graduate

Giffard, George James (1886-1964)

Giffard had long experience in West Africa, where he had fought during the First World War. However, he also served on the staff of 2 Division in 1933-1935, when it was commanded by Wavell. Wavell was sufficiently impressed with Giffard that he requested him to take command of Commonwealth forces in east India following the loss of Burma and the failure of the first Arakan campaign. Giffard applied himself to the task of restoring morale in Eastern Army by improving medical care and rations and revising personnel policies. Slim, who also thought very highly of him, described him as a man who kept himself in top physical and mental condition and who genuinely disliked publicity, who was thoughtful of others (including his men), and who had a deep understanding of how war should be waged.

However, Mountbatten judged him too stolid and unimaginative, and Giffard, who openly resented serving under the youthful Mountbatten, found himself caught between two dynamic officers who thought much alike. The final straw came when Giffard objected to Mountbatten questioning his rotation policy for the divisions under his command. Mountbatten recommended that a new overall land forces commander be appointed for SEAC, but it took six months for the Americans and British to agree on who the officer should be. According to Mountbatten, during this difficult period Giffard "behaved ... in a perfectly courteous and loyal manner.... If he could have behaved this way earlier, I might never have had to ask for his relief" (Lewin 1976).

Service record

1886-9-27     

Born
1906
Second lieutenant     
1 Battalion, Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment
1913

King's African Rifles
1919

Staff College
1920

Royal West African Frontier Force
1928      
     
Instructor, Staff College, Camberley
1931

Imperial Defense College
1932-1

Commander, 2 Battalion, Queen's Regiment
1933-7-22
Colonel
Staff, 2 Division
1935

Aide-de-camp, King George V
1936
Major general     
Inspector-general, West African Frontier Force
1938

Inspector-general, African Colonial Forces
1939

Military Secretary, War Office
1940-4
Lieutenant general      Commander, Palestine and Transjordan
1940-8

Commander, West Africa
1941
General

1943-5-26     
     
Commander, Eastern Army, India
1943-8     

Commander, 11 Army Group, Burma
1944-10

Commander, Allied Land Forces, Southeast Asia
1944-11-12     

Aide-de-camp, King George VI
1946-8-7

Retires
1964-11-17

Dies

References

Corrigan (2010)

Generals.dk (accessed 2008-11-4)

Lewin (1976)

Marston (2005)

Pettibone (2006)

queensroyalsurreys.org.uk (accessed 2010-12-17)

Slim (1956)



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