Sir William Duthie Morgan
Sir William Duthie Morgan
|Born||15 December 1891|
|Died||13 May 1977 (aged 85)|
|Years of service||1913-1950|
|Commands held||10th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery|
55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division
Mediterranean Theater of Operations
|Battles/wars||First World War|
Second World War
|Awards||Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath|
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order
Mentioned in dispatches (5)
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Morgan, he was the son of Alexander MorganFRSE and his wife Isobel Duthie. The family initially lived at 63 Warrender Park Road in the Marchmont district then moved to 1 Midmar Gardens in the south-west.
William was educated at George Watson's College and entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich and was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the British Army's Royal Artillery in January 1913. He served in the First World War, winning the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) at the Battle of Le Cateau in 1914 and later the Military Cross and was mentioned in dispatches four times throughout the war.
During the interwar period his postings included active service in Waziristan and a period as a General Staff Officer Grade 3 (GSO3) at the War Office. He attended the Staff College, Camberley from 1925 to 1926, where his fellow students included Ronald Scobie, Frank Messervy, Raymond Briggs, Eric Harrison, Henry Willcox, Francis Tuker, John Swayne and Ralph Deedes. In 1929 he was appointed military attaché at the British Embassy in Budapest, Hungary where he remained until 1931. In 1933 he was posted as a major to the 19th Field Brigade, Royal Artillery in Bordon and in 1934 be became Chief Instructor at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich.
In the Second World War, Morgan (nicknamed "Monkey") initially commanded the 10th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and then became the senior staff officer (GSO1) with the 1st Infantry Division in France. Back in the United Kingdom he was appointed to the rank of temporary brigadier to be Brigadier General Staff (BGS) of I Corps. Having had his permanent rank advanced to full colonel in May 1941 (with seniority back dated to 1939), he was appointed acting major general and appointed General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division in June. In October 1941 he was injured and was forced to relinquish this appointment and revert to the rank of colonel on full pay.
Returned to fitness, in September 1942 Morgan was appointed an acting lieutenant general to be Chief of the General Staff for Home Forces. When British land forces were reorganised in July 1943 to create the 21st Army Group for the planned invasion of northwest Europe, Morgan became Chief of Staff of the new army group. His rank was upgraded to temporary lieutenant-general in September 1943 and he was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the 1944 New Year's honours list.
In February 1944 he was made General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) for Southern Command. While still appointed a temporary lieutenant general, Morgan's permanent rank was advanced to major general in May 1944. In March 1945 he became Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander in the Mediterranean Theatre, Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander. In May 1945, he accepted the surrender of all Axis forces on the Italian Front. In September 1945 he was appointed Deputy Supreme Allied Commander for the Mediterranean Theatre and then in October succeeded Alexander as the Supreme Allied Commander. Also in October he was made Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. The Morgan Line, which at one time demarcated the boundary between Italy and Yugoslavia, was named after him.
In 1947 Morgan was made Commander of the British Army Staff in Washington, D.C. and Army member of the British Joint Staff Mission to the United States. In this capacity Morgan was offered access to the atomic bomb by General Dwight D. Eisenhower as an incentive to persuade Britain to give up its own programme. His knighthood was advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in the 1949 New Year Honours and he retired from the British Army in June 1950.
| GOC 55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division
June - October 1941
Sir Charles Loyd
| GOC-in-C Southern Command
Sir Sidney Kirkman