Frederick E. Morgan
Sir Frederick Morgan
|Born||5 February 1894|
Paddock Wood, Kent, England
|Died||19 March 1967 (aged 73)|
Northwood, Middlesex, England
|Years of service||1913–1946|
|Commands held||I Corps|
55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division
Devon and Cornwall County Division
1st Support Group
|Battles/wars||First World War:
|Awards||Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath|
Mentioned in Despatches (2)
Army Distinguished Service Medal (US)
Legion of Merit (US)
Légion d'Honneur (France)
Croix de guerre (France)
|Other work||United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration|
Controller of Atomic Energy
Controller of Atomic Weapons
Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Edgworth Morgan KCB (5 February 1894 – 19 March 1967) was a senior officer of the British Army who fought in both world wars. He is best known as the chief of staff to the Supreme Allied Commander (COSSAC), the original planner of Operation Overlord.
A graduate of the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, Morgan was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery in 1913. During the First World War he served on the Western Front as an artillery subaltern and staff officer. Afterwards he served two long tours with the British Army in India.
Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Morgan was promoted to brigadier and assumed command of the 1st Support Group of the 1st Armoured Division, which he led during the Battle of France. In May 1942 he became a lieutenant-general and given command of I Corps. Morgan's headquarters was designated Force 125, and given the task of dealing with a German thrust through Spain to Gibraltar that never occurred. In March 1943 he was appointed chief of staff to the Supreme Allied Commander (Designate), or COSSAC. As COSSAC he directed the planning for Operation Overlord. When General Dwight D. Eisenhower became Supreme Allied Commander, Major General Bedell Smith became chief of staff at Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), while Morgan became deputy chief of staff.
After the war, Morgan served as Chief of Operations for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) in Germany until his position in Germany was eliminated following publication of "off the record" comments concerning alleged incompetence and corruption within UNRRA, including the alleged diverting of UNRRA resources to support of Zionist ambitions in Palestine. In 1951, Morgan became Controller of Atomic Energy, and was present for Operation Hurricane, the first British atomic weapons tests at the Montebello Islands in 1952. His position was abolished in 1954 with the creation of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority but he remained as Controller of Nuclear Weapons until 1956.
Frederick Morgan was born in Paddock Wood, Kent on 5 February 1894, the eldest son among nine children of Frederick Beverley Morgan, a timber importer, and his wife Clare Elizabeth née Horrocks. He was raised at Mascall's Manor, Paddock Wood. He commenced his education at Hurstleigh, a private school in Tunbridge Wells in 1902. At an early age it was decided that Frederick would become a British Army officer, and in 1907 he entered Clifton College, a school noted for its connections with the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. At Clifton he played rugby and cricket, and served in the School Cadet Corps, which became the Officers' Training Corps (OTC) in 1908. As a cadet sergeant, he was one of many who lined the route to Buckingham Palace for the Coronation of George V of the United Kingdom in 1911. He eventually rose to the rank of second lieutenant. Morgan duly passed the entrance examination for Woolwich, which he entered in 1912.
Morgan was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Artillery on 17 July 1913, and joined the 41st Battery, 42nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery at Aldershot. He volunteered for service in India, and in January 1914 departed on the British-India Steam Navigation Company troopship Rewa, joining the 84th Battery, 11th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, which was stationed in Jabalpur.
First World War
Following the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, Morgan's battery departed for the Western Front in October 1914 as part of the 3rd (Lahore) Division. Morgan suffered a near-miss from a German 5.9-inch gun which blew him into the air and buried him in a shell hole, and he was evacuated to hospital in Boulogne with shell shock. He was granted a short sick leave in England only to be present when news reached his family that his brother had been killed in action. On returning to the front, Morgan became aide-de-camp (ADC) to Brigadier General Edward Spencer Hoare-Nairne, the commander of the Lahore Divisional Artillery. The artillery remained on the Western Front when the bulk of the division departed for the Mesopotamian campaign. As it took longer to train artillery than infantry, the Lahore divisional artillery acted in turn as the artillery of the 2nd Canadian Division, 3rd Canadian Division, 4th Australian Division and finally the 4th Canadian Division until their own artillery was sufficiently trained to take over.
Morgan became a staff captain in February 1916, and was promoted to the temporary rank of captain in May 1916. The Lahore divisional artillery was broken up in mid-1917 and Morgan, promoted to captain on 18 July 1917, was posted to the 42nd (East Lancashire) Division as a staff captain. On 15 August 1917, he married Marjorie Cecile Whaite, the daughter of Colonel Thomas du Bédat Whaite of the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). The couple had met on board the Rewa en route to India in 1914. Their marriage produced two daughters and a son. During the Hundred Days Offensive he served as brigade major of the 42nd Divisional Artillery. During the war Morgan was twice mentioned in dispatches, on 15 May 1917, and again on 5 July 1919.
Between the wars
In 1919, Morgan volunteered for a six-year tour of India and joined the 118th Field Battery, 26th Field Brigade, at Deepcut, where it was forming and training for service in the subcontinent. Later that year the brigade moved to its new station at Jhansi. After three years Morgan was posted to Attock, where he commanded the Divisional Ammunition Column. In 1924 he accepted a temporary staff posting as Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General (DAAG) of Major-General Herbert Uniacke's 1st (Peshawar) Division at Murree. This was followed in 1925 by a year's secondment to the headquarters of Lieutenant-General Sir Claud Jacob's Northern Command, where Morgan helped plan and direct large-scale manoeuvres.
Morgan returned to England in 1926, and assumed command of the 22nd Heavy Battery. Equipped with a mixture of 9.2 inch guns, 6 inch guns, 12 pounders and 6 pounders, it was responsible for the coastal defences of Weymouth, Dorset. Still a captain, Morgan hoped that his next career move would be to attend the Staff College, Camberley, having narrowly passed the entrance examination. Instead, he was offered a place at the Staff College, Quetta, requiring a return trip to India. Morgan's classmates at Quetta in 1927 and 1928 included William Slim, John Crocker, Kenneth Anderson, David Cowan, George Alan Vasey and Tommy Burns. After graduation, Morgan was posted to the 70th Field Battery at Lucknow, and then was artillery staff officer at headquarters Western Command, under Brigadier Henry Karslake. When Karslake became major-general, Royal Artillery, at GHQ India in 1931, he brought Morgan to Delhi to serve with him as his General Staff Officer (Grade 2). Morgan, after receiving no promotion in rank for almost 15 years, was finally promoted to major on 22 June 1932 and brevet lieutenant colonel on 1 January 1934.
Returning to England in 1934, Morgan assumed command of the 4th Anti-Aircraft Battery, which was deployed to Malta during the diplomatic crisis that accompanied the Italian invasion of Abyssinia in 1935. He then returned to England and served in the War Office from 1936 to 1938. Here he became increasingly disturbed at the lack of urgency that the British government displayed in the face of a war that Morgan and his fellow staff officers felt was inevitable and imminent. On 28 May 1938 he was promoted to colonel (with seniority backdated to 1 January 1934) and became GSO1 of the 3rd Infantry Division, in which Brigadier Bernard Montgomery commanded the 8th Infantry Brigade.
Second World War
Battle of France and service in the UK
On 8 August 1939, just a few weeks before the outbreak of the Second World War, Morgan was promoted to the temporary rank of brigadier and assumed command of the 1st Support Group of Major-General Roger Evans's 1st Armoured Division. When the 1st Support Group was shipped to France shortly after the German invasion of France in mid-May 1940 it had already been stripped of its two field artillery regiments and two infantry battalions. As a result, Morgan's command included only a force of Royal Engineers and a Territorial Army (TA) battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, which was in the process of converting to an anti-aircraft/anti-tank regiment and armed only with anti-tank guns. His group was, therefore, in no position to fulfil its normal role supporting the division's armoured brigades and so was sent to reinforce the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division south of the River Somme. During a confused retreat most of the 1st Support Group was captured along with the 51st Division at Saint-Valery-en-Caux but the remainder, including Morgan, got away and were evacuated to England.
The 1st Armoured Division was subsequently reformed, and became a mobile reserve in south eastern England. It was tasked with counter-attacking an invading German army, and Morgan's 1st Support Group was given two Canadian infantry battalions for this purpose. On 4 November 1940 Morgan was appointed Brigadier General Staff (BGS) at II Corps, based in Norfolk. Morgan was not there long, however, as on 28 February 1941 he was promoted to the acting rank of major-general and succeeded Major-General Charles Allfrey in command of the Devon and Cornwall County Division, a static formation created for coastal defence, lacking artillery, engineers and divisional troops. The division was serving in South West England in Devon and Cornwall under Lieutenant-General Harold Franklyn's VIII Corps. He was with the division for eight months before handing over to Major-General Godwin Michelmore on 30 October and succeeding Major-General William Morgan in command of the 55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division, a first-line TA formation serving in Gloucestershire in Southern Command. The division, which moved to North Yorkshire under Northern Command in mid-December, was placed on the Lower Establishment the following month, losing much of its artillery, engineers and divisional troops and receiving a low priority for modern equipment. On 28 February, a year after being made an acting major-general, Morgan's rank of major-general was made temporary.
He was not to remain with the division for long, however, as on 14 May Morgan was promoted to the acting rank of lieutenant general and took command of I Corps District from Lieutenant-General Henry Willcox, which had responsibility for the defence of Lincolnshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire. In October of that year his headquarters became a mobile formation, was redesignated I Corps and placed under his American superior, Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower. On 12 November Morgan's permanent rank was advanced from colonel to major-general (with seniority backdating to 13 November 1941). Morgan's I Corps headquarters was later designated Force 125 and was given command of Walter Clutterbuck's 1st and John Hawkesworth's 4th Divisions, and the task of dealing with a German thrust through Spain to Gibraltar.
This operation proved unnecessary, and Morgan's two divisions were sent to North Africa, while he was directed to plan the invasion of Sardinia. In time this was abandoned in favour of the Allied invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky), which took place in July 1943. I Corps headquarters remained in the United Kingdom the whole time, located at 1 Cumberland near Marble Arch, with the headquarters mess in the Lyons Marble Arch Corner House. However, it gained considerable experience in operational planning. Morgan's rank of lieutenant-general was made temporary on 14 May 1943, and he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the Bath (CB) on 2 June.
At the Casablanca Conference in January 1943, the Combined Chiefs of Staff agreed to establish a staff to plan operations in north west Europe in 1944. It was envisaged that the Supreme Allied Commander would be British, and the usual practice was for the commander and the chief of staff to be of the same nationality, so it was decided to appoint a British officer for the role of chief of staff to the Supreme Allied Commander (Designate) (COSSAC), with an American deputy. In March 1943 Morgan became COSSAC. Brigadier General Ray Barker became his American deputy. Initially, Morgan's staff consisted of an aide, two batmen and a driver with a car purloined from I Corps headquarters. Morgan established his headquarters in Norfolk House at 31 St James's Square. However, by October 1943, it was clearly too small for COSSAC needs, which called for accommodation for a staff of 320 officers and 600 other ranks. In November and December part of the staff moved to the South Rotunda, a bombproof structure that had originally been fitted up as an anti-invasion base, which was connected to the various ministries by the Whitehall Tunnel. Other staff were accommodated at 80 Pall Mall.
COSSAC was charged with planning three operations: Operation Cockade, a deception operation to keep German forces pinned to the coast; Operation Rankin, a plan for measures to be taken in the case of a sudden German collapse; and Operation Overlord, a plan for a full-scale assault on north western Europe. Morgan and his staff worked on the Overlord plan throughout June and the first half of July 1943. He presented it to the Chiefs of Staff Committee on 15 July. The plan set forth in detail the conditions under which the assault could be made, the area where a landing would be feasible, and the means by which a lodgement on the continent would be developed.
On 28 July, a group of the COSSAC staff, headed by Barker, travelled to Washington D.C. to present the Overlord plan to the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and to confer with the U.S. War Department about the troop basis for the operation and issues related to its civil affairs and logistics aspects. Missions were also exchanged with General Dwight D. Eisenhower's Allied Force Headquarters (AFHQ) in Algiers to coordinate the plans of offensive action in the Mediterranean and north western Europe in 1944. In October and November, Morgan went to Washington, to discuss the operation with the Combined Chiefs of Staff, accompanied only by Major-General Nevil Brownjohn and an aide. Morgan met with General George Marshall, the Chief of Staff of the United States Army, who instructed him to proceed with planning on the basis that Marshall would be the Supreme Allied Commander and Morgan his chief of staff. Morgan met with President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House. Roosevelt turned down Morgan's request for the services of Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle, Jr. to assist with civil affairs, and also cast doubt on whether Marshall could be spared to become Supreme Allied Commander. While in the United States Morgan visited the Gettysburg Battlefield and the training camps at Camp Carrabelle, Fort Benning, Camp Mackall and Fort Bragg.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff authorised Morgan to issue orders in the name of the Supreme Allied Commander to the Commanders in Chief of the Air, Naval and Land Forces, even though they outranked him. In December 1943, when General Sir Bernard Montgomery, who had just arrived in England after commanding the British Eighth Army on the Italian Front, was appointed C-in-C Land Forces for the invasion, he declared that Morgan's original plans were unworkable; they had originally been limited by the availability of landing craft, but Montgomery insisted it would require more men attacking over a wider front. Ultimately, more landing craft were obtained and the invasion was scaled up to Montgomery's satisfaction, at the cost of a month's delay and a reduction in the Southern France operation. However, all the key features of Morgan's plan remained; the choice of Normandy as the assault area, the use of Mulberry harbours, the deployment of American forces on the right and British on the left, the use of airborne troops to cover the flanks, and some form of diversionary operation in Southern France.
When Eisenhower was appointed Supreme Allied Commander in January 1944 the COSSAC team was absorbed into SHAEF. Eisenhower brought his chief of staff for AFHQ, Major General Walter Bedell Smith, and moved the headquarters to Bushey Park. Morgan was offered command of XIII Corps in Italy but declined in favour of becoming one of Smith's three deputies. His responsibilities covered Intelligence and Operations. Morgan coordinated the work of various SHAEF divisions and deputised for Bedell Smith when he was absent.
Morgan was also called upon on occasion to deal with Montgomery, with whom his professional relationship as deputy chief of staff was similar to that before the war when Montgomery was a brigade commander. On one occasion Morgan was summoned to Smith's office to find him white with rage at a telephone receiver. "That's your bloody marshal on the other end of that," Smith explained. "I can't talk to him any more. Now you go on." "As the campaign progressed," Morgan later wrote, "it became more difficult for us British at SHAEF to provide explanation, as we were continually called upon to do, for the attitude and behaviour of the British authorities as exemplified by their chosen representative in the field." Senior British officers at SHAEF, notably Morgan, Kenneth Strong and Jock Whiteley remained loyal to Eisenhower. This cast a pall over their careers after the war, when Montgomery became Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS).
After the war Smith described Morgan as his British alter ego, "a man I wouldn't willingly have dispensed with". Morgan served in this role until SHAEF was dissolved in June 1945. He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in August 1944 "in recognition of distinguished services in connection with the invasion of Normandy". The United States government awarded him the Legion of Merit in April 1945, and the Army Distinguished Service Medal in 1948 for his services.
In September 1945 Morgan became the Chief of Operations for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) in Germany. He applied his energy and planning skills to the problem of providing relief to millions of refugees and displaced persons in Europe in the wake of the war. However he became frustrated with the inefficiency of the United Nations organisation.
Events in the British–Zionist conflict in the British Mandate for Palestine made Morgan feel conflicted between his role in assisting Jewish refugees at UNRRA, whom he regarded as special victims of the Nazis for being persecuted solely for their race, and supporting British policy as a British Army officer. In January 1946 he created an uproar by claiming at a press conference that there was a secret Zionist organisation that was attempting to facilitate an "exodus" of Jewish people from Europe to a new state in Palestine with Soviet encouragement. Morgan stated that he had witnessed an "exodus of Jews from Poland on Russian trains on a regular route from Lodz to Berlin. All of them were well dressed, well fed, healthy and had pockets bulging with money. All of them told the same monotonous story of threats, pogroms, and atrocities in Poland as a reason for their leaving" . He later wrote:
I had been able to piece together a reasonably comprehensive picture of the way in which the UNRRA set up was being most skilfully used to promote what was nothing less than a Zionist campaign of aggression in Palestine. In defiance of the prohibition by the British Mandatory power, reluctant as ever to employ decisive means, the admirably organised Zionist command was employing any and every means of forcing immigration into the country irrespective of the hardship and sufferings of the immigrants, few of whom seemed to have spontaneous enthusiasm for the Zionist cause. The whole project evidently had Russian connivance, if not actual support, since its success would conduce to the elimination of British authority in a vital area of the Middle East.
One reporter quoted Morgan as remarking that "the Jews seem to have organised a plan enabling them to become a world power- a weak force numerically, but one which will have a generating power for getting what they want".
A correspondent reported that Morgan made "casual observations based on what he saw ... but the controversial remarks were taken out of the context and put together by correspondents."  UNRRA expected that Morgan would offer his resignation but he did not do so. An attempt to clarify his position "off the record" failed, and Morgan's position in Germany was eliminated by UNRRA Director Fiorello La Guardia.
Morgan's statements caused a furore in the press, which portrayed them as anti-Semitic and distasteful. However, Morgan's comments were factual, based on military intelligence. It was reported at the time in Time magazine that: "Observers here [in Berlin] ... are positive of [Morgan's] sincerity, and know he had no intention of feeding the fires of anti-Semitic propaganda." Archibald MacLeish, a former Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, stated that when the press had finished with Sir Frederick, "..the sum total effect was a lie and a disastrous and evil lie. This brings up the question of journalistic standards. In a world as closely integrated as this one is, the question must be asked: what is the standard of truth in journalism? When the journalist is dealing with an inflammatory subject and so reports it that verbally his story is true, but the overall effect is false, are the standards of truth satisfied?"
With his military background, Morgan was appalled at the corruption, inefficiency and political diversion of UNRRA. A member of his staff said that "to serve such an outfit is degradation beyond description. In fact, [Morgan wrote], to have been rejected for such service I have always felt to have been a high honour."
Morgan was appointed Colonel Commandant of the Royal Artillery from 24 June 1948 until 24 June 1958 In 1951, he succeeded Lord Portal as Controller of Atomic Energy. The position had been created in January 1946 as "Controller of Production, Atomic Energy" when the Ministry of Supply had assumed responsibility for nuclear weapons. The job, the title of which was changed to "Controller Atomic Energy" in 1950, had no written terms of reference, but carried broad responsibility for the coordination of all aspects of nuclear weapons production. Although located within the Ministry of Supply, the controller had direct access to the Prime Minister; Portal rarely exercised this, however. It was widely believed that Morgan, who was, in the words of Margaret Gowing, "amiable but not adequate to the task", had been appointed by mistake, having been confused with his namesake, General Sir William Morgan. The latter had greatly impressed Prime Minister Clement Attlee as Army member of the Joint Staff Mission to the United States from 1947 to 1950. Morgan, therefore, relied heavily on his key subordinates, Sir John Cockcroft, William Penney, and Christopher Hinton.
In his role as Controller of Atomic Energy, Morgan was present for Operation Hurricane, the first British atomic weapons tests at the Montebello Islands in October 1952. His position was gradually reduced to a figurehead, with his authority largely supplanted by the Atomic Energy Board, which was chaired by Lord Cherwell, and was abolished in 1954 with the creation of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. Morgan then became Controller of Nuclear Weapons. Nonetheless, he was still an important figure in the push for higher-yield weapons. He pressed for the testing of the Green Bamboo boosted fission weapon during Operation Mosaic. This resulted in Mosaic becoming a two-test series, although Green Bamboo could not be made available in time. A Green Bamboo assembly was subsequently taken to Christmas Island for Operation Grapple, but was deleted from the test series to save money. Morgan was also instrumental in putting the case for the development of the H-bomb on operational grounds.
Morgan retired in 1956, although he remained Colonel Commandant of the Royal Artillery until 1958. He published his memoirs, entitled Peace and War: A Soldier's Life in 1961. He died at Mount Vernon Hospital on 19 March 1967.
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- "General Morgan's Statement, His Doubts About Polish Pogroms" by The Manchester Guardian, Thursday January 3, 1946 - Page 5
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- Arnold & Pyne 2001, pp. 97–98
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Frederick E. Morgan|
- Arnold, Lorna; Pyne, Katherine (2001). Britain and the H-Bomb. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-94742-8. OCLC 753874620.
- Arnold, Lorna; Smith, Mark (1987). Britain, Australia and the Bomb. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-4039-2102-4. OCLC 70673342.
- Bauer, Yehuda (1989). Out of the Ashes: the Impact of American Jews on Post-Holocaust European Jewry. Oxford: Pergamon Press. ISBN 978-0-08-036504-6. OCLC 243403914.
- Bond, Brian (2004). "Morgan, Sir Frederick Edgworth (1894–1967)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/35103.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- Gowing, Margaret; Arnold, Lorna (1974a). Independence and Deterrence: Britain and Atomic Energy, 1945–1952, Volume 1, Policy Making. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-15781-8. OCLC 611555258.
- Gowing, Margaret; Arnold, Lorna (1974b). Independence and Deterrence: Britain and Atomic Energy, 1945–1952, Volume 2, Policy Execution. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16695-7. OCLC 59047125.
- Mead, Richard (2007). Churchill's Lions: A biographical guide to the key British generals of World War II. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Spellmount. ISBN 978-1-86227-431-0. OCLC 171539131.
- Morgan, Sir Frederick (1961). Peace and War: A Soldier's Life. London: Hodder and Stoughton. OCLC 1345812.
- Pogue, Forrest C. (1954). The Supreme Command (PDF). United States Army in World War II: The European Theater of Operations. Washington DC: United States Army Center of Military History. OCLC 1247005. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
- U.S. Army (1944). History of COSSAC (Chief of Staff to Supreme Allied Commander) 1943–1944. Washington DC: United States Army Center of Military History. OCLC 13575562. Retrieved 19 September 2010.
- Wyman, Mark (1989). DPs: Europe's Displaced Persons 1945–1951. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-8542-8. OCLC 39846609.
| GOC Devon and Cornwall County Division
| GOC 55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division
| GOC I Corps
| Controller Atomic Energy