Charles Coleman (British Army officer)
|Sir Charles Coleman|
|Died||17 June 1974 (aged 70 or 71)|
|Years of service||1923–1959|
|Commands held||4th Bn Welch Regiment
43rd (Wessex) Division
British Forces in Berlin
|Battles/wars||Second World War|
|Awards||Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Coleman was born in Plymouth in 1903, the son of A. E. Coleman of Downderry, Cornwall. He was educated at Plymouth College and at Sandhurst. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Welch Regiment in 1923, with whom he served in China, Malaya and India. He was adjutant of the 2nd Battalion from 1932 to 1935.
During the Second World War, Coleman commanded the 4th Battalion from 1941 to 1944 and took over as acting commander of the 160th Brigade in 1943. He commanded the brigade from 1944 to 1946, leading it throughout the campaign in North-West Europe from Normandy very nearly to the borders of Denmark by way of Falaise, Antwerp, Nijmegen, 's-Hertogenbosch, Wessem, the Ardennes, the Reichswald, the Rhine, the Weser, and Hamburg. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in 1945 and the Militaire Willemsorde in 1947. As his Brigade Major wrote after his death, the respect the men of the Brigade had for him "probably gave him as much pleasure and satisfaction as any of his later achievements". Certainly he wrote very warmly of the achievements of 53rd (Welsh) Division in his preface to the history of its part in the Second World War, published in 1955, and as its author makes clear, he made a considerable contribution to this account.
In 1945, Coleman briefly served as the acting General Officer Commanding the 53rd Division. In 1946 he attended the Staff College before returning to command the 160th Brigade from 1947 to 1948. From 1949 to 1951 he was GOC South-Western District and 43rd (Wessex) Division. He was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 1950. He served as Commandant of the British Sector in Berlin from 1951 to 1954 and was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1954. From 1954 until 1956 he served as Chief of Staff to the Northern Army Group (British Army of the Rhine). He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in 1957. His final appointment was as GOC-in-C Eastern Command from 1956 to 1959. He served as Colonel of the Welch Regiment from 1958 to 1965.
Coleman played hockey for Wales and was a keen shot. He married Margaret Mary, daughter of Bruce Petrie of Singapore, in 1935. They had three daughters.
He died on 17 June 1974 in the Cambridge Military Hospital, Aldershot and was buried at St Mary’s Church, Bentworth. He was survived by his wife. A memorial service was subsequently held at Llandaff Cathedral on 17 September 1974.
- Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
- Barclay, History of 53rd (Welsh) Division
|Commandant, British Sector in Berlin
Sir William Oliver
Sir Francis Festing
|GOC-in-C Eastern Command
Sir James Cassels
Sir Geoffrey Robson
|Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey
Sir Charles Mills