Major General G.L. VERNEY, DSO, MVO, 2nd Battalion IRISH GUARDS

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  1. dbf

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    Major General GL Verney
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    From Irish Guards Journal, 1958:

    Major General G.L. VERNEY, DSO, MVO, Late IRISH GUARDS
    By Major General J.C. HAYDON, CB, DSO, OBE, Formerly IRISH GUARDS

    Gerry VERNEY died of a brain tumour on 3rd April, 1957, a few months before his fifty-seventh birthday. His illness was mercifully short, but the root cause of it had been building up within him for some years and, without doubt, increasingly coloured and affected his whole approach to life and people as it neared its climax.

    Gerry VERNEY served both as a GRENADIER and as an IRISH GUARDSMAN, initially joining the GRENADIERS from Sandhurst in August 1919. After service with the Regiment at home and abroad, a spell as A.D.C. to the Governor of South AUSTRALIA and a tour at London District Headquarters, he joined the Senior Wing of the Staff College in January, 1939, when a Major. In August of that year he transferred to the IRISH GUARDS, the 2nd Battalion of which was then re-forming. Just over a year later, in October 1940, after being with the 5th DIVISION in FRANCE, he returned to take over command of that battalion and saw it through the delicate period of its transformation from foot to armour. From then on Gerry VERNEY commanding in turn the 32nd GUARDS BRIGADE, the 6th GUARDS TANK BRIGADE, which he led in the CAUMONT battles of 1944, and the 7th ARMOURED DIVISION; for a short time in 1945 he commanded the 1st GUARDS BRIGADE in ITALY. After the war he was British Military Governor in VIENNA, and he later commanded the 56th ARMOURED DIVISION (T.A.). There was never any doubt about his skill as a soldier or about his real interest in military affairs. He had a first-class brain and it was allied to a strongly critical sense and a marked lucidity of expression. It was the combination of these qualities and his love of country life which, in 1948, led him to leave the Army, retire to IRELAND and devote himself to writing. He was quickly making a considerable impression as a military historian and had already written the History of the *7th ARMOURED DIVISION and **The Devil’s Wind, besides a large number of book reviews.

    As a man, Gerry was at his very best - and what a magnificent best it was - at home in his own family circle with a few intimates around him. Then his vivid - sometimes caustic - sense of humour and quick, pungent comments on people and events could be given free rein over the whole wide field of his interests.

    Only those who knew him closely and were privileged to be counted among his friends can truly sense how much they have lost by his going. His wife and his children meant the world to Gerry and to them goes out our deepest sympathy in a loss that we - his friends - share with them.


    * Desert Rats, The 7th Armoured Division in World War II by Major General GL Verney, DSO, MVO

    ** The Devil's Wind: The story of the Naval Brigade at Lucknow, from the letters of Edmund Hope Verney and other papers concerning the enterprise of the ship's company of H. M. S. Shannon in the campaign in India, 1857-58

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  2. Owen

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