Edwin Noel Westby Bramall

Edwin Noel Westby Bramall

b: 18 DEC 1923
d: 12 NOV 2019
King\'s College London
Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives

Survey of the Papers of Senior UK Defence Personnel, 1900-1975
BRAMALL, Sir Edwin Noel Westby (born 1923), Baron Bramall of Bushfield, Hampshire, Field Marshal
Service biography
Commissioned, King\'s Royal Rifle Corps 1943; World War II 1943-1945; North West Europe 1944-1945; Allied Occupation of Japan 1946-1947; Instructor, Infantry School 1949-1951; Staff College 1952; Middle East 1953-1958; Instructor, Army Staff College 1958-1961; Staff of AF Louis (Francis Albert Victor) Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Ministry of Defence reorganisation 1963-1964; Commanding Officer, 2 Green Jackets, King\'s Royal Rifle Corps, Malaya during Indonesian confrontation 1965-1966; Commander, 5 Airportable Bde 1967-1969; Imperial Defence College 1970; General Officer Commanding, 1 Div British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) 1972-1973; Commander, British Forces in Hong Kong 1973-1976; Commander-in-Chief, UK Land Forces 1976-1978; Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (Personnel and Logistics) 1978-1979; Chief of General Staff 1979-1982; Chief of Defence Staff 1982-1985; retired 1985; Col Commandant, 3 Bn Royal Green Jackets 1973-1984; Col 2 Gurkhas 1976-1986

BIRMINGHAM UNIVERSITY INFORMATION SERVICES, SPECIAL COLLECTIONS DEPARTMENT: The papers of (Robert) Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, include correspondence with Bramall 1963-1965 (ref: AP 24/7)

Falklands War, 1982 - Main commanders: Defence Staff, Whitehall, London:
Admiral of the Fleet Sir (later Baron) Terence Lewin, Chief of the Defence Staff,
Admiral Sir Henry Leach, Royal Navy,
General Sir Edwin Bramall, Army,
Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Beetham, Royal Air Force

Cuttings in EIR-J\'s red-covered photo album/scrapbook:

From The Daily Mail, 30 April 1940:

"Eton boy of 16 in Academy:

Varnishing day at the Royal Academy Exhibition yesterday brought an Eton schoolboy of 16 and a seasoned artist of 81 to the galleries of Burlington House to see their pictures hung for the first time..... Young Bramall couldn\'t believe his eyes last Friday when the Academy sent him a blue ticket, admitting him to varnishing day. Yesterday he drove up with his parents, Major E.H., and Mrs Bramall, of Sloane Square, S.W........ (His mother said) "Edwin did both pictures as holiday tasks, one when he was 15. The one of Sloane Square, painted from his bedroom window, nearly got thrown in the dustbin. He said it was not good enough to take back to Mr Wilfred Blunt, his art master..... [who was found long afterwards to be a master spy for Russia]
Edwin likes painting but does not take it seriously as he wants to be a doctor"

From an undated cutting:

Chief of Defence Staff hands over the reins:

"At noon yesterday Field Marshal Sir Edwin Bramall, 61, Chief of the Defence Staff, left the Defence Ministry for the last time and stepped into retirement after 43 years of service. "I\'m ready to hand over the reins," he said. "I\'ve had a long innings, but I\'m going to miss all this." The Field Marshal was commissioned into the 60th Rifles - The King\'s Royal Rifle Corps. He won a Military Cross on the D-Day beaches of Normandy. He served in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan, in the Middle East and in the Malayan and Borneo Campaigns. With his retirement, the last remaining member of the Forces to have fought in the 1939-45 War is Gen. Sir Michael Gow, Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies. He retires in March.

Falklands role

The Field Marshal\'s commands included 2nd Green Jackets; 1st Division in BAOR; and British Forces Hongkong. Promoted to full General in 1976, he became C-in-C United Kingdom Land Forces at Wilton, Salisbury, before taking over as Chief of the General Staff, an appointment he held during the Falklands campaign. The Field Marshal has been Chief of the Defence Staff for three years, and now hands over to Adml of the Fleet Sir John Fieldhouse.

Sir Edwin\'s exceptional knowledge of the Defence Ministry stems from the early 1960s when, working for the then Chief of the Defence Staff, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, he had special responsibility concerning the re-organisation of the Ministry. He has, of cours, seen through the re-organisation of the past year. As he left, Sir Edwin said that although the past years have been very good, one should never be complacent. Service pay and allowances are always a worry, and are never over-generous. It\'s a matter of holding the line. "One is grateful for pay comparability. This is absolutely vital. The last pay rise only came in the nick of time. We had slipped back." "Certainly the exigencies of the Service are very hard today. For instance, family separation of six months a year, and sub-mariners spending months on end under the sea, are very demanding. We badly need to update some of our allowances."

Best advice

Turning to broader defence issues, the Field Marshal\'s view is that "ultimately the people of a country get the defence the people require it to have." The professionals make the best out of what emerges and the job of the Chiefs of Staff is to give their best advice. He is proud of Britain\'s defence forces. "They give great value for money and, with their NATO contribution, preserve peace with honour in Europe. In a low-key inexpensive way, they also make Britain\'s foreign policy more dynamic overseas."

Sir Edwin is an accomplished artist, an active trustee of the Imperial War Museum, Col of 2nd King Edward VII\'s Own Goorkhas (The Sirmoor Rifles) and Col Cmdt of the Special Air Service."

From The Sunday Telegraph, April 16th 2000 page 36:

"After a distinguished innings as Chief of the Defence Staff and Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, Field Marshall Lord Bramall has found a new vocation at the age of 76: as a tour guide. Lord Bramall has been signed up by the Ultimate Travel Company to usher British tourists around Berlin, hopefully amusing them along the way with nuggets from his personal knowledge of such landmarks as Checkpoint Charlie. "I was in a garrison in Berlin during the Cold War and I\'ve got a few stories to tell," says Bramall. "But I\'m sure all the listeners will be bored stiff and be wanting to head off to restaurants. So I\'ll keep my lectures short." Fortunately the Knight of the Garter is unlikely to be heckled by hoi polloi as he escorts his charges around the city. "Our customers are pretty like-minded," says a spokeswoman for his employers. "They\'re all upper-class Brits and very civilised.""

My uncle, J A C Pearce, who had known Dwin for many years, described him as a remarkable man of many talents. When he was young Uncle Jack saw him give a skating demonstration, impeccably dressed and very well done. He seemed to be able to turn his hand to anything. At present (in 2002) he is Chairman of the Travellers Club, a very top knot but previously dowdy club next door to The Atheneum (I think he said "the Atheneum selects members on the basis of merit, the Travellers on the basis of rank"). Dwin has shaken them up and made them a good deal more efficient. Uncle Jack has been offered membership by Dwin, said he thought he was a borderline case! I congratulated him at some point on being made Field Marshall and he said \'Oh, Buggins turn\'.

His correspondence with Lord Avon (Anthony Eden) in 1963-65 is held at the University of Birmingham with the Avon papers.

A biography has been published: "The Authorised Biography of Field Marshal the Lord Bramall", by Michael Tillotson - Sutton Publishing, £19.99. (see Times, 4 August 2005)

From The Guardian 12th November 2019 (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/nov/12/field-marshal-lord-bramall-obituary):

Lord Edwin Noel Westby Bramall (18 December 1923 - ), Commander-in-Chief, UK Land Forces from 1976 to 1978, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff from 1978 to 1979, and Chief of the General Staff from 1979 to 1982 (during the Falklands War).

Lord Bramall, a former head of the British armed forces and a D-day veteran, has died at the age of 95.

Field Marshal Edwin Noel Westby Bramall, an Old Etonian, served in nearly all major UK military campaigns between the second world war and 1985, when he retired from the military.

The decorated veteran took part in the Normandy landings in June 1944 and was chief of the defence staff from 1982 until 1985. He went on to have a 26-year career in the House of Lords, retiring in 2013.

The former defence secretary Lord Heseltine, whose tenure coincided with when Bramall was head of the armed forces, called him an “outstanding soldier”.

Bramall served as the president of the historic Marylebone cricket club in 1988 and in 1997 was made an honorary life vice-president of the club, which is based at Lord’s cricket ground.

The former defence minister Tobias Ellwood paid tribute to Bramall on Twitter. He tweeted: “An inspirational leader, fellow Green Jacket and mentor who landed on the Normandy beaches, received an MC in Holland a year later, served in our special forces, commanded the British army and then the entire armed forces.”

Bramall and his wife lived at Bulford Manor in Wiltshire during his time as head of the army. The couple, who married in 1949, had two children.
  • 18 DEC 1923 - Birth -
  • 12 NOV 2019 - Death -
Edwin Noel Westby Bramall
18 DEC 1923 - 12 NOV 2019
Katherine Louisa Skinner
17 OCT 1843 - 1920
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Edmund Bramall , Major
Marriageto Bryda (Katherine Bridget) Westby
PARENT (F) Bryda (Katherine Bridget) Westby
Birth18 AUG 1887
Marriageto Edmund Bramall , Major
FatherAshley George Westby
MotherKatherine Louisa Skinner
MErnest Ashley Bramall , Sir
Birth6 JAN 1916Hove, Sussex
Death10 FEB 1999London, England
Marriage1939to Margaret Taylor at (Marriage dissolved 1950)
Marriage1950to Germaine Margaret Bloch
MEdwin Noel Westby Bramall
Birth18 DEC 1923
Death12 NOV 2019
Marriageto Avril Vernon
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Edwin Noel Westby Bramall
Birth18 DEC 1923
Death12 NOV 2019
Marriageto Avril Vernon
FatherEdmund Bramall , Major
MotherBryda (Katherine Bridget) Westby
PARENT (F) Avril Vernon
Marriageto Edwin Noel Westby Bramall
Marriageto Dwin
Marriageto Janet
Descendancy Chart
Edwin Noel Westby Bramall b: 18 DEC 1923 d: 12 NOV 2019