Ernest Down

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Sir Ernest Down
Born 1902
Died 1980 (aged 78)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Rank Lieutenant-General
Unit Dorset Regiment
Commands held 2nd Parachute Brigade
1st Airborne Division
9th Indian Airborne Division
44th Indian Airborne Division
2nd Indian Airborne Division
4th Infantry Division
British Troops in Greece
53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division
Southern Command
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Companion of the Order of the Bath

Lieutenant-General Sir Ernest Edward Down KBE CB (1902–1980) was a senior officer of the British Army, who saw active service during World War II.

Military career[edit]

Ernest Down was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Dorset Regiment in February 1923.[1]

He served in the Second World War, being appointed Commander of the 2nd Parachute Brigade, then serving in North Africa in 1942.[2] He went on to be General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1st Airborne Division, taking over from Major-General George F. Hopkinson who had been killed in action, in September 1943, in the early stages of the Allied invasion of Italy.[2] He was then GOC of 9th Indian Airborne Division which itself became the 44th Indian Airborne Division in 1944 and GOC of 2nd Indian Airborne Division in 1945.[2]

After the War he was appointed GOC of 4th Infantry Division in Greece before becoming GOC of all British Troops in Greece.[2] Then in 1948 he became head of the British Military Mission to Greece.[2] Returning to the United Kingdom he was appointed District Officer Commanding Mid-West District and GOC 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division in 1950 and GOC-in Chief of Southern Command in 1952, a post from which he retired in 1955.[2]

He was also Colonel of the King's Shropshire Light Infantry from 1955 to 1957.[3]


  1. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32792. p. 807. 2 February 1923. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
  2. ^ a b c d e f
  3. ^ Light Infantry

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
George F. Hopkinson
General Officer Commanding 1st Airborne Division
Succeeded by
Roy Urquhart
Preceded by
Colin Callander
General Officer Commanding the 4th Division
Succeeded by
Division Disbanded
(Post next held by Reginald Hewetson)
Preceded by
Sir Ouvry Roberts
GOC-in-C Southern Command
Succeeded by
Sir George Erskine