Michael Gambier-Parry

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Michael Gambier-Parry
O'Connor Captured.jpg
Michael Gambier-Parry (right), Lieutenant-General Philip Neame (centre) and Brigadier John Combe (left), following their capture in North Africa.
Born 21 August 1891
Died 30 April 1976
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1911–1944
Rank Major-General
Unit Royal Welch Fusiliers
Commands held 1st Malaya Infantry Brigade
2nd Armoured Division
Awards Military Cross

Major-General Michael Denman Gambier-Parry MC DL (21 August 1891 – 30 April 1976) was a senior British Army officer who commanded the 2nd Armoured Division during the Western Desert Campaign of World War II.

Early life and family[edit]

The Gambier-Parrys of Highnam Court, Gloucestershire were an artistic and military family (see Thomas Gambier Parry and the latter's son, eminent composer Sir Hubert Parry). His uncle Ernest Gambier-Parry was a major in the army sent to Egypt to avenge the death of General Gordon, and wrote a book (Suakin, 1885) about his experiences.[1] Michael's father was architect Sidney Gambier-Parry.[2]

Military career[edit]

Gambier-Parry was commissioned, a Captain into the Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1911.[3] He served in World War I in France (awarded the Military Cross) and in the Gallipoli Campaign and then in Mesopotamia.[3] He transferred to the Royal Tank Corps in 1924 and then served as a General Staff Officer at the War Office before becoming Commander of the Malaya Infantry Brigade in 1938.[3]

He served in World War II as Head of the British Military Mission to Greece in 1940 and then as General Officer Commanding 2nd Armoured Division[4] in North Africa before becoming a Prisoner of war in 1941.[3]

He was captured by the Italians along with Brigadier Vaughan at Mechili in April 1941. Arriving in Villa Orsini near Sulmona with Philip Neame, Richard O'Connor, John Combe and George Younghusband, he was sent to Castello de Vincigliata PG12 near Florence the same year. As Carton de Wiart wrote of him "…he was also a most gifted man, made delightful sketches, was a first class 'forger' – which could no doubt earn him a steady income in the underworld".[5][6] Known as 'GP', he was a knowledgeable musician, "and led the choir in our church services on Sunday".[7] In September 1943 he escaped with the other officers and after various adventures arrived in Rome[8] where he had obtained sanctuary in a convent, till the allies arrived. He retired in 1944.[3]

In retirement he lived at the Weavers House in Castle Combe near Chippenham and House Forest Gate in Poundgate near Crowborough[9] and became Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Times, OBIT. 17 April 1936
  2. ^ Ranieval, The Marquis of Ruvigny and (1 May 2013). The Plantagenet Roll of the Blood Royal: The Mortimer-Percy Volume. Heritage Books. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-7884-1872-3. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  4. ^ Generals.dk
  5. ^ Carton de Wiart p 194
  6. ^ Hargest p113, 114
  7. ^ Neame p304
  8. ^ MRD Foot, p167
  9. ^ Who Was Who (1971–1980). London: A & C Black, 1981. ISBN 978-0-7136-2176-1, p. 286.
  10. ^ "no. 39661". The London Gazette. 3 October 1952. p. 5214. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 

Sources and further reading[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Justice Tilly
GOC 2nd Armoured Division
February 1941–April 1941
Succeeded by
Post Disbanded