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GENERAL DE BURGH - DISTINGUISHED BRITISH SOLIDER

Leinster Leader, July 24th 1948

General De Burgh

Distinguished British Solider

Writing under the heading of “An Irishman’s Diary” in the “Irish Times,” Nichevo states:-
This is a queer country. It is only occasionally, when something as it were, hits you in the face that you begin to realise the changes that have taken place here during the last few years. If anybody had told me ten years ago that a full General of the British Army would be contributing to “An Cosantoir,” the official journal of the Irish Army. I should have been tempted to ring up my friend, Dr. John Dunne, of Grangegorman with a request that he should examine the informant: but the thing actually has happened. In the current issue of “An Cosantoir”-which by the way I invariably read almost from cover to cover, as it is extremely well edited and turned out – there is an article on “Indian Army in Retrospect” by General Sir Eric de Burgh, K.C.B., D.S.O., O.B.E. who is living at present near Naas, in the County of Kildare.

Military Career

General de Burgh had had a remarkable career as a soldier. He began as a young officer in the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers (Militia) and went through his preliminary training at the depot at Naas. Then he went to South Africa, where he served in the war in 1902, gaining the Queen’s Medal with four clasps. In the first World War he was mentioned in dispatches and was awarded the D.S.O. In 1919 he was in Afghanistan and the North-West Frontier, went thence to Waziristan, where he was mentioned again in dispatches and awarded the O.B.E., gaining a further “Mention” in 1937. From 1939 to 1941 he was Chief of Staff of the Indian Army, and was recognised generally as one of the most brilliant officers in the King’s service. Actually, when the famous Eighth Army was being formed, I believe that it was a toss up whether General De Burgh, or the legendary “Monty” should command it. It is interesting speculation to ponder what might have happened if the Kildare man had won the toss!
General de Burgh is the only full General resident in Ireland. We have quite a few Major-Generals, including the ageless Sir William Hickle and, I have an idea that there is at least one Lieutenant General: but Sir Eric is the only top-notcher, and I congratulate the Editor of “An Cosantoir” on getting such an acknowledged expert to talk about the now defunct Indian Army in the columns of his admirable little publication.

This article which featured in the Leinster Leader, July 24, 1948 reproduces the previous weeks "An Irishman's Diary" from the Irish Times where the writer Nichevo remarks on the change in mindset that allows a General of the British Army contribute to "An Cosantoir," the official journal of the Irish Army.


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