Bernard Campbell Fletcher

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Bernard Campbell Fletcher DSO, MC (1898 – 1968) was an officer in the British Army during the First World War and the Second World War.

Career[edit]

Fletcher was born 17 June 1898 and commissioned from the Royal Military College, Sandhurst as a Second Lieutenant into the Highland Light Infantry in 7 April 1916.[1] During the First World War he served in France and Belgium from 21 December 1917 to 23 April 1918, then from 21 June 1918 to 11 November 1918.[2] He won the Military Cross (gazetted in March 1919)[3] and was gassed with mustard gas. The citation for his MC, published in the London Gazette in October 1919 read:

Lt. (A./Capt.) Bernard Campbell Fletcher, High. L.I., attd. 15th Bn. On the 29th September, 1918, in the attack on Le Tronquoy, he led his company through the village, gaining all of his objectives and capturing about ten machine guns and 60 prisoners. He then, reorganised his company himself, having lost all his platoon commanders. Later, his fine example was largely responsible for beating off two enemy counter-attacks, he firing a Lewis gun himself. Throughout he showed most marked courage and did splendid work.[4]

After the war he spent periods in North Russia (16 August 1919 to 1 October 1919)[5] Egypt, Palestine and India during which he learned to speak Arabic and Hindustani. In 1929 he attended Staff College[6] after which he returned to his regiment in India. Between 25 July 1933 and 24 July 1937 he held an appointment as Staff Captain in India[7][8] [9] and was promoted to Major 4 October 1935.[10] At some point between 1937 and 1939 he served in Palestine.[11] In 1938 he was given command of the 2nd battalion Highland Light Infantry[12] and his promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel was gazetted 1 July 1939.[13]

In World War II Fletcher and his battalion took part in the East African Campaign as an element of Indian 10th Infantry Brigade which formed part of Indian 5th Infantry Division. When the brigade's commander, Bill Slim, was wounded on 21 January 1941 Fletcher was given temporary command until the arrival of a permanent replacement on 20 March.[14] Reverting to his battalion command, Fletcher was subsequently given command of Fletcher Force,[14] an ad hoc grouping of armour and mobile infantry created to advance into Keren at the end of the Battle of Keren and to exploit towards Asmara. He was then appointed to command Flitforce (a reference to his nickname),[12] an ad hoc grouping created to pursue the retreating Italians towards Adigrat. On 13 April 1941, Fletcher was promoted to command the Indian 9th Infantry Brigade, also part of Indian 5th Infantry Division, an appointment he held until the 7 August 1942. For his service during the East African campaign Fletcher was awarded the DSO[15] and was mentioned in despatches.[16]

He was again appointed temporary Colonel and temporary Brigadier 2 March 1944.

Fletcher retired from the army on 3 September 1948 a Lieutenant-Colonel and was granted the honorary rank of brigadier.[17]

Command history[edit]

  • Acting Commanding Officer, Indian 10th Infantry Brigade, Indian 5th Infantry Division, Sudan - 1941
  • Commanding Officer, Indian 9th Infantry Brigade, Indian 5th Infantry Division, Eritrea - 1941 to 1942
  • Commanding Officer, Sub-Area, Middle East - 1942 to 1943
  • Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster-General, Home Forces - 1943 to 1944
  • Brigadier, General Staff British Army Staff, Washington DC - 1944 to 1945[18]
  • Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster-General, Home Forces - 1945

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29537. p. 3685. 6 April 1916. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  2. ^ Half Yearly Army List January 1946 p.239
  3. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31219. p. 3240. 9 March 1919. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31583. p. 12290. 3 October 1919. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  5. ^ Half Yearly Army List January 1946 p.239
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33459. p. 544. 22 January 1929. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33963. p. 4964. 25 July 1933. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34432. p. 5563. 3 September 1937. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  9. ^ Half Yearly Army List January 1946 p.236
  10. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34204. p. 6217. 4 October 1935. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  11. ^ Half Yearly Army List January 1946 p.236
  12. ^ a b Brett-James 1951, Chapter VI.
  13. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34641. p. 4438. 30 June 1939. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  14. ^ a b Brett-James 1951, Chapter V.
  15. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35396. p. 7333. 26 December 1941. Retrieved 23 June 2008.
  16. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35396. p. 7348. 26 December 1941. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  17. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 38394. p. 4808. 31 August 1948. Retrieved 23 June 2008.
  18. ^ Half Yearly Army List February 1948