Field-Marshal Alexander Appointed N.Z. Press Association—Copyright Rec. 2 p.m. LONDON, July 31. It is officially stated that the K.mg, on the recommendation of the Government of Canada, has approved the appointment of FieldMarshal Sir Harold Alexander, formerly Allied Supreme Commander in the Mediterranean theatre, as Governor-General of Canada, in succession to the Duke of Athlone.
Once called history's new Alexander the Great and real conqueror of North Africa, Harold Rupert Leofrlc George Alexander was Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces In the Field In North Africa and then of the Allied armies in Italy. He won acclaim as a fine strategist after his victories over Rommel and Kesselring, but he had earlier been praised for his behaviour in the retreat to Dunkirk and in the retreat in Burma. He was stated to have the ability of remaining equably poised to tackle each situation as it came. He was neither too cast down by defeat nor too puffed up by victory—a good quality to possess by one who tasted defeat but tasted much more of victory.
During a Press interview at the end of the campaign in Italy, General Alexander declared: "I had British, Americans, Canadians, New Zealanders. South Africans, Poles. French, Greeks, Italians, Brazilians and Indians. Thank God the Americans and ourselves have a common language otherwise it would have bden impossible." In praising the Fifth and Eighth Armies he said that always at the back of his mind when he made plans was the thought that he was playing with human lives. The proudest thing he could say was that he was a front-line soldier himself.
One of the four sons of Lord Caledon, he was born in Ulster in 1891. He was educated at Harrow and Sandhurst and was gazetted a second-lieutenant in the Irish Guards in 1911. He went to France with the first division of the British Expeditionary Force, and by the time he was 26 was a lieutenant-colonel commanding a battalion.
His claims to being a first line soldier are well borne out by the fact that he spent four years In the trenches, was twice wounded and five times mentioned In dispatches. He won the Military Cross and the Legion of Honour.
After the last war he spent considerable periods at the Staff College, the Imperial Defence College and the War Office. After active service on India's North-west frontier he became the British Army's youngest general in 1937. Field-Marshal Alexander commanded the First Division of the B.E.F. in France at the outbreak of World War 11. Typical of his calmness was his reply to an excited staff officer who rushed up to him at Dunkirk with the words: "Our position is catastrophic." Alexanders rejoinder was: "I'm sorry. I don t understand long words."
Sir Harold was placed in charge of the Southern Command in Britain and was then sent by plane to Burma to act as last-minute organiser of the British Army. After that it was Egypt and the beginning of the road to victory. Married with three young children, Field - Marshal Alexander's favourite hobbies are painting and gardening. He has an enormous number of friends ana has a warm sense of humour. One war correspondent summed him up as follows: "None of us has had a chance to study Alexander deeply, but this at if»a<!t is fairly obvious —he has a supremely balanced brain. All his abilities have kept pace with one another.
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CANADA'S CHOICE, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 180, 1 August 1945
CANADA'S CHOICE Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 180, 1 August 1945
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