John Sydney Lethbridge

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John Sydney Lethbridge
Born 11 December 1897
Died 11 August 1961
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1915-1960
Rank Major General
Battles/wars First World War
Second World War
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Military Cross

Major-General John Sydney Lethbridge CB, CBE, MC (11 December 1897 – 11 August 1961) was a British soldier.

Early life[edit]

The son of Lt-Col. Sydney Lethbridge, OBE RA, Lethbridge was educated at Gresham's School, Holt, Uppingham School, Leicestershire, the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich and Jesus College, Cambridge.[1]

Military career[edit]

Lethbridge was commissioned into the Corps of Royal Engineers in 1915 during the First World War and saw active service on the Western Front with 123 Field Company at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and as a temporary Captain with the King George V's Own Bengal Sappers and Miners in India in 1917 before serving with the Aden Frontier Force for operations in southern Arabia between 1917 to 1918.[2] He commanded, as acting major, a company of King George V's Own Bengal Sappers and Miners in Afghanistan and on the North West Frontier during the Third Anglo-Afghan War from 1919 to 1922.[2] He served again with King George V's Own Bengal Sappers and Miners at Roorkee and Rawalpindi and saw active service in Peshawar against Afridi raiders in 1930.[2] After graduated from Staff College at Quetta in 1932 he became Superintendent of Instruction at Roorkee and was then appointed a Field Works major at Chatham in 1933.[2] He joined the General Staff at Headquarters, Northern Command at York and then transferred to the Military Operations Branch and Directorate of Recruiting and Organisation at the War Office in 1936 before becoming an Instructor at the Senior Officers' School at Sheerness in 1939.[2]

Lethbridge served in the Second World War with British Expeditionary Force in France in 1939 before becoming Commander Royal Engineers for the 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division.[2] He went on to be Deputy Director of Staff Duties at the War Office in 1940, liaison officer with US Forces in London in 1942 and leader of a mission to study tactics and equipment required to defeat Japan in the Far East in 1943.[2] His last war appointment was as Chief of Staff for the 14th Army in Burma from 1944.[2]

After the War Lethbridge became Chief of Intelligence for the Control Commission for Germany and British Army of the Rhine in 1945, Commandant of the Civil Defence Staff College in 1949 and Director of Civil Defence for the South West Region (Bristol) in September 1955.[1] Lethbridge retired to Bondleigh, near North Tawton, in Devon, but died in August 1961, less than a year after his retirement.[1]


In 1925, Lethbridge married Katharine Greville Maynard, the daughter of Sir John Maynard, KCIE CSI, and they had one son and two daughters.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h LETHBRIDGE, Major-General John Sydney at Who Was Who 1897-2006 online at (accessed 4 November 2007)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives