John Acland (British Army officer)

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Major-General Sir John Hugh Bevil Acland, KCB, CBE, DL (26 November 1928 – 17 November 2006) was a senior British Army officer.

Early life

Acland was born on 26 November 1928,[1] the elder son of Peter Acland and Bridget Susan Acland (née Barnett).[2] His younger brother Antony went on to become head of Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service and British Ambassador in Washington.[1] He was educated at Eton College.[1]

Military career

Having attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Acland was commissioned into the Scots Guards as a second lieutenant on 22 December 1948, with seniority from that date. He was given the service number 397794.[3] He was promoted to lieutenant on 22 December 1950.[4] He fought in the Malayan Emergency. He was promoted to captain on 22 December 1954.[5] With his regiment, he was involved in the Cyprus Emergency of 1957.[2] Subsequently he was nominated equerry to Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, a post he held for the next two years.[6]

Acland attended Staff College, Camberley and was promoted to major on 22 December 1961.[7] He then took part in the combats of the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya.[1] Following the Zanzibar Revolution in 1964, he was appointed brigade major of 4th Guards Brigade in the British Army of the Rhine and was promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1967.[6] He became commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards in 1968 and led it in the Northern Ireland riots of August 1969.[2]

After the announcement of the battalion's possible disbandment, he spoke out against it in a letter to The Times, which prompted his senior general to suspend further promotion for a time.[2] Acland was sent to desk work in the Ministry of Defence, responsible for the annual review of the number of major-generals' posts in the British Army.[2] In 1976, he was finally promoted to brigadier and became commander of the land forces in Cyprus.[6] Two years later, he obtained command of the South West District as a major-general.[6] With the end of the Rhodesian Bush War and the establishment of the Republic of Zimbabwe Rhodesia in 1979, Acland was selected commander of the Commonwealth Monitoring Force.[6] His aide-de-camp during this period was Iain Duncan Smith, who would later go on to lead the Conservative Party and hold several cabinet roles. Acland retired from the Army in 1981.

Later life

After retiring from the military, Acland spent his time as director of Allied Vintners, then as chairman of the South West Working Party on Alcohol.[1] Acland was president of The Royal British Legion Devon and sat on the Dartmoor National Park Authority.[2] Having been previously Deputy Lieutenant from 1985, he was appointed Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Devon in 1995.[8]

Personal life

On 12 November 1953, he married the fashion model Myrtle Christian Euing Crawford (1928–2013), daughter of Brigadier Alistair Wardrop Euing Crawford. They had a son and daughter.[8][9]

Honours and decorations

In 1978, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 1980, he was appointed Knight Commander of Order of the Bath.[10]

He was made honorary colonel of the Royal Devon Yeomanry in 1983 and was granted the same rank also of the Exeter University Officer's Training Corps in 1986 and of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry in 1989.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Obituary - Major-General Sir John Acland". The Telegraph. 5 December 2006. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Obituary - Major-General Sir John Acland". The Times Online. 23 November 2006. Retrieved 3 December 2007.
  3. ^ "No. 38535". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 February 1949. pp. 746–747.
  4. ^ "No. 39096". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 December 1950. p. 6380.
  5. ^ "No. 40354". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 December 1954. p. 7210.
  6. ^ a b c d e "AIM25 - ACLAND, Maj Gen Sir John Hugh Bevil (1928-2006)". Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  7. ^ "No. 42545". The London Gazette (Supplement). 19 December 1961. p. 9292.
  8. ^ a b "ThePeerage - Maj-Gen Sir John Hugh Bevil Acland". Retrieved 14 December 2006.
  9. ^ "Lady Acland - obituary". Daily Telegraph. 26 December 2013.
  10. ^ "No. 48212". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 1980. p. 2.
Military offices
Preceded by
The Lord Clifford of Chudleigh
Honorary Colonel of the Royal Devon Yeomanry
Succeeded by
Sir John Waters
Preceded by
Hon. James Ian Morrison
Honorary Colonel of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry
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