• Point of failure: British Army brigadiers in the British Expeditionary Force and North Western Expeditionary Force, 1940 - A study of advancement and promotion

      Buckley, John; McCarty, Philip John (University of Wolverhampton, 2021-01)
      By the summer of 1940 the British Army had suffered two simultaneous strategic defeats in Norway and France. Both had led to hurried and ignominious evacuations. A popular misconception contends that this led to a wholesale clearing out of the British Army’s command structure in order to start again, and that many officers suffered the loss of their careers in the necessity to rebuild an army both to withstand invasion and enable victory over Nazi Germany. This thesis contends that this belief is misplaced, and that rather than automatically ending the careers of all involved, some officers would progress and even thrive after 1940 in varying degrees. Its basis is a group of officers, brigadiers, on the cusp of either progression to general’s rank, stagnation or demotion. The careers of these officers are examined to establish whether or not factors including education, regiment, staff qualifications and so on influenced their professional survival. The work also considers whether the presence or absence of influence was responsible for an officer’s progression through the war after 1940. This thesis also examines those brigadiers serving in fighting commands in the initial stages of the Battle of Normandy in 1944. This is to compare a group on the cusp of winning a war with one close to its loss. The conclusion will be that the degree of change between the types of officer serving was not as radical as might have previously been supposed.