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Thomas Pearson (British Army officer)

Military careerEdit

Thomas Pearson was born on 1 July 1914, shortly before the First World War began, in Queenstown, Ireland. He was educated at Charterhouse School,[2] and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, from where he, along with another future general officer, Douglas Darling, was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own) on 30 August 1934.[3] He was promoted to lieutenant on 31 August 1937.[4][5]

Pearson served in the Second World War, initially as a Staff Captain in the Middle East. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in 1941 as a temporary captain.[6] He was promoted to captain on 30 August 1942 and became Commanding Officer of 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade that year, with the ranks of war substantive major and temporary lieutenant colonel.[5][7] He took part in the Second Battle of El Alamein, a turning-point in the war,[8] and was awarded a Bar to his DSO on 19 August 1943.[9]

In 1943, Pearson became a General Staff Officer, first at Force Headquarters and then in the Middle East.[5] He was appointed Deputy Commander of 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade Group in 1944 and then Deputy Commander of 1st Airlanding Brigade in 1945 as a war-substantive lieutenant colonel.[5] After the war he was made Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment in 1946 and Commanding Officer of 7th Battalion Parachute Regiment in 1947.[5] He was promoted to the substantive rank of major on 30 August 1947.[10]

Brevetted lieutenant colonel on 1 July 1951, Pearson became a General Staff Officer serving at the War Office, then at Malaya Headquarters and then at Headquarters Far East Land Forces.[5][11] He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his service in Malaya on 30 October 1953.[12] He became an Instructor at the Joint Services Staff College in 1953, Commander of 45th Parachute Brigade in 1955 with the temporary rank of brigadier. He was promoted to colonel on 3 April 1955 and became Commander 16th Independent Parachute Brigade in 1957.[5][13] He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1959 New Year Honours list.[14] He was appointed Chief of Staff to the Director of Operations in Cyprus in 1960 and Head of the British Military Mission to the Soviet Zone of Germany in 1960.[5]

Pearson became General Officer Commanding 1st Division on 4 November 1961 with the temporary rank of major general, and was retroactively promoted to major general from that date on 8 December.[15][16] He relinquished this appointment on 5 November 1963 and was appointed Chief of Staff for Northern Army Group on 14 December 1963.[17][18] Pearson was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 1964 New Year Honours list.[19] Relinquishing his appointment as Chief of Staff, Northern Army Group on 28 October 1966, he was appointed General Officer Commanding Far East Land Forces on 1 February 1967 and promoted to lieutenant general with seniority from 12 June 1966.[20][21] He was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in that year's Birthday Honours list.[22] After relinquishing his appointment as GOC Far East on 16 November 1968, Pearson was appointed Military Secretary at the Ministry of Defence on 13 January 1969.[23][24]

Vacating his appointment of Military Secretary on 2 February 1972, Pearson received his final appointment as Commander-in-Chief, Allied Forces Northern Europe on 9 February 1972, with the rank of general (seniority from 7 January 1972).[25][26] He relinquished this appointment on 18 September 1974 and retired on 27 December after a 40-year career.[27][28] In June 2009 he was present at the unveiling of an updated display at the Royal Green Jackets Museum.[8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "No. 38240". The London Gazette. 19 March 1948. p. 1919.
  2. ^ Old Robinites
  3. ^ "No. 34083". The London Gazette. 31 August 1934. p. 5524.
  4. ^ "No. 34431". The London Gazette. 31 August 1937. p. 5512.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  6. ^ "No. 35157". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 May 1941. p. 2645.
  7. ^ "No. 35685". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 August 1942. p. 3806.
  8. ^ a b Royal Green Jackets Museum
  9. ^ "No. 36138". The London Gazette. 17 August 1943. p. 3721.
  10. ^ "No. 38058". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 August 1947. p. 4086.
  11. ^ "No. 39397". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 November 1951. p. 6239.
  12. ^ "No. 40000". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 October 1951. p. 5771.
  13. ^ "No. 40530". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 July 1955. p. 3929.
  14. ^ "No. 41589". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1959. p. 6.
  15. ^ "No. 42508". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 November 1961. p. 8089.
  16. ^ "No. 42531". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 December 1961. p. 8861.
  17. ^ "No. 43149". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 November 1963. p. 9043.
  18. ^ "No. 43183". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 December 1963. p. 10279.
  19. ^ "No. 43200". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1964. p. 3.
  20. ^ "No. 44307". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 May 1967. p. 5190.
  21. ^ "No. 44242". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 February 1967. p. 1419.
  22. ^ "No. 44326". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 June 1967. p. 6270.
  23. ^ "No. 44736". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 December 1968. p. 13509.
  24. ^ "No. 44766". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 January 1969. p. 458.
  25. ^ "No. 45592". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 February 1972. p. 1580.
  26. ^ "No. 45598". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 February 1972. p. 1896.
  27. ^ "No. 46427". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 December 1974. p. 12548.
  28. ^ "No. 46469". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 January 1975. p. 863.

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
Alan Jolly
GOC 1st Division
1961–1963
Succeeded by
Miles Fitzalan-Howard
Preceded by
Sir Michael Carver
GOC Far East Land Forces
1967–1968
Succeeded by
Sir Peter Hunt
Preceded by
Sir Richard Goodwin
Military Secretary
1969–1972
Succeeded by
Sir John Sharp
Preceded by
Sir Walter Walker
C-in-C Allied Forces Northern Europe
1972–1974