Napier Crookenden

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Sir Napier Crookenden
6th Airborne Personnel.jpg
Lt. Col. Napier Crookenden (extreme right) with Gen Sir Bernard Montgomery
Born 31 August 1915
Died 31 October 2002 (aged 87)
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Rank Lieutenant General
Unit Cheshire Regiment
Commands held 9th (Eastern and Home Counties) Parachute Battalion
16th Parachute Brigade
Western Command
Battles/wars Second World War
Malayan Emergency
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order
Officer of the Order of the British Empire

Lieutenant General Sir Napier Crookenden, KCB, DSO, OBE, DL (31 August 1915 – 31 October 2002) was a British Army General who reached high office in the 1960s.

Military career[edit]

Educated at Wellington College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst,[1] Crookenden was commissioned into the Cheshire Regiment in 1935.[2][3]

He served in the Second World War as a Brigade Major in the 6th Airlanding Brigade in 1943 planning and implementing glider assaults to secure bridges over the River Orne on the day of the Normandy Landings.[1] He served as Commanding Officer of 9th (Eastern and Home Counties) Parachute Battalion between 1944 and 1946[2] leading his Regiment in the Battle of the Bulge and then the crossing of the River Rhine.[1]

He was Director of Operations during the Malayan Emergency between 1952 and 1954 and served as Commander of 16th Parachute Brigade from 1960 to 1961.[2] He went to the Imperial Defence College in 1962.[2] He was appointed Director of Land/Air Warfare at the Ministry of Defence in 1964 and then Commandant at the Royal Military College of Science in Shrivenham in 1967.[2] He became the last General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Command in 1969 and retired in 1972.[2]


Memorial to Napier Crookenden in Chester Cathedral

In retirement he became a Deputy Lieutenant for Kent.[1] He was also a lecturer on military history on the P&O steamship SS Uganda.[1]


In 1948 he married Patricia Nassau, daughter of Hugh Kindersley, 2nd Baron Kindersley, and they went on to have had two sons and two daughters.[1]

Notable works[edit]

  • Crookenden, Napier (1978). Airborne at War. Ian Allan. ISBN 978-0-7110-0771-0. 
  • Crookenden, Napier (1980). Battle of the Bulge 1944. Scribner. ISBN 978-0-684-16614-8. 
  • Crookenden, Napier (1976). Dropzone Normandy. The Story Of The American And British Airborne Assault On D Day 1944. Ian Allan. ISBN 978-0-7110-0660-7. 


  • Dover, Major Victor (1981). The Sky Generals. Cassell. ISBN 0-304-30480-8. 
  • Harclerode, Peter (2005). Wings Of War — Airborne Warfare 1918–1945. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-304-36730-3. 
  • Otway, Lieutenant-Colonel T.B.H (1990). The Second World War 1939–1945 Army — Airborne Forces. Imperial War Museum. ISBN 0-901627-57-7. 
  • Saunders, Hilary St. George (1972). The Red Beret — The Story Of The Parachute Regiment 1940–1945. White Lion Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-85617-823-3. 
  • Thompson, Major-General Julian (1990). Ready for Anything: The Parachute Regiment at War. Fontana. ISBN 0-00-637505-7. 
  • Tugwell, Maurice (1971). Airborne To Battle — A History Of Airborne Warfare 1918–1971. William Kimber & Co Ltd. ISBN 0-7183-0262-1. 


  1. ^ a b c d e f "The Times – Obituary: Lt. General Sir Napier Crookenden". 1 November 2002. Retrieved 5 October 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives - Napier Crookenden". 1 November 2002. Retrieved 5 October 2009. 
  3. ^ "Paradata – Obituary for Napier Crookenden". Retrieved 29 November 2009. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Anthony Read
GOC-in-C Western Command
Succeeded by
Post Disbanded