The GOC Commanding the Division was Major-General Gwilyn Ivor Thomas. His father had been Master of The Queens Music to Queen Victoria. He was, as Lieutenant-General Sir Brian Horrocks described him, âa difficult manâ! We, who served under him, thought that he had the charm of a striking rattle snake!
Nevertheless, we owe him a great debt of gratitude. He was a superb trainer and a fine tactician. He prepared us well for war and led us magnificently throughout the campaign. We were grateful for his leadership - but, I guess, few of us wished to meet him on a social occasion.
In the light of hindsight - and with my own advancing years - I judge General Thomas to have been a lonely and, perhaps, an unhappy man.
As a final farewell I would say to Sir G. Ivor Thomas, KCB. DSO, MC - as he subsequently became - âRest well, old warrior. Thank you for your skills - and greater personal happiness to you the next time aroundâ.
(photo) His normal face. During the year I spent under his command â I only saw him smile once â It was a horrific experience !
I, and others, think he was almost a facial double of Adolf Hitler !