Frederick Joseph Loftus-Tottenham

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Frederick Joseph Loftus-Tottenham
Born 4 May 1898
Died 11 April 1987 (aged 89)
Warminster, Wiltshire
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch British Indian Army
Rank Major-General
Awards CBE (12 June 1947)[1]
DSO (22 June 1944)[2]
DSO(22 March 1945)[3]
MID (17 December 1942)[4]
MID (5 April 1945)[5]
MID (19 July 1945)[6]

Major-General Frederick Joseph Loftus-Tottenham, CBE, DSO and Bar (born 1898; died 1987) was a British Indian Army officer during World War I and World War II.

Military career

Loftus-Tottenham passed out from the Cadet College, Wellington and was commission a second lieutenant in April 1914[7] and was attached to the 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles).[8] A year later he was promoted to lieutenant.[9] He was promoted captain in April 1920[10] and in May 1934 he was promoted to major.[11]

In 1940 he was advanced to lieutenant-colonel to command the newly raised 3rd battalion of the 1st Gurkha Rifles, stationed in Waziristan on the North West Frontier of India.[12] He was mentioned in despatches for his services there. Having taken a parachute training course, he was appointed in October 1941 to raise and command 153 Gurkha Parachute Battalion, part of 50th Parachute Brigade.[12] In February 1943 he was further promoted to acting brigadier to command 33rd Indian Infantry Brigade, part of 7th Indian Infantry Division.[12]

In October 1943 the brigade moved to the Arakan and in January 1944 took part in the division's attack down the Kalapanzin Valley to capture the only lateral route across the Mayu peninsula. British plans were forestalled in February by the Japanese Ha-Go Offensive which infiltrated and compromised the division's lines of supply. However, new tactics dictated that instead of retreating to protect supply lines, the division should hold firm forming defensive boxes to await relief from formations in reserve. Supplies would come from the air. The main target of the Japanese was the division's Admin Box and for a short while Loftus-Tottenham was given the task of co-ordinating the division's three brigades while divisional commander Frank Messervy was out of touch, his HQ having been overrun. 33 Brigade saw heavy fighting but slowly, with their own supplies cut, the Japanese attack began to fade. By early March the division was once more on the attack and late in the month Loftus-Tottenham's brigade was withdrawn into reserve.[13]

In April 1944 the brigade was airlifted from the Arakan as part of the reinforcements sent to XXXIII Indian Corps at Kohima facing the Japanese U Go offensive and experienced heavy fighting throughout May until the end of the battle. After a pause the brigade took part in the pursuit and then was withdrawn to refit and rest.[13] In June Loftus-Tottenham was awarded the DSO.

In August 1944 Loftus-Tottenham was promoted to acting major-general[14] to command the 81st West African Division which held the left hand flank of XV Corps' front in the Arakan.[15] The division had virtually no transport, relying on auxiliary groups of porters to support each of its two brigades. In some respects this proved no disadvantage given the very poor going in the Kaladan Valley where the division was to operate and that access to the valley was via the "West African Way", a temporary jeep track constructed in 1943. As a result, the division relied for much of its supply from the air and constructed light aircraft and Dakota strips as it advanced. In mid January the division had reached Myohaung and with two brigades from 82nd West African Division under command launched an attack which saw the key town taken by the end of the month when the division was relieved and withdrawn to Southern India.[15] In March 1945 Loftus-Tottenham was awarded his second DSO.

In India the division trained for an amphibious landing on the Kra Isthmus but the operation was cancelled and the division did not see further action.[15]

After the war Loftus-Tottenham spent a time in command of Force 401, an expanded brigade group formed to protect British oil interests in Iran (in connection with which he was appointed CBE), and then became GOC Iraq. In 1947 he was placed in command of 7th Indian Infantry Division over the period of Partition and in the same year his permanent rank was advanced to full colonel.[16] His retirement from the British Army (with the substantive rank of full colonel) was formally dated February 1948 but he remained active on the specially employed list seconded to the Pakistan Army (to which his division was allocated)[17] until final retirement in August 1950[18] when he was accorded the honorary rank of major-general.[19]

Family

Loftus-Tottenham married Marjorie Fielden Dare in 1922. They had three sons, two of whom were killed in action during the Second World War (one at Cassino and the other in Burma, both aged 20 years). Widowed in 1978, he married again, to Isobel Helen Baker, in 1980.[20]

See also

References

  • Ammentorp, Steen. Joseph/Great_Britain.html "Generals of World War II" Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2013-06-24.
  • "Orders of Battle.com". Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  • Houterman, Hans; Koppes, Jeroen. "World War II unit histories and officers". Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  • Mead, Richard (2007). Churchill's Lions: A biographical guide to the key British generals of World War II. Stroud (UK): Spellmount. pp. 256–258. ISBN 978-1-86227-431-0.

Footnotes

  1. ^ "No. 37977". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 June 1947. p. 2591.
  2. ^ "No. 36574". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 June 1944. p. 2961.
  3. ^ "No. 36994". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 March 1945. p. 1544.
  4. ^ "No. 35825". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 December 1942. p. 5496.
  5. ^ "No. 37015". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 April 1945. p. 1824.
  6. ^ "No. 37184". The London Gazette (Supplement). 19 July 1945. p. 3757.
  7. ^ "No. 29651". The London Gazette. 4 July 1916. p. 6617.
  8. ^ "No. 29735". The London Gazette. 5 September 1916. p. 8714.
  9. ^ "No. 30365". The London Gazette. 2 November 1917. p. 11362.
  10. ^ "No. 32185". The London Gazette. 7 January 1921. p. 186.
  11. ^ "No. 34053". The London Gazette. 25 May 1934. p. 3356.
  12. ^ a b c Mead 2007, p. 256.
  13. ^ a b Mead 2007, p. 257.
  14. ^ "No. 36659". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 August 1944. p. 3811.
  15. ^ a b c Mead 2007, p. 258.
  16. ^ "No. 38134". The London Gazette (Supplement). 25 November 1947. p. 5637.
  17. ^ "No. 38471". The London Gazette. 3 December 1948. p. 6306.
  18. ^ "No. 39502". The London Gazette. 28 March 1952. p. 1749.
  19. ^ "No. 39274". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 June 1951. p. 3611.
  20. ^ Orders of Battle.com: Frederick Joseph Loftus-Tottenham.
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