our wire. Colonel ‘Smash’ Kilkelly of the 8th Hussars and R. H. of the Central India Horse both killed”, need no elaboration.

    George Wayet Derek Crookenden was the only son of Lieutenant-Colonel John Crookenden. He was educated at Winchester and Christ Church, Oxford, where he took a wartime degree in modern history in 1940. After being freed from his prison camp by a reconnaissance unit of the 30th (US) Division in April 1945, he applied for a regular commission.

    That achieved, he embarked on the career of a professional soldier with the characteristic thoroughness which marked his success. He was adjutant of 5th RHA in England, attended the Pakistani Staff College, Quetta, and, after his promotion to brevet lieutenant-colonel in 1960, went to the policy and plans staff at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (Shape) at Fontainebleau.

    Command of 19 Field Regiment, RA, initially at Minden, brought him particular satisfaction. When ordered to prepare his regiment to go to Aden, where the troubles which were to lead to the British withdrawal in 1967 had recently begun, he was delighted to hear his soldiers singing as they finished a hard day’s training: “We’re going to Aden with Georgie Boy.” No greater sign of confidence and trust can be paid to a commanding officer by his soldiers than to be referred to by his first or nickname. His care for them was indicated by his insistence that every man had a full dental check before leaving for South Arabia. Two who refused were left behind.

    His outstanding performance as CO of 19 Field Regiment led to promotion to brigadier and command of 7th Artillery Brigade, responsible for the air-defence of the 1st (British) Corps area in Germany. His blueprint for the air-defence missile deployment remained unchanged for the better part of two decades.

    A year at the Imperial Defence College followed, then 18 months as Chief of the British C-in-C’s Mission to the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. Acknowledged by both sides as uniformed and overt spying, this was always a tricky assignment, but Crookenden managed it without any untoward incident. Promoted to major-general in 1972, he became Chief of the Shape planning staff for contingencies involving Berlin and the Allied garrisons there.

    On leaving the Army in 1975, he applied for the post of bursar at Peterhouse College, Cambridge, and won it in competition with 100 candidates. This final phase of his working life proved to be exceptionally happy. He made a point of getting to know the undergraduates, often sitting late into the night with them over a glass of claret.

    He had one particular brush with the Master, Lord Dacre, who thought he had deliberately “forgotten” to tell the college gardeners not to cut down a Jubilee memorial tree obstructing the back gate. (It was later discovered that the undergraduates had moved the original tree earlier, without anyone noticing.) He was involved with both Dacre and Lord Weinstock in the college’s 700th anniversary appeal, and led one for the restoration of Ely Cathedral, by persuading Peterhouse to put up the initial sum for other colleges to follow. He was chairman and later president of the Cambridgeshire branch of the Soldiers’, Sailors’, Airmen’s and Families Association, the nominated member for Peterhouse of the Evelyn Nursing Home general purposes committee and acted as secretary of the group of interested residents who successfully opposed the building of a new town at Sixmile Bottom, near Cambridge. He was a deputy lieutenant for Cambridgeshire from 1984.

    He married Angela Bourke in 1948. She predeceased him and he is survived by a son and daughter.

    Major-General George Crookenden, DL, Chief of Staff Contingencies Planning, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, 1972-75, was born on December 11, 1920. He died on January 11, 2005, aged 84.

    Diary of a PoW

    July 8, 1944

    . . . the arrival of £4,000 Canadian Red Cross Parcels and the ration of cigarettes.

    July 9

    Russians still advancing. Germans admit evacuation of Lida. Will they be able to stage any sort of counter-attack. We seem to be almost detached here — in physical terms only. Interest in events could hardly be greater.

    July 14

    The storming of the Bastille. Will the French keep the feast? If they do there may be a deal of blood let in German reprisals. However, on verra. Germans admit the loss of Pisik and Wilna. The Man Who Came to Dinner: how did such a medieval play run for so long in London?

    July 15

    Rosemary’s birthday. The next one we shall be together — I wonder! No water. How long will they take to put it right? We are squalid enough as it is.

    July 17

    Germans have removed the electrical connection panels in the room. Cannot imagine what they thought we would do with them.
  8. Peter Benenson

    Believer in individual action who founded Amnesty International after hearing of the imprisonment of two Portuguese students in 1960

    Peter Archer
    Monday February 28, 2005
    The Guardian

    In the first half of the 20th century, political protest was concerned largely with justice for social groups excluded from privilege and power, rather than individuals victimised by a repressive state. Events in Spain, and later in central Europe, together with stories of Soviet gulags, pointed to the suffering concealed inside state prisons, but a concept of persecution as a denial of free thought had yet to be developed.
    Political parties undertook campaigns on behalf of specific victims with whom they were in sympathy, but there was a need to emphasise not the cause for which the prisoners suffered, but the fact that they were imprisoned simply for a belief. Not only could this factor serve as a focus for all the campaigns, but it could enlist large numbers of people who did not see themselves as political activists. The hour found the man - Peter Benenson, the prime mover of Amnesty International, who has died aged 83 from pneumonia, following a long illness.

    The incident which triggered the activation of these ideas is enshrined in Amnesty folklore, even if the details may be uncertain. Benenson's recollection was that on a Tube journey in November 1960 he read a newspaper item about two Portuguese students who were dining privately in a Lisbon restaurant, and drank a toast to liberty. They were overheard, and their gesture led to prison sentences.

    Benenson decided to organise a protest by those who were rarely given to expressing their indignation. The World Refugee Year campaign that was drawing to a close had demonstrated the potential of public opinion. He discussed with a few friends the possibility of a world year against political imprisonment, possibly to culminate on December 10, Human Rights Day, in 1961, when it was hoped that some governments could be persuaded to release a number of prisoners.

    On May 28 that year, the Observer carried a full-page article by Benenson headlined The Forgotten Prisoners. The campaign was called Appeal For Amnesty, a title borrowed from the campaign specifically for the release of political prisoners in Spain, conducted by the political left there.

    Benenson had already begun work on a book, later published by Penguin, entitled Persecution 1961, which consisted of case studies of political prisoners from various regimes, concentrating on the consequences for the individuals concerned.

    The reaction to the Observer article surprised everyone. People wrote asking what they could do, and this led to what became Amnesty's early distinguishing mark. Those working in the same office, teaching in the same school, or worshipping at the same church, were encouraged to organise themselves into "threes groups". Each group was allocated three prisoners, respectively from the western hemisphere, the then Iron Curtain countries, and what have since come to be called the developing countries.

    They would lobby for the prisoners' release, write to those who were permitted to receive letters, and send such gifts and comforts as could be delivered. Thus every member might be working for at least one prisoner whose views he or she did not share. What was at issue was not the opinions which they had expressed, but their right to express them.

    This was a new form of political action, operating on a person-to-person basis. The strong relationships forged between prisoners and group members, even when they could not meet, introduced a new dimension to individual involvement.

    Inevitably, the individual activity required institutional support. It was necessary to establish a library of prisoners, with the maximum information about them. There was a need for paid staff, for fundraising, and for rules about the involvement of members. Amnesty was no longer a limited campaign, but had become a movement. It became necessary to define those for whom Amnesty was working, and there was much debate as to who was a "prisoner of conscience", and whether the term could include those whose protest exceeded the mere expression of an opinion.

    Groups were formed in other countries, and it became necessary to form national sections. The first international conference came at the end of 1961, and an international executive was established. All this was taking place alongside the daily campaigning for the release of specific prisoners.

    If the growth was too slow to meet the need, it was too fast for the development of organisational structures. Local groups complained of the service which they received from the centre. Benenson realised that the movement was overstretched, and became depressed about progress. In 1964, there was discord between him and other Amnesty leaders, particularly Sean MacBride, the best-known figure in the movement.

    By 1967, funding, never wholly adequate, had failed to keep pace with the need, and Amnesty staff lived under perpetual threat that there would be no funds to pay their salaries. Yet between June 1966 and June 1967, the number of groups increased from 410 to 550, and Amnesty was accorded consultative status with Unesco.

    Benenson had become tired, and during 1966 his health had suffered. He began to withdraw from the organisational work, and at the end of the year he resigned. But by then his offspring was safe, and it has continued to grow, to the point where it now has more than 1.8m members and supporters around the world.

    Born in London to a mother from a Russian-Jewish background and an army officer father who died while he was young, Benenson was tutored privately by WH Auden before going to Eton. There his social conscience was awakened when he established a relief committee for refugees from the Spanish civil war, and then participated in the rescue of Jewish children from Nazi Germany.

    He was admitted to Balliol College, Oxford, to read history, but his academic progress was interrupted by the second world war. After a period at the Ministry of Information, he was recruited for military intelligence work at Bletchley Park.
    While waiting for demobilisation in 1946, he read for the bar, and began practising as a barrister. But his interests lay in politics. He joined the Labour party, and stood unsuccessfully for parliament. He was active in the Society of Labour Lawyers, but his passion was not evoked by questions of law reform, which he felt failed to capture the imagination of the public.

    In 1947, sponsored by the TUC, he had attended a political trial in Spain, and helped to found Labour's Spanish Democrats defence committee. In 1956, high-profile political trials in South Africa and Hungary persuaded him that questions of individual freedom, on which lawyers were particularly qualified to speak, should transcend party differences, and in that year he participated in the founding of Justice, the British section of the International Commission of Jurists.

    In 1958, he underwent a conversion to Roman Catholicism, and his new faith became a dominant influence in his life. He ceased to look to politics for a solution to the world's problems, and concluded that the answers lay in individual regeneration.

    The following year, he developed a digestive illness, ceased to practise law, and moved to Italy for a period of convalescence. While recuperating, he became increasingly interested in the Moral Rearmament movement, founded by Frank Buchman in 1938. Although he never became actively involved, he recognised an echo of his own thinking in its emphasis on improving the world, not by collective action, but by the commitment of individuals.

    In 1977, Amnesty International was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Governments continue to draw on its expertise, and prisoners continue to be released in response to its efforts. Its campaign against torture has achieved worldwide support, and its candle in barbed wire symbol - Benenson had had in mind the Chinese proverb "better light a candle than curse the darkness" - is universally recognised.

    One of his last acts for Amnesty was to write a message launching the appeal to set up its recently opened £10m Human Rights Action Centre in London, in order to accommodate its growing staff, and to provide educational and campaign facilities for activists. It will stand as a living memorial to his vision.

    He is survived by his wife Susan, a daughter, a son, and two daughters from his first marriage.

    · Peter James Henry Solomon Benenson, human rights campaigner, born July 31 1921; died February 25 2005
  9. Major Dick Rubinstein
    Daily Telegraph 28/02/2005

    Major Dick Rubinstein, who has died aged 83, won the MC and the Croix de Guerre serving on SOE Jedburgh missions in France and Burma.

    On the night of August 6 1944, Rubinstein's team was parachuted into Brittany, north-east of Vannes. The "Jeds" were not spies, but primarily a liaison force, and Rubinstein was wearing the uniform of a British paratrooper and a captain's badges. He was armed with a.45 Colt revolver, M1 carbine and commando knife and was carrying five million francs for local supplies and wages for the French Resistance.

    The money was handed over at the HQ of the Forces Français de L'Interieur and for the next week the team were concealed in a small oyster farm. Working with the SAS and the FFI, they helped with the landing of gliders carrying arms for 3,000 men and harassed the German garrisons in the naval bases. By the end of the month, most of the region had been cleared of the enemy. On his return to England, Rubinstein had to pay customs duty on a silk dress that he had bought for his wife.

    On September 15, Rubinstein and his team were dropped by night into the Jura, south-east of Besançon, to assist the local Maquis in attacking the Germans along the Allies' main axis of advance from the south. After the setback at Arnhem, a Rhine crossing that autumn was ruled out and the team concentrated on reporting on enemy troop movements. When they were ordered to make their way home, they split up for safety reasons. Rubinstein found a German motorbike but ran into the French Army and was promptly arrested and tied to a tree while his future, which seemed likely to be short, was deliberated.

    He persuaded his captors to verify his credentials by calling SOE HQ with a coded message giving his house number in London. He was released and flew back to England in October. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre and was mentioned in despatches.

    In December 1944, Rubinstein was attached to SOE Force 136 and, the following month, was parachuted by night into Burma with two comrades. He said later that, despite being a veteran, before the drop he had "felt rotten all afternoon; very frightened and also irritated by the non-op types who kept saying, 'Don't worry, old boy, the chute won't open anyway.'" Guided by fires, the team was dropped in the Kutkai area of northern Burma to reinforce an SOE intelligence group led by Bill Howe, a former rice buyer. The "Jeds" sustained themselves on fruit, rice with chillies, stewed meat along with bartered eggs, buffalo milk and the odd chicken. They lived with the Burmese, sleeping in thatched huts or in the open under mosquito nets.

    Intelligence on the movements of the Japanese was supplied by the local Kachin, tough, cheerful, hill people fiercely loyal to the British. Rubinstein organised fighting patrols composed of guerrilla groups who would set up concealed camps, reconnoitre for enemy bivouacs and attack at night, often going in close with their short swords. Japanese military targets were ambushed, roads were mined and convoys shot up.

    Rubinstein's men were in action almost every day and by the end of February 1945, they had taken a heavy toll of the enemy. In March, General Chiang Kai-Shek's forces arrived from the north. The next month, in an operation code-named "Chimp", Rubinstein and his five-man squad were dropped into a dry river valley surrounded by forest north of Pyinmana. Two of them fell in the trees but by the time the Japanese had arrived they had made their getaway.

    The Army was badly in need of intelligence about Japanese troop dispositions and Rubinstein raised 200 guerrillas through the local leader of the Communist Anti-Fascist Organisation. During the month, they ambushed enemy troops, called down air strikes on strategic targets, and captured arms and ammunition.

    A Japanese major-general, six of his staff and 17 other ranks were killed in one ambush. Important documents found with them were despatched immediately by runner to General Slim's forces. When the news of this coup reached London, it had a marked effect on the willingness of the military planners to increase support for Force 136, the SOE and the Burmese resistance.

    In June, Rubinstein was moved to Toungoo with orders to stop the Japanese crossing the Sittang and making for the border with Siam. So successful was his Burmese force that he questioned the number of kills reported. Proof was then produced in the form of amputated right ears carefully wrapped in green leaf packages.

    Rubinstein afterwards estimated that his force of 1,000 fighters had accounted for 2,500 of the enemy as well as taking 200 prisoners. In October, after the Japanese surrender, he was posted to Calcutta to organise the reception and care of agents being withdrawn from operations. He was awarded an immediate MC.

    Richard Arthur Rubinstein, the son of an importer of millinery, was born in London on August 29 1921. His grandfather, a Latvian Jew, had come to England in the early 19th century.

    Young Richard went to University College School and won a place at Imperial College to read Aeronautical Engineering. But the outbreak of war intervened and he enlisted in the Royal Engineers and was posted to 321 Company 26 Anti-Aircraft Battalion.

    After being granted a commission, he commanded a searchlight troop in Norfolk, travelling by motor-bike on a 50-mile circuit to control six searchlight sites and 80 men. In 1943, he was promoted captain and had 24 searchlights in his charge.

    He then volunteered to serve in Occupied Europe and, after intense training, including parachute jumps at Ringway, was recruited into an SOE Jedburgh team.

    In February 1946 Rubinstein returned to England from Burma to find that his parents' house had been destroyed by a bomb. He took charge of a POW camp in Devon for a few months and was then demobilised. He then spent two years at Imperial College and, after a spell with ICI, joined De Haviland Hawker Siddeley at Hatfield, Hertfordshire. He was later responsible for selling the company's gas turbine control systems to the Royal Navy and stayed with the organisation until he retired in 1986.

    In retirement, Rubinstein lived in Hendon, north London, but his holiday home was a small boat moored on the Beaulieu River. He and his wife, Gay, spent many happy summers cruising on the Solent. He was an active member of the Special Forces Club and used to arrive for meetings on his motor-bike until he was close to 80.

    He was proud of his Jewish roots but converted to the Church of England so that he could share his faith with his wife.

    Dick Rubinstein died on February 23. He married, in 1943, Gay Garnsley, who survives him with their two sons.
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  10. All right, who wanked up the thread formatting (frantic sideways scrolling required!)
  11. Missed this one last week.

    Major General 'Bala' Bredin
  12. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    From The website of the Royal Hong Kong Regiment (The Volunteers) association's website:

  13. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

  14. The Rt Rev Lord Sheppard of Liverpool
    (Filed: 07/03/2005)

    The Right Reverend the Lord Sheppard of Liverpool, who died on Saturday aged 75, was an outstanding Bishop of Liverpool, particularly involved in the Church of England's social policies; earlier in his career he had been hardly less celebrated as the first ordained minister to have played Test cricket.

    Captain in turn of Cambridge and Sussex, Sheppard played for England before taking Orders. An opening batsman, he was at his prime during the three seasons from 1951 to 1953, in each of which he scored more than 2,000 runs, compiling 24 centuries in the process.

    Once he started training for the priesthood in 1953, it seemed that his cricket would be confined to vacations. In the event, he would add the captaincy of England to his laurels, and make two centuries against Australia.

    Those who regarded Sheppard as the epitome of polite, inoffensive Anglican respectability had some cause for surprise after he became Bishop of Liverpool in 1975. With his deep Biblical faith, and his commitment to social change, Sheppard proved a sharp critic of the Thatcher government's policies - a stand that may have cost him the chance to succeed Robert Runcie as Archbishop of Canterbury.

    The most important factor in Sheppard's ministry on Merseyside was his close co-operation with Derek Worlock, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool. The two men arrived in the city within a year of each other, and Sheppard called at Archbishop's House within an hour of Worlock's appointment.

    They spoke to each other on the telephone every evening, and enjoyed such a close relationship that one Liverpool wag, seeing them walk down Hope Street, which links the city's two cathedrals, called out: "It's time you two got married."

    David Stuart Sheppard was born on March 6 1929, the son of a London solicitor and a cousin of "Tubby" Clayton, the founder of Toc H. Although his father died when David was eight, he inspired the boy with a love of cricket, taking him to watch Sussex at Hove. David had a fine treble voice and enjoyed reading and music, but his elder sister and his mother, a steady underarm bowler, ensured that cricket was not neglected.

    Sheppard's first ambition was to be a left-arm bowler in the mould of Hedley Verity. Even at Sherborne he did not at first show any marked talent for batting. He did not play for the first XI until he was 17, and then collected two ducks in his first two matches. However, showing the determination which would be the hallmark of his entire career, he finished the school season of 1944 with an average of 44.

    The main elements of Sheppard's game were already in place: sound defence, infinite patience, and an eagerness to drive off the front foot. In 1947 he scored 768 runs for Sherborne and averaged 78, which earned him a place in the Public Schools side against the Combined Services at Lord's. The young Peter May, from Charterhouse, scored 146; Sheppard could only manage nine and 12. Later that summer, in his first innings for Sussex, he was out first ball.

    During his National Service, in which he was commissioned into the Royal Sussex Regiment, his commanding officer allowed him time off for cricket with the Sussex Second XI. In 1949 Sheppard returned to the full county side against Oxford University, and top-scored in both innings.

    Yet his early career was a struggle. "There are times," he reflected, "especially in big cricket, when it feels more like an ordeal by fire than a game." Nevertheless he ended the 1949 season in a blaze of glory, with a double century and two centuries in successive matches.

    This promise was amply fulfilled in the next year, at Cambridge, where he held an exhibition to read History at Trinity Hall. He hit 227 against the West Indian tourists at Fenners, and narrowly missed a century in the Varsity match when he was deceived by Donald Carr's googly on 93. Further solid performances for Sussex won him a place in the fourth Test against the West Indies; he made 11 and 29. During his second innings the birth of Princess Anne was announced. "Let's have a wicket for the Princess," the West Indies responded, and Sheppard duly fell to Alf Valentine.

    In 1950-51 he went with MCC to Australia; with his high back lift, however, he found it difficult to cope with the pace of Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller. He played in the last two Tests, battling to an honourable 41 in the second innings at Adelaide.

    Despite scoring heavily in 1951, Sheppard was unable to force his way into the England side. In 1952, however, his performances were almost Bradmanesque. As captain of Cambridge he hit seven centuries for the university, including 239 not out against Worcestershire (his highest first-class score), and 127 against Oxford in a drawn Varsity match. In his three seasons for Cambridge he made 3,545 runs at an average of 62.19.

    Recalled to the England side for the last two Tests against India in 1952, Sheppard made 119 at the Oval. He finished the season top of the first-class averages, with 2,262 runs at 64.62. Peter May, Len Hutton and Tom Graveney lagged behind.

    Sheppard had arrived at Cambridge with merely formal religious beliefs; then, during a Christian Union mission conducted by Dr Donald Grey Bamhouse, an American Evangelist, he underwent a conversion which gave him a deep and abiding Christian commitment.

    Even so, after deciding to prepare for ordination at Ridley Hall, he gave one last full season to Sussex in 1953, captaining them to second place in the championship. There was, however, no place for him in the England team that won back the Ashes that summer.

    Sheppard now imagined that his cricket would be restricted to the odd game for Sussex, as his ecclesiastical duties allowed. In 1954, however, he was approached by Ronnie Aird, secretary of MCC, who asked if he might be available to take on the England captaincy.

    England had just played a sour and bitter series in the West Indies, and the authorities were at that point wondering whether Hutton, for all his mastery as a batsman, was really the right man to lead his country.

    Sheppard decided that the situation warranted the interruption of his theological training, and agreed to make himself available for MCC's tour of Australia in 1954-55 if offered the captaincy. Early in June he returned to the Sussex side; and when Hutton fell ill after the first Test against Pakistan, he was duly called up to lead England in the second Test at Nottingham.

    England won by an innings, and Sheppard retained the captaincy for the next Test at Old Trafford, which was ruined by rain. Once again, he had proved himself a thoroughly competent leader; all the same it was finally decided that Hutton should captain England in Australia.

    Sheppard professed relief, and went back to Ridley Hall prior to his ordination at Michaelmas 1955. He had managed, however, to play 18 first-class matches that summer; and when, in June 1956, he made 97 for Sussex against the Australians, "Gubby" Allen enquired whether he might be available for Test duty. Sheppard was allowed time off from his curacy to prepare himself for the role by playing for Sussex, and was quickly brought back to the England side for the fourth Test at Manchester.

    This was the match in which Jim Laker took 19 wickets; Sheppard, for his part, distinguished himself by scoring 113. He was equally impressive in the fifth Test at the Oval, when he made 62 on a bowler's wicket.

    In 1957 Sheppard was again recalled to the England side for the fourth and fifth Tests against the West Indies. That year, however, he was appointed Warden of the Mayflower Family Centre in Canning Town, in east London, so that between 1958 and 1961 he was available for only seven matches for Sussex.

    This did not prevent him from again being touted as a potential England captain for the tour of Australia in 1962-63. In May 1962 Sheppard announced that he would play two months' cricket for Sussex. His performances were patchy, redeemed by a century for the Gentlemen against the Players at Lord's.

    Back in the England side for the fourth Test against Pakistan, he battled to 83, and then made another half century at the Oval.

    Ted Dexter, however, was appointed captain in Australia. Sheppard went as a member of the side, and secured an England victory with an innings of 113 not out at Melbourne. In the last Test, at Sydney, he made 68 and, by his own account, considered he had never batted better. Less happily, Sheppard, a fine fielder in his prime, dropped a number of catches in the series. "It's a pity the Reverend don't put his hands together more often in the field," Fred Trueman observed.

    On leave from his clerical duties, Sheppard refused to play on Sundays, although in those days this affected only charity matches. With the agreement of Ted Dexter and the Duke of Norfolk, the tour manager, he accepted invitations to preach in the cathedrals of all the Australian state capitals.

    Altogether Sheppard played in 22 Test matches, making 1,172 runs at an average of 37.80. In his 230 first-class matches he scored 15,838 runs, averaging 45.75, with 45 centuries. The last act in his cricketing career would be his appointment as President of Sussex in 2001.

    From 1953, though, Sheppard's principal concern had been with the Church. In 1955, he had been ordained to a curacy at St Mary's, Islington, a notable north London centre of evangelicalism, which was then under Maurice Wood, who was later to become Bishop of Norwich.

    Although St Mary's was always filled to capacity and parish life was booming, Sheppard became vividly aware of the gulf between the Church and the working class; and it was this that determined the course of his future ministry.

    At Canning Town he threw himself into the life of London's declining docklands. When he arrived at the Mayflower Family Centre in 1957, there was only a handful of people there; 12 years later there were 110, with a full-time staff of 10 and much work to be undertaken among the young and the elderly.

    It was a tough job, not least in the uphill task of getting local people to accept responsibility, and although Sheppard's work was deemed to be a great success, he came to see the need for changing social structures as well as human hearts.

    In 1969 Mervyn Stockwood, the controversial Bishop of Southwark, invited Sheppard to succeed John "Honest to God" Robinson as Bishop of Woolwich. Cynics supposed at first that Stockwood, the supreme impresario, was concerned only to replace a world-famous theologian with a world-famous cricketer, but they soon discovered that the elegant batsman had made good use of his time in Islington, and in Docklands.

    His first decision was to live in Peckham, rather than in the Surrey stockbroker belt where the bishop's house had previously been located. He then spent a whole day listening to black community leaders – a group which had taken him to their hearts a year earlier when he led an assault on the MCC establishment for allowing race factors to determine the composition of the team which had been chosen to tour South Africa. This provoked tremendous wrath at Lord's and alienated Sheppard from some of his cricketing friends.

    Six busy years followed. Besides his pastoral leadership in South East London, he was chairman of the Peckham Settlement and also of the Evangelical Urban Training Project.

    A substantial book, Built as a City (1974), established him as an authority on the Church's work in urban areas. He began to propose rather more controversial projects. Amongst his bright ideas, he advocated the bringing together of all development land under public ownership and the absorption of public schools into the state educational system.

    Before long there was speculation about his next move, and it seemed likely that he would succeed Cuthbert Bardsley as Bishop of Coventry. But by this time Coventry was seeking consolidation rather than controversy and when Stuart Blanch was translated to the Archbishopric of York in 1975 Sheppard succeeded him at Liverpool.

    Thus began one of the most creative episcopal ministries of recent times. Not long after Sheppard's arrival, Merseyside found itself in an acute economic and social crisis. The decline of the port and its associated commerce led to widespread unemployment and the dislocation of community life. Racial tension became high and there were destructive riots in Toxteth and other deprived inner-city areas.

    Sheppard and his new confrere Archbishop Worlock devoted much time to all this. They tackled the city council for its partisan stance and lack of vision, and identified themselves closely with the poorest sections of the region. This led Sheppard to develop an interest in the work of the liberation theologians of Latin America.

    In another book, Bias to the Poor (1983), he argued that such a bias is not a political preference but, rather, a willingness to "listen to the poor, exist with them, try to stand in their shoes, and then be willing for them to take a full share in the leadership and decision-making". Unsurprisingly, the book generated a remarkable amount of controversy, and was sharply attacked by many other clerics.

    He and Worlock were acutely aware of Liverpool's reputation as one of the most religiously divided communities in the United Kingdom, so they drew the Moderator of the Free Churches into their company and by wide-ranging and sustained collaboration brought about a change of atmosphere in the city which has been described as miraculous.

    Three books - Better Together (1988), With Christ in the Wilderness (1990) and With Hope Together (1994) – written jointly by Sheppard and Worlock, made their experience more widely known. Reconciliation in Church and society was their theme.

    In 1978 Sheppard became chairman of the Area Board of the Manpower Services Commission for Merseyside and Cheshire, and from 1983 to 1985 he was vice-chairman of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Commission on Urban Priority Areas which produced a controversial report, Faith in the City.

    He was elected national president of Family Service Units in 1987, and from 1989 to 1993 was chairman of the Central Religious Advisory Committee for the BBC and ITA - a somewhat thankless task, as he quickly discovered.

    Ever-growing national and international commitments frequently made it necessary during the period that Sheppard was bishop to leave much of the pastoral work of the diocese to the suffragan Bishop of Warrington. Sheppard was sometimes criticised for this, but he was always ready to welcome to his home and beautiful garden those who really needed him.

    In 1980 he was introduced to the Upper House of Parliament as a Lord Spiritual, and was always listened to with respect (though rarely with agreement) by the Conservative benches. Soon after his retirement in 1997, Tony Blair made him a life peer as Lord Sheppard of Liverpool.

    He continued to speak in the House of Lords on social matters, especially when he believed government policies to be contrary to the interests of the poor. His sermons, firmly rooted in the Bible and never neglecting the need for personal piety, were also always worth hearing.

    Over the years he moved considerably from the neo-fundamentalist evangelicalism which had influenced him so profoundly at Cambridge, though the conviction that the Church was in the business of saving souls as well as societies never left him. His friends often wished, however, that his earnestness might have been tempered by a keener sense of humour.

    Liverpool University honoured him with an LLD in 1981 and the Liverpool Polytechnic with an Honorary DTech in 1987. Cambridge followed with an Honorary DD in 1991, Trinity Hall having elected him to an Honorary Fellowship in 1983. He was given the Freedom of the City of Liverpool in 1995.

    David Sheppard married, in 1957, Grace Isaac; they had a daughter.

    © Copyright of Telegraph
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