John Barnes, Historian

Lieutenant General Sir Cyril Coleman KCB CMG DSO OBE

Cyril Frederick Charles Coleman was born in Plymouth in 1903, the son of A.E.Coleman of Downderry, Cornwall. He was educated at Plymouth College and at RMC Sandhurst. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in The Welch Regiment in 1923, with whom he served in China, Malaya and India. He was adjutant of the 2nd Battalion 1932-35. He commanded the 4th battalion 1941-44 and took over as acting commanding officer of 160 Brigade in 1943. He commanded the Brigade 1944-46, leading it throughout the campaign in NW Europe from Normandy very nearly to the borders of Denmark by way of Falaise, Antwerp, Nijmegen, S'Hertogenbosch, Wessem, the Ardennes, the Reichswald, the Rhine, the Weser and Hamburg, and winning the DSO in 1945. He received the Militaire Willemsorde in 1947. As his Brigade Major wrote after his death, the respect the men of the Brigade had for him "probably gave him as much pleasure and satisfaction as any of his later achievements." Certainly he wrote very warmly of the achievements of 53 Division in his preface to the history of its part in World War II published in 1955, and as its author makes clear, he made a considerable contribution to this account.

In 1945 he briefly served as the acting General Officer Commanding 53 Division. In 1946 he attended Staff College before returning to command 160 Brigade 1947-8. From 1949-51 he was GOC South-Western District and 43 (Wessex) Division. He received the CB in 1950. He took over as GOC Berlin 1951-54 and was awarded the CMG in 1954. From 1954 until 1956 he served as Chief of Staff to the Northern Army Group BAOR in Germany. He was knighted in 1957. His final appointment was as GOC-in-C Eastern Command 1956-59. He was appointed Colonel of The Welch Regiment 1958-65.

Cyril Coleman retired from the army in 1959, but he was appointed to serve as the Lieutenant Governor and C-in-C Guernsey 1964-9.

Coleman played hockey for Wales and was a keen shot. He married Margaret Mary, daughter of Bruce Petrie of Singapore in 1935, who survived him. They had three daughters.

He died on 17 June 1974 in the Cambridge Military Hospital, Aldershot and was buried at St Mary's Church, Bentworth. A memorial service was subsequently held at Llandaff Cathedral on 17 September 1974.