Gerard Bucknall

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Gerard Bucknall
Lt General Bucknall 1944 IWM B 5468.jpg
Lt General Bucknall as Commander of XXX Corps, with Brigadier General Harold Pyman, 1944
Born 14 September 1894
Died 7 December 1980 (aged 86)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1914–1948
Rank Lieutenant-General
Commands held 2nd Battalion, Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own)
138th Infantry Brigade
53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division
XI Corps
I Corps
5th Infantry Division
XXX Corps
Northern Ireland District
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Military Cross

Lieutenant-General Gerard Corfield Bucknall CB, MC, DL (14 September 1894 – 7 December 1980) was a senior officer of the British Army and corps commander during World War II.[1]

Military career[edit]

Educated at West Downs School,[2] Bucknall was commissioned into the Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own) in 1914.[3] During the Great War he served with his battalion in France and Belgium with some distinction.

Between the wars he served with the Egyptian Army[3] (Egypt was then de facto part of the British Empire) and attended the Staff College, Camberley. He was commander of the 2nd Battalion[3] by the outbreak of the Second World War, to be succeeded by Brian Horrocks (who would later take up another of Bucknall's posts), by the time the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) left for France. He then commanded 138th Infantry Brigade, of the 46th Infantry Division, was and later appointed GOC 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division in 1941 and GOC XI Corps in East Anglia in September 1942[4] before eventually seeing action from April 1943 as Commander of I Corps[5] and then from August 1943 as General Officer Commanding the 5th Infantry Division in Sicily and Italy.[3]

Bucknall impressed Bernard Montgomery and when he was appointed to command Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy, he appointed Bucknall to command XXX Corps – Bucknall took command in January 1944.[3] However, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff Alan Brooke believed Bucknall to be unsuitable for command at that level. By August 1944 Bucknall was removed from his command,[3] due to the relatively poor performance of XXX Corps (see Operation Perch), to be replaced by Brian Horrocks. Montgomery conceded that it had been a mistake to appoint him and, in November 1944, Bucknall was given command of Northern Ireland, a post which he held until his retirement.[3]


Military offices
Preceded by
John Crocker
GOC XI Corps
September 1942 – April 1943
Succeeded by
Gerald Templer
Preceded by
Sir Frederick Morgan
GOC I Corps
April 1943 – August 1943
Succeeded by
Sir John Crocker
Preceded by
Horatio Berney-Ficklin
General Officer Commanding the 5th Division
Succeeded by
Philip Gregson-Ellis
Preceded by
Oliver Leese
January 1944 – July 1944
Succeeded by
Brian Horrocks
Preceded by
Sir Alan Cunningham
General Officer Commanding the British Army in Northern Ireland
Succeeded by
Sir Ouvry Roberts
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir John Crocker
Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex
Office abolished