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Harold Rupert Leofric George "Earl of Tunis" Alexander
Birth: Dec. 10, 1891
London
City of London
Greater London, England
Death: Jun. 16, 1969
Slough
Slough Borough
Berkshire, England

British Army Field Marshal. Born in London, the second son of the fourth Earl of Caledon, when he was very young the family moved back to their ancestral home, Caledon Castle in County Tyrone, Ireland, and, when he was only six, his father, who had served in the Life Guards Regiment of the British Army, but was better known as a deep-water yachtsman, died. In Ireland, he learned to paint and to carve in wood and stone. Educated at Harrow College, and at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, in 1911, he was commissioned in the Irish Guards. He intended to serve for a few years, then to retire early and make a living as a painter. However, the outbreak of World War I extended his military service plans. In August 1914, he was sent to France as a Lieutenant, and remained there until the first months of 1919, by which time he had reached the rank of Brigadier General, been wounded twice, and awarded the Military Cross (in 1915) and the Distinguished Service Order (in 1916). Throughout the War, he found the time to paint in the trenches. In 1919, he was sent to Latvia, which was a disputed territory between Germany and the Soviet Union, until Latvian independence was recognized the following year. After that, he served in Constantinople, Turkey as part of the Army of Occupation, in Gibraltar and at Staff College in England. In 1934, Alexander was sent to command the Nowshera Brigade on the North-West Frontier between India and Afghanistan, where he learned to speak Urdu just as quickly as he had learnt German and Russian. In 1937, he was promoted to Major General; at the age of 45, he was the youngest General in the British Army. On the outbreak of the Second World War, he was detailed to France; and, the following year, Field Marshal John Vereker, Lord Gort put him in charge at Dunkirk, with orders to withdraw all the British troops who could be saved. In three days, 20,000 British and 98,000 French were evacuated. General Alexander left on the very last motor launch, on which he toured the beaches to make sure no-one was remaining. In February 1942, at very short notice, he was given command of the Army in Burma. The Japanese had crossed the Sittang River and were about to encircle and capture Rangoon, and it was only because a Japanese divisional commander had left an escape route open that Alexander and his troops were able to leave the capital. As at Dunkirk, he did not leave Rangoon until the last possible moment. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill did not hold Alexander responsible for the fall of Burma. Churchill at once confirmed Alexander as head of the First Army which was to invade North Africa in November 1942, but this was changed and he was sent to the Middle East to replace General Sir Claude Auchinleck. In January 1943, however, he attended the conference at Casablanca, Morocco, where he was confirmed as deputy Commander in Chief in North Africa under United States General Dwight D. Eisenhower. On May 13 he was able to send his famous telegram to Churchill; "Sir, it is my duty to report that the Tunisian campaign is over. All enemy resistance has ceased. We are the masters of the North African shores." The next objective was Sicily, where he commanded the United States Seventh Army and the British Eighth Army. The plan had been for two separate invasions, in the South-East and North-West. Alexander, however, concentrated all his troops in the South-East, with the result that, within 38 days, the whole island was liberated. For the remaining two years of the war, he was engaged on the mainland of Italy. On June 4, 1944, when the Allied troops entered Rome, Italy, he was awarded the rank of Field Marshal. By May 1945, all Italy had been overrun and one million Germans had surrendered. After V.E. Day, Alexander expected to be made Chief of the Imperial General Staff, but Mackenzie King the Canadian Prime Minister, asked him to become the Governor General of the Dominion. Churchill urged him to accept the position, and he served in Ottawa from 1946 until 1952. In the first of those years, he was raised to the peerage as a Viscount. In January 1952, Churchill visited Ottawa, and offered Alexander an Earldom and a position in the British Cabinet as Secretary of State for Defense. He served until autumn 1954, although it has been said that Churchill was the real Minister of Defense and Alexander his spokesman in the House of Lords. Earl Alexander spent the last fifteen years of his life as a director of several firms, including Alcan, Barclays Bank and Phoenix Assurance. In these final years, more and more of his time was taken up with painting. He died suddenly in hospital in Slough. His funeral service was held at St. George's Chapel in Windsor, and he is buried in the village of Ridge in South Hertfordshire, near his house at Tyttenhanger. His statue stands in front of the barracks of the Irish Guards in Birdcage Walk, near Buckingham Palace. (bio by: Iain MacFarlaine) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Lady Margaret Bingham Alexander (1905 - 1977)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
St Margaret Churchyard
Ridge
Hertsmere Borough
Hertfordshire, England
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Iain MacFarlaine
Record added: May 20, 2003
Find A Grave Memorial# 7471224
Harold Rupert Leofric George Earl of Tunis Alexander
Added by: Ron Moody
 
Harold Rupert Leofric George Earl of Tunis Alexander
Added by: Iain MacFarlaine
 
Harold Rupert Leofric George Earl of Tunis Alexander
Added by: Iain MacFarlaine
 
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- karl anglin
 Added: Feb. 9, 2017
Thank you for being with Baltic Landeswehr in the hardest time. Thank you for good words and support.
-Anonymous
 Added: Oct. 23, 2016
What a man, What a life story - RIP Earl
- deetsdon
 Added: Aug. 3, 2016
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