G D Jeffreys


George Darrell Jeffreys was born on 8 Mar 1878, son of a landowner at Burkham, near Alton, Hants. He was educated at Eton and went to Sandhurst before joining the Grenadier Guards in 1897. He served in the Sudan and the Boer War and then had a command at the Guards Depot in 1911. In World War One he was with the BEF at Mons, joining the 2nd battalion in France on 18 Aug 1914 as second in command. After the battle of Villers-Cotterets on 1 Sep 1914 he was temporarily in command until the arrival of Lt-Col Smith in mid-October. He must have had a guardian angel watching over him because during the advance to the Aisne the battalion was in a quarry that was hit by a high explosive shell that killed and wounded 60 officers and men. Major Jeffreys and some of his officers were untouched 'for some unaccountable reason, though they were sitting within a few yards of where it exploded, and men were killed or wounded on either side of them, some of them under cover.'

Lt-Col Smith was killed on 19 May 1915 and Jeffreys took temporary command of the battalion. By September he was a Lieutenant-Colonel in command of the 2nd Battalion but on 26 Oct he was sent to command 35th Brigade. This was short lived as he returned on 18 Nov. On 17 Jan 1916 he was given command of the 58th Brigade and on 12 Dec 1916 put in command of the 1st Guards Brigade. On 22 Sep 1917 he was promoted and given the 19th Division.

After the war he had senior posts with the army of occupation in Germany before being given command of the Brigade of Guards and GOC London in 1920 until 1924. He was promoted to Lieutenant-General in 1930 and made GOC-in-C Southern India from 1932 to 1936. He was ADC to the King between 1936 and 1938, and in the Second World War was honorary Colonel of 48th Searchlight RA Regiment and involved in the Home Guard. He was made Colonel of the Royal Hampshire Regiment on 23 Jan 1945 until the end of 1947. On 8 April 1952 he was appointed Colonel of the Grenadier Guards with the title of Sir George Darrell Jeffreys 1st Baron Jeffreys of Burkham, and held that post until his death in 1960. He was also Tory MP for Petersfield between 1941 and 1951. He married Dorothy, Viscountess Cantelupe, widow of an officer in the West Kent Regiment. They had a son, Christopher who was a captain in the Grenadiers but died in WW2. Sir George died on 19 Dec 1960.


Regimental details | Commanding Officers




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by Stephen Luscombe