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Lieutenant General Sir Humfrey Myddelton Gale KBE CB CVO MC (4 October 1890 – 8 April 1971) was an officer in the British Army who served in the First and Second World War, during which he was Chief Administrative Officer at Allied Forces Headquarters and later SHAEF under General of the Army Dwight Eisenhower. After the Second World War he was European Director of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, worked for the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, and was chairman of the Basildon, Essex New Town Development Corporation

Sir Humfrey Myddelton Gale
Hunfrey Gale, cropped from Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force- Personalities TR2628 (cropped).jpg
Lieutenant General Sir Humfrey Gale
Born(1890-10-04)4 October 1890
London, England
Died8 April 1971(1971-04-08) (aged 80)
La Tour-de-Peilz, Vaud, Switzerland.
Corsier-Sur-Vevey Cemetery, Vaud, Switzerland
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service1908–1947
RankLieutenant General
Service number21273
UnitRoyal Army Service Corps
Battles/warsFirst World War

Second World War:

AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Military Cross
Mentioned in Despatches
Order of Wen-Hu (5th Class) (China)
Distinguished Service Medal (US)
Legion of Merit (US)
Other workEuropean Director of UNRRA
Chairman of the Basildon, Essex New Town Development Corporation

Early lifeEdit

Humfrey Myddelton Gale was born in London, England on 4 October 1890, the eldest of five children of Ernest Sewell Gale, an architect, and his wife Charlotte Sarah née Goddard. He was educated at St Paul's School, London and studied at the Architectural School, Westminster from 1908 to 1910. While there he served with the Artists Rifles. He decided to pursue a career in the British Indian Army and applied to the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. His application was successful and he entered the college in 1910. However he did not graduate sufficiently high in his class to qualify for a posting to the Indian Army and was instead commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Service Corps in September 1911. His early service was at Woolwich and Aldershot.[1]

First World WarEdit

During the First World War, Gale served on the Western Front, where he was awarded the Military Cross.[2] He was promoted to lieutenant and then captain in 1914. In 1915, he became Deputy Assistant Director of Transport, British Expeditionary Force, and served in that post at General Headquarters for the remainder of the war.[3] He was twice mentioned in despatches,[1] and was awarded the Order of Wen-Hu (5th Class).[4] He married Winifred Cross in 1917. Their marriage lasted until her death in 1936, and produced two daughters.[1]

Between the warsEdit

Gale served as a staff captain at the War Office from 1919 to 1923. Thereafter his inter-war service alternated between regimental duty at home and in Egypt, and postings to the War Office. He was promoted to the brevet rank of major in 1921 but was not promoted substantially until 1930. He returned to the War Office in 1928, where he became Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General in 1930. After ten years as a major he was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1932. In 1934, he became an instructor at the Staff College, Camberley. He became Assistant Director of Shipping and Transport, War Office and was promoted to colonel in 1937 and then brigadier in 1939.[3]

Second World WarEdit

Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Gale was appointed Deputy Adjutant and Quartermaster General of the III Corps, which was deployed to France with the new British Expeditionary Force in 1940. He was responsible for administrative arrangements during the Battle of Dunkirk and managed to keep the supply system working.[1] For his services in the campaign, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.[5] Gale was promoted to major general and appointed Major General, Administration (MGA), Scotland.[6] In 1941 he became Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to General Sir Alan Brooke, Commander in Chief United Kingdom Home Forces.[3] His work was recognised in June 1942 when he was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath.[7]

On 15 September 1942 Gale was appointed its Chief Administrative Officer of Lieutenant General Dwight Eisenhower's Allied Forces Headquarters (AFHQ).[8] While the general staff sections of AFHQ were integrated, the British and American administrative systems differed so greatly that separate organisations were established.[9] Gale's job, which Eisenhower called "unique in the history of war", was to coordinate the two.[10] For the Allied invasion of Sicily, Gale was tasked with the planning and coordination of the sea convoys. Ships had to depart multiple ports in the United Kingdom and the Middle East on a predefined schedule, loaded with enormous quantities of supplies, equipment, stores and troops. For a time it was feared that demands of the Sicilian operation would be so great that other operations would have to be curtailed.[11] For his contribution to the victory in the Tunisia Campaign, he was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in August 1943.[12] He was also appointed a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order,[13] and was awarded the United States Legion of Merit.[1]

When Eisenhower left the Mediterranean to become the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, Gale was one of a number of key officers that Eisenhower insisted on taking with him to his new headquarters, SHAEF. When Field Marshal Brooke demurred at this, Eisenhower's chief of staff, Lieutenant General Walter Bedell Smith pointed out that Eisenhower had always felt "he would be unwilling to undertake another large Allied Command without Gale's administrative assistance .... He has that irreplaceable quality of being able to handle British-American supply problems with tact and judgement and he is almost as familiar with the American system of supply as with the British."[14]

However, Gale found that while his title at SHAEF was the same, his role was different from that at Allied Force Headquarters. In the Mediterranean he had had broad responsibility for logistics. In the European theatre, General Bernard Montgomery's 21st Army Group controlled its own supply while the American units had Headquarters, Communications Zone under Major General John C. H. Lee. At SHAEF, Gale had less real control over supply and administration than at Allied Force Headquarters and his duties mostly involved coordinating the activities of the SHAEF staff sections and serving as chairman of various high-level committees that dealt with matters of supply.[15] Gale was promoted to the temporary rank of lieutenant general in August 1944,[16] and in January 1945 he became Colonel Commandant of the Royal Army Service Corps,[17] a position he held until 1954. He was also colonel commandant of the Army Catering Corps from 1946 to 1958.[1] For his work at SHAEF, he was awarded the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal.[1]


Gale married again in 1945, this time to Minnie Grace, the daughter of Count Gregorini-Bigham of Bologna and the widow of Prince Charles Louis of Beauvau-Craon. From September 1945 to July 1947 he was the European Director of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.[1] Gale retired from the British Army with the honorary rank of lieutenant general in October 1947,[18] and took up a position with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. In 1954 Harold Macmillan persuaded Gale to become chairman of the Basildon, Essex New Town Development Corporation, a post Gale served in until 1964. Macmillan described Gale as one of the most efficient officers he had ever known. Gale and Minnie lived in La Tour de Peilz, Vaud, Switzerland, where he died on 8 April 1971.[1] His papers are in the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Strawson 2004
  2. ^ "No. 29202". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 June 1915. p. 6126.
  3. ^ a b c d LHCMA Summary Guide: GALE, Lt Gen Sir Humfrey Myddleton (1890-1971), retrieved 28 August 2010
  4. ^ "No. 31783". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 February 1920. p. 1938.
  5. ^ "No. 34893". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 November 1940. p. 4247.
  6. ^ "No. 34988". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 November 1940. p. 6479.
  7. ^ "No. 35586". The London Gazette. 11 June 1942. p. 2477.
  8. ^ Playfair et al. 1973, p. 393
  9. ^ Playfair et al. 1966, p. 114
  10. ^ Bjorge 1985
  11. ^ Playfair et al. 1973, p. 136
  12. ^ "No. 36120". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 August 1943. p. 3521.
  13. ^ "No. 36077". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 July 1943. p. 2995.
  14. ^ Pogue 1954, p. 64
  15. ^ Pogue 1954, pp. 64–65
  16. ^ "No. 36647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 August 1944. p. 3697.
  17. ^ "No. 36870". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 January 1945. p. 140.
  18. ^ "No. 38094". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 October 1947. p. 4787.