Unit Middlesex Regiment
Service/branch British Army
Education West Downs School
|Years of service 1914–1948|
Allegiance United Kingdom
Name Gerard Bucknall
|Commands held 2nd Battalion, Middlesex Regiment
138th Infantry Brigade
53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division
5th Infantry Division
Northern Ireland District|
Awards Order of the Bath, Military Cross
Similar People Miles Dempsey, Bernard Montgomery - 1st Visco, Otto Weidinger, Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg, Kurt Meyer
Battles and wars World War I, World War II
Lieutenant-General Gerard Corfield Bucknall CB, MC, DL (14 September 1894 – 7 December 1980) was a senior British Army officer who served in both World War I and World War II, where he commanded the 5th Infantry Division and later XXX Corps during the Battle of Normandy in mid-1944.
Educated at West Downs School, Bucknall was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Middlesex Regiment in 1914. During the Great War he served with the 1st Battalion in France and Belgium with some distinction, in particular during the Battle of the Somme in 1916 where he took command of the battalion.
During the interwar period he served with the Egyptian Army (Egypt was then de facto part of the British Empire) and attended the Staff College, Camberley from 1928 to 1929.
He was Commanding Officer (CO) of the 2nd Battalion, Middlesex Regiment by the outbreak of the Second World War, in September 1939, to be succeeded by Brian G. Horrocks (who would later take up another of Bucknall's posts), by the time the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) left for France. He then commanded the 138th Infantry Brigade and was later appointed General Officer Commanding (GOC) 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division in July 1941 and GOC XI Corps in East Anglia in September 1942 before eventually seeing action from April 1943 as Commander of I Corps and then from August 1943 as GOC 5th Infantry Division, in the final stages of the Allied invasion of Sicily. He later led the division during the Allied invasion of Italy and in the early stages of the Italian Campaign.
Bucknall impressed General Bernard L. Montgomery, the 21st Army Group commander, and when he was chosen to command Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy, he appointed Bucknall to command XXX Corps – Bucknall took command in January 1944. However, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) Alan Brooke believed Bucknall to be unsuitable for command at that level. By August 1944 Bucknall was removed from his command, due to the relatively poor performance of XXX Corps (see Operation Perch), to be replaced by Brian Horrocks. Montgomery conceded that it had been a mistake to appoint him and, in November 1944, Bucknall was given command of Northern Ireland, a post which he held until his retirement.
In 1952 he was given the colonelcy of the Middlesex Regiment, a position he held until 1959.