graduate

Irwin, Noel Macintosh Stuart (1892-1972)

Irwin commanded IV Indian Corps at Imphal during the retreat from Burma. On meeting Slim at the end of the retreat, Irwin was so harshly critical that Slim told him that "I never thought an officer whose command I was about to join could be so rude to me." Irwin snapped back that "I can't be rude. I'm senior." (Lewin 1976). This was entirely in character for Irwin, who though intellectually gifted was astonishingly arrogant and  inconsiderate of those under his command. Unsurprisingly, he was also a poor delegator. However, he had grasped the importance of air transport by the end of 1942.

Irwin commanded Eastern Army during the first Arakan campaign. Slim was critical of his decision not to activate a corps command to direct the nine brigades involved in the British attack. Irwin attempted to have Slim relieved (though he was in no way responsible for the debacle) but was himself relieved instead.

Corrigan (2010) suggests the antipathy of Irwin towards Slim can be traced back to 1940, when Slim relieved a battalion commander whose battalion broke during the East Africa campaign. The officer was  a close personal friend of Irwin.

Service record

1892    
  born
1917     
Colonel     
Commander, 2 Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, France
1918

Commander, 8 Battalion, Leicester Regiment, France
1918

Commander, 1 Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, France
1933

Chief instructor, Royal Military College Sandhurst
1937

Staff, British Troops in China
1939
Brigadier     
Commander, 6 Brigade, France
1940-5-20     
Major general     
Commander, 2 Division, France
1940-8-12

Commander, 38 Division
1941-12
Lieutenant general     
Commander, XI Corps
1942-3

Commander, IV Indian Corps, Burma
1942-7      

Commander, Eastern Army
1943-5-26     

Commander, 14 Indian Division
1944

Commander, East Scotland District
1946

Commander, West Africa Command
1948

Retires
1972

Dies

References

Allen (1984)

Corrigan (2010)

Generals.dk (accessed 2010-4-5)

Lewin (1976)
Pettibone (2006)


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