Talk:Dudley Clarke

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Featured article Dudley Clarke is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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June 24, 2012 Good article nominee Listed
October 2, 2012 Featured article candidate Not promoted
October 22, 2012 WikiProject A-class review Approved
November 16, 2012 Featured article candidate Promoted
Did You Know A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on May 18, 2012.
The text of the entry was: Did you know ... that Brigadier Dudley Clarke, despite having been less than a year old at the time, tried to claim the Queen's South Africa Medal (pictured) for his participation in the Siege of Ladysmith?
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As a reminder:

  • 1930's (might be tough, minimal coverage of this period)
  • 1943/44 needs fleshing out
  • Info on his love of the establishment/aristocracy (he wanted to be a quiet part of the higher echelons).

--Errant (chat!) 09:58, 3 May 2012 (UTC)


From the page of May 18, 2012 - 'On this day/Did you know...'

"... that Brigadier Dudley Clarke, despite having been less than a year old at the time, tried to claim the Queen's South Africa Medal (pictured) for his participation in the Siege of Ladysmith?"

Might need re-wording to say that although aged less than one at the time of the Siege of Ladysmith, as an adult Clarke tried to claim a medal for participation in the Siege.

Here are all those tildes Wikipedia wants, so as to identify me as me! - (talk) 01:18, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

I presumed it to be self evident that he would be grown up; although earlier drafts of the hook included the word "later" --Errant (chat!) 08:43, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Dudley Clarke/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Grandiose (talk · contribs) 10:40, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Opening comments[edit]

  • Lead needs a bit of consolidation, but I'll see to that. If you could check my edits to ensure I haven't changed the meaning.
  • His defining contribution/legacy, detailed in the "Deception" section, is based off a single source and is rather short. Both of those things can be problematic, although I haven't yet had time to consider exactly whether the article fulfills the criteria on this one. A few sentences taken from another source would definitely do it, if you wanted to make my life easier :)
  • I accept the NFUR for the lead image but I think you could strengthen it further by pointing out that the technical quality isn't at all good (reduces the impact on "commercial opportunities"). Similar thing with File:Dudley Clarke, Madrid, 1941.jpg: I don't think the "N/As" are really N/A, I think you ought to say that it is this photograph that's important, because it is this photograph that is the subject of commentary; and, in any case, no other photographs of his predicament exist.
  • File:Queens South Africa Medal rev.jpg needs copyright details of the original medal, which is prominent enough in the photograph. Similar thing with File:British Commandos Patch.svg.

All for now, Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 10:40, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Thanks! You're lead c/e looks fine. I can expand the sourcing in the Deception section no problem. Same for the two FUR images. Will work on those tonight. I'm not sure what to do about the latter two images (they aren't my uploads); Commons templates are a black box to me to some extent :) so advice on this would be appreciated. --Errant (chat!) 11:40, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
I'll see what I can do for you on that. (When I look earlier, I didn't see an actual problem, only a documentational problem. I hope this is correct on further investigation.) Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 14:53, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I'd just make an observation about the opening "The man who would grow up to be 'the greatest deceiver of World War 2'". It's the only time that assertion, apparently a quote, appears. It's location, right in the opening paragraph before details of his birth, is a bit unusual. And I would have expected it in a subsequent sentence/phrase, cited independently for it to have less of an "editorial" feel. Can we infer that Rankin so referred to him? --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 13:47, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
    • Yup, it's a quote from Rankin. It's intended as a hook into the article, without editorialising. If you read the "Deception" section you will see that same quote in extended for plus plenty of others - you'd be hard pressed for find a source that didn't refer to him in such tones :) --Errant (chat!) 16:34, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Who ran Sentinel and Bertram?[edit]

Fascinating stuff. I'm a bit worried, though, by the claims that Clarke with the few members of 'A' Force (including the notably untruthful Jasper Maskelyne) carried off Operations Sentinel and Bertram for the 2nd battle of El Alamein. The account by Middle East Command's Director of Camouflage, Geoffrey Barkas, makes it clear that whatever Clarke did - presumably, suggesting deception to Alexander and Montgomery - the deceptions at all scales in both operations were devised and executed by Camouflage, in collaboration with the Royal Engineers (who built the trackways, etc) on the orders of Brigadier de Guingand (B.G.S. 8th Army), with plentiful support from many departments including R.A.S.C. and the Pioneers. Refs - Peter Forbes, Dazzled and Deceived, 2009, pp 163-169; Barkas, The Camouflage Story, 1952, pp 153-216; Rick Stroud 2012, The Phantom Army of Alamein, 191-203. Chiswick Chap (talk) 21:10, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
Well... "few" is not a good description, by that point they had a substantial staff. 'A' Force were in charge of strategic planning for deception in the region - so they would not have implemented anything directly, but all of those operations would have originated in their offices. 'A' Force tended to sketch out the skeleton for a plan and then liaise with e.g. Camoflage who would implement the details. I've tried to stick to using the word "planning" throughout to emphasise this role, but I will take another look and ensure that it is clear he wasn't commanding fake tank regiments directly (with that said, Victor Jones was directly responsible for some fake regiments during that period - does he feature in the sources?). The Barkas source I would take care with due to the date; very little of the deception material was released until the 70's so his account is almost certainly missing substantial portions, especially in the planning/organisation areas. The other sources I will look into :) --Errant (chat!) 21:36, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

The picture is not of Dudley Clarke[edit]

Don't know who it is, but Dudley Clarke it's not. (talk) 19:56, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

  • Yes, that assuredly is not Clarke. It looks a bit like Mure, who worked for Clarke. (talk) 22:02, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
  • I am going to go ahead and delete the picture. It is simply wrong (compare, e.g., the authentic picture of Clarke in civilian clothes later in the article), and should not continue to be displayed. (talk) 20:34, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
Are you sure? The faces in the two photos look rather similar to me, but then I don't know what Mure looked like. Chiswick Chap (talk) 20:42, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
I am absolutely certain. Clarke never had a moustache. He was not bald, or not so much as the man in the picture. The man in the picture is simply not Dudley Clarke. For a picture of the real Clarke, see e.g. the frontispiece of the book by Holt cited in the references. (talk) 22:54, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
I've removed it. I was always quite unsure it was Clarke, but it got added during, I think, A-Class review, by another editor - and I gave it the benefit of the doubt. The photograph was part of a private archive (that I tracked down once it had been placed on the page) and the owner said he thought it was Clarke, but was a little unsure. I'm currently figuring out if that sketch in the cover of Holt is war art and crown copyright - if it is then I'll get that uploaded ASAP. --Errant (chat!) 10:10, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for removing. According to the credits, the Holt frontispiece is Imperial War Museum. (talk) 00:58, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, it is here: But the copyright status of the image is unclear. I am not sure if War Art falls under Crown Copyright. --Errant (chat!) 10:01, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Glad to see it's been added. (talk) 16:21, 10 January 2013 (UTC)


Just some things I need to remember to look at:

  • Palestine section; Clarke particularly asked to be posted to Palestine, where the current sentence reads as if he merely wanted a posting to the Middle East.

--Errant (chat!) 17:09, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

    • Reverted if source states Irondome (talk) 17:24, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
      • Thanks for your improvements! It wasn't a big issue, but thanks. --Errant (chat!) 17:37, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
      • No probs, excellent article. Just been gnoming basically. Just a couple of minor stylistic-edits. Purely relative in quality too! Cheers Irondome (talk) 17:44, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Too soon after DYK?[edit]

As soon as I saw this article on the main page I remembered reading it from a recent DYK tag. Surely a bit of forward planning to prevent such occurrences is not too much to expect. What do others think? Downsize43 (talk) 22:53, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Recent? 18th May 2012, so 8 months ago, give or take a couple of days. That's not "recent" in anyone's book. Disclosure: I am one of the small team that chooses the articles that appear as "Today's Featured Article" (either following requests at WP:TFAR or off our own bat). I in fact chose Clarke's article for today, and yes indeed you are expecting too much when you say that TFAs should not have appeared on the main page in the previous eight months - we have quite enough to worry about in choosing a selection of articles from across the world and across the various topics in which Wikipedia has FAs without adding another arbitrary restriction. I cannot remember anyone ever complaining about this issue before, as it happens, so you perhaps ought to win a prize for finding a new ground of complaint about the TFA, at least... BencherliteTalk 23:22, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
Complaint? Since when did a reasonable suggestion become a complaint? FWIW I can see your point, given that we are only part-time unpaid drudges trying to make the world a better place. Downsize43 (talk) 05:39, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Since you said "Surely a bit of forward planning to prevent such occurrences is not too much to expect" i.e. that there was no forward planning and that this situation should have been avoided. That's a complaint, based on a false premise of a "recent" DYK appearance, and based on (to my mind) an unreasonable suggestion that the timing of the appearance as TFA should depend on the date of any appearance at DYK. But this is off-topic for this talk page. If you want to copy this and invite further discussion from others as a new talk page section at WT:TFAR, please do so. BencherliteTalk 10:46, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Has it been only 8 months! Wow, seems like a lot longer since I delved down this rabbit hole :D --Errant (chat!) 09:01, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

That Clarke named the US Rangers is improbable[edit]

It is quite unlikely that Clarke originated the idea that the American special troops should be called "Rangers." The citations from Rankin do not seem to support the statement. The term was a well-established one in US history, including Rogers's Rangers, the Texas Rangers, Mosby's Rangers, etc.; see the Wikipedia article "United States Army Rangers". Some have said that Clarke, inspired by the movie "Northwest Passage", suggested the term to General Donovan, head of OSS. Even if he did so, Donovan had nothing to do with the Rangers - which were activated under that name as early as May 1942, see Wikipedia article "1st Ranger Battalion (United States)", while Clarke first met Donovan in October of that year. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:54, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

Try Rankin pg. 317 (there are lots of varied copies of this book); Clarke met Donnovan in Jan 1941, and wrote for him a paper about commando tactics at the same time as suggesting the name. --Errant (chat!) 09:46, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. I stand corrected as to first meeting. But Rankin cites as source the Vivian Dykes diaries p.34, which doesn't seem to mention the Rangers, as least as far as is searchable on Google Books. Just says they met with Clarke for an hour "about the Commandos, started after Dunkirk to regain the offensive spirit." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:15, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
I'll try and locate the source and see what I can find out. Thanks for pursuing this. --Errant (chat!) 22:05, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Cutting the lead.[edit]

Having examined the over long lead I have decided to make a considerable cut to make the article look better. It's been my experience on the wiki over the past few years that the lead should only contain a brief outline of the body of the article. In this case it was like an article on its own and covered far too much of what could more easily and better explained in the main article. Others may disagree but if so then please let's discuss and find a way of condensing the lead rather than have a large preamble such as the one I removed. All for the good of the wiki. SonofSetanta (talk) 13:37, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

Let's discuss then, as your cut was too extensive - WP:LEAD allows for a lead of several paragraphs for an article of this length, and I think the original lead served its purpose far better than your more spartan version. Nikkimaria (talk) 14:57, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
I disagree. I believe the lead is far too long. Perhaps we should ask for other opinions from the Military History department? SonofSetanta (talk) 15:07, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
By all means, though I will note that you were reverted by another MilHist member. Is there a less drastic cut that might serve as a middle ground? I will take a closer look at that possibility. Nikkimaria (talk) 17:03, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
There's always a middle ground. I accept that my cut may have been a little bit too much for some, especially if they were involved in writing it. I hadn't noticed it was a MilHist member who reverted me. SonofSetanta (talk) 17:13, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
Hi There. So worth bearing in mind this article has had a Featured Article review, so it's definitely worth checking through those comments (we discussed the lead, and possibly trimmed it, I don't recall - will check). I am a bit confused by your edit though. Leads should summarise the entire article (see WP:LEAD; "The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview."); this one is what... 5,000 words/30,000+ characters so definitely needs a summary (WP:LEADLENGTH suggests 4 paragraphs). I've no issues if you believe the lead to be too lengthy and have sensible suggestions for trimming fat from it. However it looks like you removed the final three (of four) paragraphs which rendered the lead to contain barely any information. With a lengthy and mostly completed article the rule of thumb is, in general, for the lead to be copy-pastable as an overview article in its own right, which was my aim in for this article :) (I guess in short; I am asking what justification you have for such a drastic cut other than it being your preference?) --Errant (chat!) 22:17, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
I hadn't noticed that it had a Featured Article Review. I went entirely by what I felt were the aesthetics of the lead. In retrospect perhaps I was too hasty but, given the interventions, no harm has been done. I still feel the lead is too long but I will withdraw and allow the authors who achieved the Featured Article to re-examine and edit where necessary. Thank you for your patience. SonofSetanta (talk) 16:09, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

Operation Camilla[edit]

East African Campaign (World War II) Added a paragraph here yesterday from Rankin, who wrote of the deception being about British Somaliland not Italian as it is in the text here. Is it a typo? Regards Keith-264 (talk) 08:50, 1 March 2016 (UTC)