John George Walters Clark

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George Clark
Born2 May 1892
Wokingham, Berkshire, England
Died16 May 1948 (aged 56)
St Marylebone, London, England
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1911–1946
Service number15708
Unit16th The Queen's Lancers
16th/5th Lancers
Commands held16th/5th Lancers
12th Infantry Brigade
1st Cavalry Division
10th Armoured Division
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
AwardsOrder of the Bath
Military Cross and bar
Legion of Merit, Commander
Officer of the Order of Orange Nassau with Swords (Netherlands)

Lieutenant-General (John) George (Walters) Clark CB, MC and bar (2 May 1892 – 16 May 1948) was a senior British Army officer who fought in both World War I and World War II. During the latter he commanded the 10th Armoured Division, formerly the 1st Cavalry Division.[1]

Early life[edit]

Clark was educated at Winchester College (1906-1910).

After passing out from the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Clark was commissioned into the 16th The Queen's Lancers in 1911 and fought with them during World War I. He was twice awarded the Military Cross: first in June 1917 and again in 1918. The citation for this second award, which was published in the London Gazette, stated:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When all communication with the forward units of the division had broken down during an engagement, he established communication over unknown ground and enabled control to be maintained. On another occasion, when both flanks of the division had been turned and the situation was very obscure, he went forward with orders to the advanced troops. Later, he was largely responsible for a successful withdrawal being carried out in good order. He showed great initiative and resource.

— London Gazette, 22 June 1918[2]

World War II[edit]

Between the wars he attended the Staff College, Camberley from 1926 to 1927 and, by the time of World War II, he was commanding the 12th Infantry Brigade. From October 1939 to July 1942, Clark commanded the 1st Cavalry Division (re-designated 10th Armoured Division in 1941) as General Officer Commanding (GOC) based in British Mandate of Palestine (Palestine and Trans-Jordan).

In May 1941, Clark formed and commanded Habforce (which when in Iraq became part of Iraqforce) which crossed the desert from Trans-Jordan to relieve RAF Habbaniya during the Anglo-Iraqi War. When Kingcol, the flying column of Habforce, arrived the airfield garrison had already forced the threatening Iraqi force to retire. With the arrival of Kingcol the garrison drove on to capture Falluja and Kingcol then exploited this to advance on Baghdad, arriving on 29 May. The Iraq government capitulated two days later.[3]

Habforce was also involved in the Syria-Lebanon campaign, advancing from eastern Iraq to capture Palmyra on 3 July to secure the Haditha - Palmyra oil pipeline.[3]

In August 1941, the 1st Cavalry Division was reorganised as the 10th Armoured Division. Clark remained in command until April 1942 so missing the division's active service at Alam Halfa and Second Battle of El Alamein.[3] He became GOC Lines of Communication in Tunisia and thereafter Deputy Governor of Sicily after its capture in 1943. At the end of 1943 he briefly became Major-General Administration at GHQ Middle East in Cairo before becoming Chief Administrative Officer at Allied Forces Headquarters (AFHQ) for which he held the acting rank of lieutenant-general.[4]

In late 1944 Clark became head of the SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) mission to the Netherlands. His most notable activity was to prepare food dumps in liberated territory for supply to starving Dutch people as they became liberated following the Hunger Winter of 1944.[5] For this work the Netherlands government made him an Officer of the Order of Orange Nassau with Swords.


Clark retired from the army in 1946 as an honorary lieutenant-general with the substantive rank of major-general. He was awarded the United States' Legion of Merit, in the Order of Commander in 1947[6] having already been given the award in the order of Officer in 1943[7]

Army career summary[edit]

Awards and decorations[edit]


  • Mackenzie, Compton (1951). Eastern Epic. London: Chatto & Windus. OCLC 1412578.
  • Mead, Richard (2007). Churchill's Lions: a biographical guide to the key British generals of World War II. Stroud (UK): Spellmount. ISBN 978-1-86227-431-0.
  • Smart, Nick (2005). Biographical Dictionary of British Generals of the Second World War. Barnesley: Pen & Sword. ISBN 1844150496.
  • "Orders of". Archived from the original on 17 July 2007. Retrieved 28 July 2007.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Houterman, Hans. "World War II Unit Histories; Clark, John George Walters". unithistories. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b "No. 30761". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 June 1918. p. 7397.
  3. ^ a b c Mead, p. 101
  4. ^ "No. 36395". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 February 1944. p. 939.
  5. ^ Mead (2007), p. 102
  6. ^ a b "No. 38122". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 November 1947. p. 5352.
  7. ^ a b "No. 36125". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 August 1943. p. 3579.
  8. ^ "No. 35396". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 December 1941. p. 7325.
  9. ^ "No. 30111". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 June 1917. p. 5478.
  10. ^ "No. 35120". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 March 1941. p. 1869.
  11. ^ "No. 36173". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 September 1943. p. 4121.
  12. ^ "No. 37204". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 July 1945. p. 3957.
  13. ^ British National Archives WO 373/144/194

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
New post
GOC 1st Cavalry Division
Succeeded by
Post redesignated 10th Armoured Division
Preceded by
New post
GOC 10th Armoured Division
Succeeded by
Alexander Gatehouse