George Kitching

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General George Kitching.

Major-General George Kitching (1910–1999) CBE, DSO, CD was a senior Canadian Army officer who saw active service in World War II.

George Kitching was born on 9 September 1910 in Guangzhou (Canton), China.[1] He died on 15 June 1999 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.[2] He was the guest of Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld a couple of days before when he fell ill. He never recovered.[3]

Kitching got his military training at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst in the United Kingdom. The British Army gave him several postings in Asia, including Singapore. In 1938 he resigned.

In 1939 he joined the Canadian Army. He was appointed to several position before attending Staff College, Camberley to become a senior officer. Again he held several positions, mainly at the staff of Headquarters 1st Canadian Division and Headquarters I Canadian Corps, before he got his first command in August 1942. Within a few months he was back at the Headquarters of the 1st Canadian Division for the preparations of the invasions of Sicily and Italy. In November 1943 he was promoted to brigadier to command the 11th Canadian Infantry Brigade, followed by the 4th Canadian Armoured Division.

Sacking

Kitching brought the division to Normandy where they were involved in the battle around the Falaise Pocket, in the final stages of the Battle of Normandy. According to the historian Angelo Caravaggio, Kitching was then victimized for the poor performance of the division in Normandy. Caravaggio claims that essential contemporary sources were altered after the sacking of Kitching and are therefore unreliable.[4] To him it seemed that Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds, commanding II Canadian Corps, stripped his subcommanders from authority,[5] did not take the lack of experience in account and expected unrealistic results.[6] Kitching could hardly command his own division due to the constant interference from Simonds.[7][8] Caravaggio comes to the conclusion that Kitching and his inexperienced division performed very well under the difficult circumstances and confusing orders they had to work in. He claims that Simonds is the only one to blame for the late closure of the Falaise Pocket.[9]

The end result of the battle was that Kitching was demoted to brigadier and send off to command a training unit. Charles Foulkes, commander of I Canadian Corps, had more confidence in his abilities and brought him in as Brigadier, General Staff. He was involved in all operations of the I Canadian Corps until the surrender of the German Forces in the Netherlands.[10]

After the war he stayed in the military till 1965. He held in that time positions like Quartermaster General and Director General of Army Personnel. In 1956 he was promoted to major-general for the second time in his career.

Military senior officer positions held

From To Unit Role Rank
01-08-1942 13-12-1942 The Edmonton Regiment (1 Canadian Infantry Division) Officer Commanding Lieutenant-Colonel
14-12-1942 30-10-1943 1 Canadian Infantry Division HQ General Staff Officer 1 Lieutenant-Colonel
01-11-1943 13-02-1944 11 Canadian Infantry Brigade Officer Commanding Brigadier
01-03-1944 21-08-1944 4 Canadian Armoured Division General Officer Commanding Major-General
29-08-1944 23-10-1944 13 Canadian Infantry Brigade Officer Commanding Brigadier
12-11-1944 01-07-1945 I Canadian Corps Brigadier General Staff Brigadier

Trivia

Books

  • Mud and Green Fields: The Memoirs of Major-General George Kitching (1986)

Notes

  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica
  3. ^ Major-general George Kitching, CBE, DSO, CD
  4. ^ A Re-evaluation of Generalship Archived 2012-10-04 at the Wayback Machine., p. 2
  5. ^ A Re-evaluation of Generalship Archived 2012-10-04 at the Wayback Machine., p. 5, 6
  6. ^ A Re-evaluation of Generalship Archived 2012-10-04 at the Wayback Machine., p. 4
  7. ^ A Re-evaluation of Generalship Archived 2012-10-04 at the Wayback Machine., p. 3
  8. ^ A Re-evaluation of Generalship Archived 2012-10-04 at the Wayback Machine., p. 4/5
  9. ^ A Re-evaluation of Generalship Archived 2012-10-04 at the Wayback Machine., p. 14
  10. ^ See the video.
  11. ^ History of the Board

External links

  • Major-general George Kitching, CBE, DSO, CD
  • Major-General George Kitching
  • Video in memory of major-general Kitching on YouTube
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