WORLD-OBITS-L ArchivesArchiver > WORLD-OBITS > 2007-02 > 1172318911
From: "Peter McCrae" <>
Subject: [W-OBITS] HARRINGTON: Charles Henry Pepys Harrington 13/2/2007
Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2007 04:08:31 -0800
General Sir Charles Harington
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 20/02/2007
General Sir Charles Harington, who has died aged 96, was C-in-C Middle East
from 1963 to 1965; an inspirational commander, he won an MC with the British
Expeditionary Force in 1940 and a DSO in Normandy.
In 1963 Harington was appointed C-in-C of the tri-service Middle East
command with responsibility for the security of British interests over an
area ranging from the Arabian Gulf to East Africa. Kenya, Tanganyika (now
Tanzania) and Uganda had recently gained their independence, and mutinies in
the battalions of the former King's African Rifles led to appeals for
military support from those governments. Harington reacted quickly and, in
operations involving all three services, order was restored.
He was next confronted by trouble emanating from dissident tribesmen of the
Western Aden Protectorate who were raiding the road connecting Aden with the
garrison town of Dhala. A combined operation by British and Federal forces
ended the revolt, but these counter-insurgency measures so close to Aden
brought extremist groups to the very doorstep. Further unrest followed,
which led to the imposition of direct rule and the eventual withdrawal from
the colony and the protectorates.
Charles Henry Pepys Harington, the son of Lieutenant-Colonel HH Harington,
an officer in the Indian Army, was born on May 5 1910 at Tunbridge Wells.
His father was killed in Mesopotamia in 1916, and young Charles and his two
sisters were brought up by their mother. Their nanny was very strict, and
when the boy played truant from school his mother used to hide him behind
the sofa with enough sweets to last the day.
He was educated at Malvern before attending RMC Sandhurst and was then
commissioned into the 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment. An outstanding athlete, he
held the record for the Army 440 hurdles and captained the 2nd Battalion's
athletics team to victory in the Army Inter-Unit Team Athletic Championship
in 1937, 1938 and 1939.
In May 1940, in the withdrawal from the River Dyle, Harington was in command
of a company of the 2nd Battalion which, together with the 13th/18th Royal
Hussars and the 21st Anti-Tank Regiment RA, was acting as the rearguard to
the division. He was awarded an MC. The citation paid tribute to the skill
and coolness with which he handled the withdrawal and stated that he
inflicted many casualties on the enemy for the loss of only one section.
In March 1944, after a number of staff appointments, Harington took command
of the 1st Battalion the Manchester Regiment. It was so short of training
that it had been reported unfit for war, but within a few months he had
converted 1st Manchesters into a first-rate fighting unit. In Normandy the
battalion, while deployed for several weeks in a salient which was subject
to constant mortar fire, supported six major attacks and acquitted itself
with great distinction. The citation for Harington's DSO stated that he was
always in the forward areas inspiring his men wherever the fire was
At the end of the war Harington was GSO1 at HQ 53rd (Welsh) Division. After
a spell as an instructor at Staff College he was appointed to the staff of
the British Military Mission in Greece and then took command of the 1st
Battalion Parachute Regiment.
This was followed by a move to the War Office as military assistant to the
Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Field Marshal Viscount Slim, and then
to his successor, General Sir John (later Field Marshal Lord) Harding. In
1955 Harington commanded 49th Infantry Brigade in Kenya during the Mau Mau
emergency and was successively commandant of the School of Infantry, GOC 3rd
Division and commandant of the Staff College.
On his return from Aden Harington was appointed Deputy Chief of the Imperial
General Staff. Following promotion to general in 1968 he was made Chief of
Personnel and Logistics in the MoD, where he was closely involved in
negotiations for the introduction of a proper military salary for
servicemen. He retired from the Army in 1971.
Possessed of great good looks, wit and charm as well as the gift of getting
on with people from all backgrounds, Harington was also modest and
self-effacing; he detested any sort of pomposity. In Cornwall, where the
family had a cottage, he was a keen sailor and active in his local
community. Every year he took part in the annual carnival and, aged 96, in
full pirate make-up and costume, he performed the floral dance behind the
silver band down the main street of the village.
He restored rocking horses and pictures and, as someone who admired skills
of every kind, talked to blacksmiths, boat builders, gardeners and other
craftsmen about their work. He had an indomitable sense of humour. Two days
before he died, his doctor called to ask whether there was anything he could
do to help. "Yes," replied the general. "You can make me laugh."
Harington was ADC (General) to the Queen from 1969 to 1971; Colonel of the
Cheshire Regiment from 1962 to 1968; president of the Combined Cadet Force
Association from 1971 to 1980; chairman of the Governors of the Royal Star
and Garter Home from 1972 to 1980; and president of the Milocarian
(Tri-Service) Athletic Club from 1966 to 1999.
He was president of the Hurlingham Club for 25 years, president of the
Brunswick Boys' Club in Fulham and vice-president of the Battersea Dogs'
He was appointed CBE in 1957, knighted in 1964 and appointed GCB in 1969.
Charles Harington died on February 13. He married, in 1942, Victoire Marion
Williams-Freeman. She predeceased him, and he is survived by a son and two
|[W-OBITS] HARRINGTON: Charles Henry Pepys Harrington 13/2/2007 by "Peter McCrae" <>|