Early in 1940 Germany was on the move and the British rightly figured that Germany was aiming an invasion force at their islands. Prime Minister Churchill formed a Home Defence Executive on 27 May 1940 and assigned General Sir Edmund Ironside as the Commander-in-Chief Home Forces. His mandate was to organize the defense of Britain. Although his planning included many in-depth defense measures and would, in all probability, have stopped the Nazis had they invaded the island, there were not enough men and even fewer supplies to implement his plans.
Not satisfied with Ironside’s progress, Churchill relieved him and appointed General Alan Francis Brooke (1883-1963), later Lord Alanbrooke, in his place after only two months. The final defense of the British Isles was carried out by Brooke with war supplies provided by the US that arrived, coincidently, just after he took over the job. He also implemented nearly every plan that Ironside had previously outlined. Would Ironside have done as well if he had received that same assistance?
That’s what I’d like to ask General Sir Edmund Ironside (6 May 1880 - 22 September 1959). He was, throughout his career, the right man in the right job at the wrong time. Twice he was transferred to assignments that were acknowledged as dead-end positions leading only to retirement. Twice he was recalled to other, more important positions.
The final time he called it quits. Given a peerage, he became Baron Ironside, and he retired to his home in Norfolk to write and never again saw any military service.