Alan Brooke

Alan Brooke, the son of the wealthy Victor Brooke of Ulster, was born in France on 23rd July, 1883. He joined the British Army and served in Ireland and India before going to France in 1914.

Brooke served on the Western Front during the First World War. An expert on artillery tactics, Brooke was mentioned six times in dispatches and became chief artillery officer in the 1st British Army.

In 1923 Brooke was promoted to colonel and lectured at Camberley Military College and the Imperial Defense College. In 1937 he was given the command of Britain's first mobile division and the following year he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and became head of the Territorial Anti-Aircraft Corps.

In August 1939 Brooke was appointed head of Southern Command and on the outbreak of the Second World War went to France as a member of the British Expeditionary Force under General John Gort. In June 1940 Brooke played a leading role in the evacuation of British troops at Dunkirk.

Brooke returned to Britain and in July 1940 he replacedEdmund Ironside as commander of the Home Forces. In this post Brooke had several major disagreements with Winston Churchill about military strategy. It therefore came as a surprise when Churchill appointed him Chief of Imperial Staff in December 1941.

Although the two men continued to disagree about a large number of issues, for example, Brooke favoured an early invasion of Europe on order to take pressure off the Red Army on the Eastern Front, he gradually became Churchill's most important military adviser in the war.

Brooke was offered command of the British troops in the Middle East in August 1942 but turned it down suggesting General Harold Alexander for the post. In his diary Brooke recorded that it was more important for him to remain in Britain in order to stop Churchill making any major military mistakes.

Churchill had promised Brooke command of Operation Overlord in 1944. However, President Franklin D. Roosevelt insisted that General Dwight Eisenhower should be given this important task.

Promoted to field marshal in January 1944 he was created Baron Alanbrooke of Brookeborough in September 1945. After retiring from the British Army he was a director of Midland Bank. Alan Brooke died on 17th June 1963.

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