The Full Wiki

More info on Charles Keightley

Charles Keightley: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sir Charles Frederic Keightley
24 June 1901(1901-06-24) – 17 June 1974 (aged 72)
Sir Charles Keightley in 1949
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1921–1957
Rank General
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB),
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE),
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Other work Governor of Gibraltar

General Sir Charles Frederic Keightley, GCB, GBE, DSO (24 June 1901 – 17 June 1974) was a senior officer in the British Army during and following World War II.


Military career

He was born in 1901 and was commissioned into the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards in 1921. In 1938 he was an instructor at the Staff College, Camberley. In 1940, he was appointed as Assistant Adjutant & Quartermaster General of the 1st Armoured Division during that division's deployment to France. On 13 May 1941, he assumed command of the 30th Armoured Brigade on promotion to brigadier. In early 1942, he spent a short time as Commandant of the Royal Armoured Corps Training Establishment. On 21 April 1942, he was promoted major-general and assumed command of the 11th Armoured Division, which was then based in the United Kingdom.

On 19 May 1942, he transferred to the command of the 6th Armoured Division, and commanded that division in the Tunisian campaign and afterwards in Italy. He was made Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) for his services in Tunisia.[1] In December 1943, he swapped commands with Major-General Vyvyan Evelegh the General Officer Commanding 78th Infantry Division which was also serving in the Italian campaign and which became his first infantry command. His success as a commander of both armoured and infantry divisions led to his promotion in August 1944 to lieutenant-general when he was given command of Eighth Army's V Corps in Italy. He commanded this corps during Operation Olive, the offensive on the Gothic Line in the autumn of 1944, and also during the final spring offensive in April 1945, when it took the lead role in forcing the Argenta Gap. The Corps moved into Austria with the surrender of the German Forces and forces that were fighting on the German site.

In East Tyrol and Carinthia, Keightley's army received the surrender of the "Lienz Cossacks" under their leaders Peter Krasnov, Kelech Ghirey, and Andrei Shkuro and the XVth SS Cossack Cavalry Corps under Helmuth von Pannwitz . At the Yalta Conference, the British committed themselves to return Soviet citizens to the Soviet Union. After consulation with Harold Macmillan Keightley proceeded to hand over these prisoners and their families regardless of their nationality, including people with French, German, Yugoslav, or Nansen passports. The prisoners were delivered by deceit and force to SMERSH at Judenburg; many were executed immediately, the remainder sent to the Gulag.[2]

Keightley left Austria and reverted to the rank of major general in 1946 to become the Director of Military Training at the War Office. In 1948, he became the Military Secretary to the Secretary State of War, returning to the rank of lieutenant-general. On 21 September 1949, he assumed command of the British Army of the Rhine in Germany. In August 1951, he became the Commander in Chief, Far East Land Forces in the rank of general. In 1953, he was Commander in Chief Middle East Land Forces, which included the period of the Suez Crisis. Keightley was C-in-C of Operation Musketeer[3]. From 23 November 1947 to 23 November 1957, he was the Colonel of the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards.

He retired from the Army in 1957 and was appointed Governor and Commander in Chief, Gibraltar, a post he held until 1962. On retirement, he held the awards of G.C.B., G.B.E., D.S.O.. He had also been mentioned in dispatches three times and been awarded the Legion of Merit (officer in 1943,[4] and commander in 1947) by the U.S. Government. He died in 1974.

Career summary

  • Commissioned into 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards 1921
  • Instructor at Staff College, Camberley 1938–1940
  • Assistant Adjutant & Quartermaster-General 1st Armoured Division, France 1940
  • Commanding Officer 30th Armoured Brigade 1941
  • Commandant of Royal Armoured Corps Training Establishment 1942
  • General Officer Commanding 11th Armoured Division 1942
  • General Officer Commanding 6th Armoured Division, North Africa 1942–1943
  • General Officer Commanding 78th Infantry Division, Italy 1943–1944
  • General Officer Commanding V Corps, Italy 1944–1945
  • Director of Military Training, War Office 1946–1947
  • Military Secretary to Secretary of State of War 1948
  • Commander in Chief British Army of the Rhine, Germany 1949–1951
  • Commander in Chief Far East Land Forces 1951–1953
  • Commander in Chief Middle East Land Forces 1953–1957
  • Aide-de-Camp General to the Queen 1953–1956
  • Governor & Commander in Chief of Gibraltar 1958–1962


  1. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36120, p. 3521, 3 August 1943. Retrieved on 2008-08-01.
  2. ^ Nikolai Tolstoy (1977). The Secret Betrayal. Charles Scribner's Sons. pp. 150ff, 176ff, 198ff,223ff. ISBN 0-684-15635-0.  
  3. ^ "Blitz in the Desert". Time Magazine. 12 November 1956.,9171,824570-2,00.html. Retrieved 2007-12-01.  
  4. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36125, p. 3579, 6 August, 1943. Retrieved on 2008-08-01.

See also

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Brian Horrocks
Commander-in-Chief of the British Army of the Rhine
Succeeded by
Sir John Harding
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Harold Redman
Governor of Gibraltar
Succeeded by
Sir Alfred Ward


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address