New Ironside Biography

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by Charley Fortnum, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Are any of you learned chaps in the know about this forthcoming book?

    Ironside: The Authorised Biography of Field Marshal William Edmund the Lord Ironside - Hardcover – 5 Oct 2015
    by The Rt Hon the Lord Ironside (Author)

    His diaries have already been published for 1920-22: High Road to Command [1972]
    and 1937-40: The Ironside Diaries / Time Unguarded (U.S.) [1963], and one wonders whether the current Lord Ironside, his son, is siting on anything revelatory - from either a military or political perspective

    He famously led a life of military adventure (and looked the part) and is often cited as the inspiration for Richard Hannay's daring deeds at the pen of John Buchan, but it must be said his final stints as CIGS and C-in-C Home Forces were somewhat of a inglorious ending to it all.
  2. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    I wonder if it'll help round out the Pillbox Affair/relations with Hore-Belisha a bit more... or whether we'll see a bit of a whitewash.
  3. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    good day swiper.yesterday.04:57 ironside biography.all i know about the names you memtion.hore-belisha.was responsable for the lights at pedestrian crossings.hence the name belisha beacons.regards bernard85
  4. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman Member

    I asked around and a couple of eminent historians didn't know this was coming.

    I can only hope it is of more use to posterity than his father's "Archangel 1919", a ghastly piece of post-facto self-justification and even obfuscation.
  5. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    The briefest of possible summaries:

    A more complete explanation could cover anti-semitism and class prejudice on the one side and a failure to grasp the basics of chain of command and communication on the other. Neither faction covered themselves in glory over the affair. Alanbrooke has rather a lot to say on the subject in his diaries and I can't seem to recall Ironside's position.
  6. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman Member

    There is a brief reference to the pillbox affair on Sir Hew Strachan's "The Politics of the British Army" (OUP 1997). (I am not ging to go anywhere near the anti-semitism argument) There had been increasing distance between H-B and the Chiefs; after all he had sacked the Army Council en bloc in 1937. His preferred nominee, Gort, succeeded to CIGS, but Gort was not delighted at the amount of background influence exerted by Basil Liddell Hart on H-B. The latter had no constituency amongst the senior commanders, and therefore little inherent support. Sending Gort to the BEF (who took the DMO, Pownall, with him) shredded any coherent war planning. The disaffection grew; H-B only went to France twice, and there was a chorus of disapproval against him. (Strachan suggests Pownall was the orchestrator of this). Increasingly marginalised, he latched onto the pillbox issue, which flew into the face of presumed planning for a mobile defence. His criticism that the BEF was "doing nothing" (because they weren't spending all their time building pillboxes) caused considerable anger, and Ironside got a broadside of this when he visited as CIGS. The Private Secretary to the King was an ex-Grenadier and friend of Gort; that got HM's ear, and increasingly H-B lost Chamberlain's confidence. He was offered the Board of Trade, but refused and resigned.
  7. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I contacted The History Press about this title and they wrote back to say that publication has been postponed and there was no longer a certain date. Fair enough, I thought, but on further searching I found that such websites as are still listing it (many have removed it from their listings), are now suggesting 2025 as a publication date!

    The Second Baron Ironside is the the author - and rather advanced in years - could there be something incendiary contained in the book on which he'd rather not be around to be questioned? (No disrespect intended).,_2nd_Baron_Ironside

    Edit: And while we're on the subject, this fact is another interesting facet of his already fascinating life:

  8. Over Here

    Over Here Junior Member

    Very glad to have found this thread as for years the Ironside story has been bothering me. Something was going on which caused his abrupt dismissal as C in C Home Forces and I can find nothing in print to explain this. It is very peculiar indeed and at present I am leaning towards the idea that he was an advocate of a settlement with Germany in 1940 or thereafter, probably on the basis that his very sober professional assessment was that a continuation of the war could only mean defeat. This was certainly his opinion in 1938 had war then occured.

    It is the irony of ironies, in fact a tragedy, that an officer who was probably one of the few who combined all the necessary skills to really lead succesfully in the field, in particular a grasp of armoured warfare and how it should be fought, should end up thus.

    No doubt his professional opinion was correct, but it did not take into account Hitler's over-riding of his general's professional opinions.

    I suppose we can give him the credit of having had the courage of his convictions to say so, though it cost him his career and cost the Empire an untold number of casualties which wiser leadership would have avoided.

    There is a photo of him with US troops in Britain in 1944 and he looks a shattered man. I believe he made a remark in regard to his being relieved as CinC Home Forces that, "it must have been hard for him [meaning Churchill] as he was always very loyal to his friends".

    It must have been equally hard for Churchill to have found that Ironside had no faith in the possibility of victory and that therefore he would have to go; if indeed that was the case.

    I would be glad to hear what others more informed about this period think.

    I see all mention of Lord Ironside and his book has vanished from Amazon!

    What are they hiding?
  9. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    With some more digging, this chap is assisting Lord Ironside:

    Andrew Bamford

    Is anybody familiar with his writing? This at least brings hope that we may see a publication sooner than 2025!
  10. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman Member

    Dr Bamford is a member of the Council of the Society for Army Historical Research (as am I); his writing is predominantly on Napoleonic matters - several books - but he has worked in the museum sector as well.

    All I will say is that though no fault of Andrew's - do not hold your breath awaiting publication.
    Swiper likes this.
  11. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

  12. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Delayed until: 01-03-2018!
  13. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    For those interested in Ironside and who can't wait until 2018, it may be worth looking out for a book by Brian Bond called From Liddell Hart to Joan Littlewood: Studies in British Military History, Helion & Company Limited, Solihull. One chapter provides an account of both Gort and Ironside when acting as Hore-Belisha's CIGS, and another covers the "pillbox affair" in some detail.

    Charley Fortnum likes this.
  14. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I have copy of this (you'll probably recognise the author), though I confess that I can't recall a blind thing about any mention of the Pillbox Affair. To my knowledge, it's the only full-length biography of Gort. One supposes that he must have been a remarkable man as even those of his contemporaries who criticise his actions seem full of admiration for him on a personal level--I suppose a VC helps...

  15. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The Ironside book is taken from 75 diary volumes. I hope that there is enough detail dealing with the late 1930s onwards and that it is not all overshadowed by WW1 stuff. I've ticked the e-mail notification request on Amazon. Thanks for the heads-up.
  16. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Where did you discover the 75 volumes of diaries part, Rich?
  17. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The 'Pressreader' article - 2nd column.
    It seems like an awful lot to condense and edit.
  18. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

  19. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    From Andrew Bamford's Facebook Page:

    Very pleased, and more than a little relieved, to report that the manuscript of Lord Ironside's biography of his father, with which I have been assisting him for the past two years, has finally been handed over to The History Press. What with deaths and changes of jobs and various other complications, it's been a bit of an epic but I've also learned a lot along the way and it was interesting to look at 20th Century topics for the first time since my postgraduate days over a decade ago. Refreshing, too, to work with someone who has a direct personal connection to the events and people covered in the book, which made it very different to working just from archival material alone. The book is due out early next year.
    Rich Payne and canuck like this.
  20. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

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