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William Platt

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Title: William Platt  
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Subject: East Africa Command, East African Campaign (World War II), Order of Battle, East African Campaign (World War II), George Alexander Cozens, Harold Rawdon Briggs
Collection: 1885 Births, 1975 Deaths, British Army Generals of World War II, British Army Personnel of World War I, Companions of the Distinguished Service Order, Graduates of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Knights Commander of the Order of the Bath, Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire, People Educated at Marlborough College, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers Officers, Sudan Defence Force Officers, Wiltshire Regiment Officers
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William Platt

William Platt
Nickname(s) The Kaid
Born 14 June 1885
Brooklands, Cheshire, United Kingdom
Died 28 September 1975 (aged 90)
London, England, United Kingdom
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1905 - 1945
Rank General
Commands held 2nd Battalion Wiltshire Regiment (1930 to 1933)
7th Infantry Brigade (Oct 1934 to Oct 1938)
GOC, British Troops in Sudan & Commandant Sudan Defence Force (Nov 1938 to Oct 1941)
Commander in Chief, East Africa Command - 1941 to 1945
Battles/wars East African Campaign
Awards GBE(1 Jan 1943)[1]
KCB (30 May 1941)[2]
CB (8 Jun 1939)[3]
DSO (1908)[4]
MID (14 Aug 1908,[5] 14 Jan 1917, 20 May 1918, 20 Dec 1918, 5 Jul 1919, 1 Apr 1941[6])
Other work

ADC to the King (29 Jun 1937-10 Nov 1938
Colonel, The Wiltshire Regiment (28 Jun 1942 – 1 Nov 1954)

Director, Messrs. Mather and Platt Ltd., Manchester (24 Feb 1946-Mar 1957)

General Sir William Platt GBE, KCB, DSO (born 1885; died 1975) was an officer in the British Army, the Australian Army, and the New Zealand Army during the First and Second World Wars.

Contents

  • Early years 1
  • First World War 2
  • Between the wars 3
  • Second World War 4
  • Honours and awards 5
  • Aftermath 6
  • Army career summary 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Early years

Platt was educated at Marlborough College and Royal Military College, Sandhurst.

On graduating from Sandhurst, Platt was commissioned into the Northumberland Fusiliers in August 1905.[7] From 1908 to 1914 he served on the North West Frontier in India where he won the Distinguished Service Order and was mentioned in dispatches for the first of a remarkable six such citations. Platt was promoted to lieutenant in June 1909[8] and captain in November 1914.[9]

First World War

From 1914 to 1918, Platt fought in France and Belgium during the European War. Between 1915 and 1916, he was appointed brigade-major[10] of the 103rd Infantry Brigade and was promoted brevet major in December 1916[11] Between 1916 and 1917, Platt was a General Staff Officer, Grade 2,[12] of the 21st Division. In 1917, he was made a General Staff Officer, Grade 2, of II Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in France. This corps was later reformed as the British XXII Corps. In 1918 he was appointed General Staff Officer, Grade 1 in the temporary rank of lieutenant-colonel.[13]

Between the wars

Platt was a General Staff Officer, Grade 1, of the 37th Division until 1920. In 1920 he once more became a brigade-major,[14] this time of 12 Infantry Brigade, 1st Eastern Command and then until 1922 Galway Brigade, Irish Command after which he returned to regimental duties.[15] Platt's permanent rank was advanced to major in January 1924[16] simultaneous with the award of brevet lieutenant-colonel status.[17] In March 1924 Platt once again received an appointment as brigade major,[18] this time for two years in Egypt. In late 1927 Platt returned to the War Office in London taking the post of Deputy Assistant Adjutant General on the Adjutant-General's staff.[19] His promotion to substantive lieutenant-colonel rank came in 1930 simultaneous with his transfer to the Wiltshire Regiment to command its 2nd Battalion.[20] On completion of this tour of duty in January 1933 Platt was promoted full colonel[21] and appointed as the General Staff Officer, Grade 1 of 3rd Division, Bulford.[22] In October 1934 Platt was given command of 7th Infantry Brigade in the rank of temporary brigadier.[23] From 1937[24] to 1938, he was aide-de-camp to the King and in late 1938 Platt was promoted to major-general[25] to take up the appointment as Commandant of the Sudan Defence Force.[26] In this role he carried the Arabic title of al-qa'id al-'amm ("the Leader of the Army") and was often referred to simply as "the Kaid".[27]

Second World War

As a result of the threat from Italian forces in Italian East Africa Platt's modest forces in Sudan were reinforced in late 1940 and early 1941 primarily by the arrival of the Indian 4th Infantry Division and the Indian 5th Infantry Division and in recognition of his larger corps-sized command he was promoted acting lieutenant-general in January 1941.[28] He commanded the forces invading Italian East Africa from Sudan during the East African Campaign. After re-taking the abandoned Kassala railway junction in Sudan on 18 January 1941, Platt advanced into Eritrea and captured Agordat on 28 January. He next faced strong Italian resistance at Keren. From 3 March to 1 April, Platt's leadership played a large part in the successful outcome of the Battle of Keren. The Eritrean capital, Asmara, was taken by the Indian 5th Infantry Division on 1 April while Keren was still being mopped up by the Indian 4th Infantry Division. After the battle of Keren, Platt lost the Indian 4th Infantry Division which returned to Egypt. On 8 April, the port city of Massawa surrendered. The forces still under Platt then marched on Amba Alagi.

Platt's forces, advancing from the Sudan, met the forces of Lieutenant-General Alan Cunningham, advancing from Kenya, at Amba Alagi. A large Italian force under Amedeo, Duke of Aosta, was dug in at Amba Alagi in what it considered impregnable positions. The Battle for Amba Alagi started on 3 May. On 18 May, the Duke of Aosta surrendered his embattled force and the campaign in East Africa was all but over.

From 1941 to 1945, Platt was the General Officer and Commander-in-Chief of the East Africa Command, which although no longer a theatre of war was an important source of manpower. Platt raised seventeen new battalions of the King's African Rifles.[29] From 1942[30] to 1954, Platt was the honorary colonel of the Wiltshire Regiment. His lieutenant-general rank was made permanent in May 1941[31] and he was promoted to general in January 1943.[32] He retired from the army in April 1945.[33]

Honours and awards

In addition to his British honours, Platt also received the Egyptian Order of the Nile (1st Class) in 1942,[34] the Grand Cross of the Star of Ethiopia in 1945,[35] and the French Légion d'Honneur in 1945.

Aftermath

After his retirement from the army Platt joined his family's business, Mather & Platt, where he served as a director until 1957.

Army career summary

  • Commissioned officer, Northumberland Fusiliers - 1905 to 1914
  • Captain, Northumberland Fusiliers - 1914 to 1915
  • Brigade-Major, 103rd Infantry Brigade - 1915 to 1916
  • General Staff Officer, Grade 2, of the 21st Division - 1916 to 1917
  • General Staff Officer, Grade 2, of the 2nd Australian and New Zealand Army Corps - 1917 to 1918
  • General Staff Officer, Grade 1, of the 37th Division - 1918 to 1920
  • Brigade-Major, 12 Infantry Brigade, 1st Eastern Command and Galway Brigade, Irish Command - 1920 to 1922
  • Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion Wiltshire Regiment - 1930 to 1933
  • General Staff Officer 1, 3rd Division - 1933 to 1934
  • Commanding Officer 7th Brigade - 1934 to 1938
  • General Officer Commanding, British Troops in Sudan - 1938 to 1941
  • General Officer Commanding, Sudan Defence Force - 1938 to 1941
  • General Officer Commanding, Northern Front, Eritrea and Ethiopia - 1941
  • Commander in Chief, East Africa Command - 1941 to 1945

Notes

  1. ^ The London Gazette: no. 35841. p. 9. 29 December 1942. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 38176. p. 3091. 30 May 1942. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  3. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34633. p. 3854. 6 June 1939. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28199. p. 8698. 24 November 1908. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 28168. p. 6058. 14 August 1908. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35120. p. 1870. 28 March 1941. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27827. p. 5620. 15 August 1905. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28288. p. 6875. 14 September 1909. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 28986. p. 9971. 24 November 1914. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29073. p. 1676. 16 February 1915. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29886. p. 18. 29 December 1916. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29874. p. 12451. 19 December 1916. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  13. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30882. p. 10484. 3 September 1918. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  14. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31776. p. 1789. 10 February 1920. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  15. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 32669. p. 3004. 11 April 1922. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  16. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32912. p. 1722. 26 February 1924. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  17. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32927. p. 3101. 15 April 1924. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  18. ^ The London Gazette: no. 32930. p. 3346. 25 April 1924. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  19. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33342. p. 8370. 30 December 1927. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  20. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33640. p. 5426. 2 September 1930. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  21. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33907. p. 671. 31 January 1933. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  22. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33907. p. 672. 31 January 1933. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  23. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34099. p. 6788. 26 October 1934. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  24. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34414. p. 4249. 2 July 1937. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ Richard Mead, p. 352
  28. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35089. p. 1198. 25 February 1941. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  29. ^ Richard Mead, p. 355
  30. ^ The London Gazette: no. 35629. p. 3086. 10 July 1942. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  31. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35175. p. 3071. 27 May 1941. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  32. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36139. p. 3727. 17 August 1943. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  33. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37033. p. 2011. 13 April 1945. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  34. ^ The London Gazette: no. 35739. p. 4397. 9 October 1942. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  35. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36961. p. 1187. 27 February1945. Retrieved 23 September 2015.

References

External links

  • Short biography of William Platt at www.unithistories.com
  • General Sir William PLATT - Biographies at www.BritishMilitaryHistory.co.uk
Military offices
Preceded by
Harry Wetherall
(As GOC East Africa Force)
GOC East Africa Command
1941–1945
Succeeded by
Sir Kenneth Anderson
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