Eric Grant Miles

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Eric Grant Miles
Nickname(s) "Miles the soldier"
Born 11 August 1891
Died 3 November 1977 (aged 86)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1911–1946
Rank Major General
Unit King's Own Scottish Borderers
Commands held 1st Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment
126th Infantry Brigade
42nd (East Lancashire) Infantry Division
56th (London) Infantry Division
South-Eastern Command
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order
Military Cross

Major General Eric Grant Miles CB DSO MC (11 August 1891 – 3 November 1977) was a senior British Army officer who saw active service during both World War I and World War II, where he commanded the 126th Infantry Brigade in the Battle of France and the 56th (London) Infantry Division in the final stages of the campaign in Tunisia.

Military career[edit]

Miles was educated at Harrow and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, where he was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the British Army's King's Own Scottish Borderers in 1911.[1]

He served in World War I, originally with the 2nd Battalion on the Western Front as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). The following year he was awarded the Military Cross and became a General Staff Officer (GSO) with the BEF. He became a brigade major for the 54th Brigade in 1916.[1] He ended the war a brevet major, and, having been wounded, had been awarded the Distinguished Service Order, the Military Cross and mentioned in despatches five times.[1]

He remained in the army after the war, where he served as a GSO with the British Army of the Rhine. He attended the Staff College, Camberley from 1921–1923. He served on the staff at the War Office in 1923 before becoming brigade major for the Shanghai Defence Force in 1927.[1] He attended the Imperial Defence College in 1934 and, in 1936, was appointed Commanding Officer (CO) of the 1st Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment, with Miles Dempsey, at the time a major, as second-in-command (2-i-c) of the battalion. He became a GSO at Malaya Command in 1938.[1]

He was still in Malaya Command when World War II broke out in September 1939 and, in January 1940, assumed command of the 126th Infantry Brigade, a Territorial Army (TA) formation. In April he led the brigade overseas to join the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France and commanded it during the battles of Belgium and France, later being evacuated from Dunkirk in May–June 1940.[1] He continued to command the brigade after its return to England, training it in preparation for the expected German invasion of England. He was briefly a Brigadier on the General Staff of Home Forces and, promoted to major general, became General Officer Commanding (GOC) 42nd (East Lancashire) Infantry Division from April–October 1941.

From October 1941 he was appointed GOC 56th (London) Infantry Division.[1] As part of the Tenth Army, his division was stationed in Persia in late 1942. At that time, the Tenth Army was part of Paiforce (formerly Iraqforce) under Persia and Iraq Command. During a reconnaissance into Tunisia during the last stages of the campaign there, he was wounded in the head by artillery in early May 1943 and returned to the United Kingdom.[2] Later in 1943 he became GOC Kent and South East Districts and, in September 1944, as an acting lieutenant general, he took over as General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) South-Eastern Command.[1] He retired from the army, after 35 years, in 1946.[1]


Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Henry Willcox
GOC 42nd (East Lancashire) Infantry Division
April 1941 – October 1941
Succeeded by
Sir Miles Dempsey
Preceded by
Sir Montagu Stopford
GOC 56th (London) Infantry Division
Succeeded by
Douglas Alexander Graham
Preceded by
Sir Edmond Schreiber
GOC-in-C South-Eastern Command
Succeeded by
Post disbanded