Powell, Geoffrey (Stewart) 1914-2005
POWELL, Geoffrey (Stewart) 1914-2005
OBITUARY NOTICE— See index for CA sketch: Born December 25, 1914, in Scarborough, England; died January 5, 2005. Military leader and author. Powell was a World War II hero and career British Army officer who later became known for writing military histories. He attended Scarborough College before working briefly at a real estate company and then enlisting in the Army. He was commissioned in the 2nd Battalion Green Howards as a subaltern in 1939, just as World War II was starting. Next, he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion in India, and then the 151 British Parachute Battalion, which later became the 156 Parachute Battalion. Promoted to major and put in command of C Company, he served in the Middle East and Tunisia. His greatest moment came in September of 1944 during the Battle of Arnhem. During heavy fighting in which the Allies were suffering major casualties against the Germans, both the commander and second-in-command of his unit were killed. Powell found himself in command of a dwindling and hungry battalion battling a fierce opponent. For almost a week, he was able to hold his unit together as they defended the British forces' perimeter before evacuating after they were given the command to retreat. With the battle over, his commanders agreed that it had only been Powell's bravery and solid leadership that had kept his men from being overcome and he was awarded the Military Cross for his actions. After the war, Powell decided to stay in the army. He attended Staff College, Camberley, and then served in Java and Malaya in charge of the 49th Indian Infantry Brigade. In 1954 he returned to his old unit, the Green Howards and Company C, serving first in the Panama Canal Zone and then in Cyprus. Promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1955, he was assigned to Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer's planning staff. Two years later, he was sent to Kenya to command the 11th Battalion, and in 1962 he was made brigade colonel of the Yorkshire Brigade. In 1964 he retired from the service, passed his Civil Service exam, and entered a job in the Department of Education. Soon, however, he accepted a job with the MI5 (the British Security Service). For twelve years he worked on security policy and counter-espionage for the government, retiring in 1977. He then opened the Campden Bookshop in Chipping Campden and was a cofounder of the Campden and District Archaeological and History Society. Powell also continued a writing career that had begun in 1968 with the publication of his first book, The Green Howards (1968; new revised edition, 1992), which was also published as The Historyof the Green Howards: Three Hundred Years of Service in 2002. Other books by Powell include The Devil's Birthday: The Bridges to Arnhem, 1944 (1984; revised edition, 2001), Buller: A Scapegoat?: A Life of General Sir Redvers Buller, 1839-1908 (1994), and a book written under the pen name Tom Angus, Men at Arnhem (1976; revised edition, 1998).
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Daily Telegraph (London, England), February 14, 2005.
Time (London, England), January 10, 2005, p. 59.