Glyn Gilbert

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Glyn Gilbert
Glyn Gilbert and Field Marshall Montgomery.jpg
Glyn Gilbert receives the Military Cross from Field Marshal Montgomery
Born 1920
Died 26 September 2003
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1939-1974
Rank Major-General
Commands held 44th Parachute Brigade
3rd Division
Battles/wars Second World War
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Military Cross

Major-General Glyn Charles Anglim Gilbert CB MC (1920 – 26 September 2003) was a 20th-century British military officer who saw active service during the Second World War. In 1970 he became the highest ranking Bermudian military officer when he was promoted to the rank of Major General in the British Army.

Early life[edit]

Gilbert was born into a family with its roots in the 17th century settlement of Bermuda.[1] His father, Major Charles Gray Gosling Gilbert, OBE, MC, was the long-time head of the Colony's education department (1924–56) [1][2] (the school of Gilbert Institute,[3] in Paget, is named for him). Charles Gilbert, 1913 Bermuda Rhodes Scholar, had been studying at the University of Oxford, Brasenose College, in England when the Great War began. He left his studies and was commissioned into the Royal West Kent Regiment, before serving on the Western Front in the Machine Gun Corps.[2][4][5] (Other Bermudian students in Britain similarly left their studies for the Army, including 1916 Bermuda Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, Lennock de Graaf Godet, killed-in-action while serving in the Royal Flying Corps).[6] During the Second World War, he was also in charge of cable censorship in Bermuda.

Glyn Gilbert was born in England, where his father worked briefly after leaving the Army on the end of the Great War. Raised in Bermuda, he was sent to Eastbourne College in England.[1] After finishing school the year before the start of the Second World War, and anticipating the coming conflict, Glyn Gilbert returned briefly to Bermuda before enrolling at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.[1] The 1939 class of officer cadets was hurried through its training, and Gilbert was commissioned into the Lincolnshire Regiment.[1] Two contingents from the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps (BVRC) had served with the Lincolnshire Regiment on the Western Front, during the Great War. Since the 1920s, the affiliation between the two units had been given official sanction, with the Lincolns taking a paternal relationship to the BVRC, akin to that with its own Territorial battalions. The BVRC would send drafts to the Lincolns again, in 1940, and 1944.

Service in Second World War[edit]

In 1944, Major Gilbert, as Officer Commanding "C" Company, 2 Lincolns, was one of only two Bermudians to land on the beaches of Normandy. He later earned the immediate award of the Military Cross in the crossing of the Escaut Canal, part of a larger operation to cross the Rhine.[1] He, and another Company Commander involved, was decorated with the medal by Field Marshal Montgomery, personally. As Gilbert put it, 'later that day [of the crossing], the ribbon was pinned on while we were still in the field. The next day we were relieved by a contingent of Bermudians', which included his cousin, Lieutenant Ambrose Gosling. The Bermudians were part of a draft of Lincolns sent from England, under the command of Bermudian Major Anthony W. F. "Toby" Smith, who was killed in action shortly thereafter. Glyn ended the War in Northern Germany, where 2 Lincolns had taken part in the capture of Bremen.[1] He was one of four Bermudians who served in the Lincolns during the War and who attained the rank of Major while serving in the regiment (the others were Anthony Smith, Robert Brownlow-Tucker, and Patrick Purcell).

Post-war service[edit]

After the War, Gilbert attached to the Third Battalion of the Parachute Regiment (3 Para), serving in Palestine.[1] He moved through a number of subsequent positions, ultimately transferring wholly to the Parachute Regiment. In 1962, Gilbert was appointed Regimental Colonel of the Parachute Regiment. In that position, he was responsible for a number of significant changes, including the introduction of a battle training course for NCOs at Brecon, which was eventually made mandatory throughout the Infantry, and the creation of the Red Devils parachute display team.[7] Following this, he was promoted to Brigadier General, in command of the Territorial Army’s 44th Parachute Brigade.[8] After attending the Imperial Defence College, Gilbert became Commandant of the School of Infantry, Warminister, in 1967.[8] While there, he hosted HM the Queen in his own home when she visited the school. He was promoted to Major-General in 1970 and appointed General Officer Commanding 3rd Division[8] before he retired from the Army in 1974.[1] Gilbert was one of the umpires for the 1974 Sandhurst wargame on Operation Sea Lion.

Gilbert also played a pivotal role in the development of the Bermuda Regiment, the Bermudian territorial unit formed in 1965 by amalgamating the BVRC (retitled the Bermuda Rifles) with the Bermuda Militia Artillery. The Bermuda Regiment's original strength was about 400, all ranks. Following discipline problems during an exercise in the West Indies, a report on the unit was commissioned from Major-General Gilbert, who also took into account the difficulties the Regiment subsequently experienced in meeting its obligations when embodied during the civil unrest of 1977. He made a number of recommendations, including the increase of the Regiment's strength to a full battalion of about 750, with three rifle companies and a support company.

Private life[edit]

In 1943, Gilbert married Heather Mary Jackson, and they had three sons, including Major Graham Gilbert, and one daughter.[9]

In retirement, Gilbert continued to live at Heytesbury. A member of the Army and Navy Club, in Who's Who he stated his recreation as "following the sun".[9] His wife died in 2000, and he himself died in 2003, at the age of 83.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Terence McMeekin
General Officer Commanding the 3rd Division
1970–1972
Succeeded by
Richard Worsley