Caledon, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland

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General Harold R.L.G. Alexander

General Harold R.L.G. Alexander Commander in Chief - Southern Command

Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander was born in London in 1891 the third son of the Earl of Caledon. He attended Harrow and then Sandhurst (graduating in 1911) and commanded a battalion of Irish Guards on the Western Front during the Great War. He was wounded twice and received the Military Cross in 1915. By the end of the war he had been promoted to Brigadier of the 4th Guards Brigade.

Following the war Alexander volunteered to lead the Baltic Landwehr (a brigade of ethnic Germans) against the Red Army during the Russian Civil War. After successfully driving the bolsheviks from Latvia he returned to England. He was subsequently appointed second in command of the Irish Guards.

Alexander served in Turkey and Gibraltar before attending the Staff College at Camberley and the Imperial Defense College. He went to at War Office and then the Northern Command as a staff officer before being sent to India in 1934. He spent four years in the North-West Frontier Province. In 1937 he was promoted to Major General (the youngest in the army at 45).

In 1938 Alexander was given command of the 1st Division and in 1939 served with them in France as part of the BEF. He was given the task of planning the rear guard action required to enable the BEF to be evacuated from Dunkirk. Arriving back in England, Alexander was given command of coastal defences in Yorkshire and was then appointed as Claude Auchinleck's replacement as CinC Southern Command.

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