Frank Simpson (British Army officer)

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Sir Frank Simpson
Born21 March 1899
Died28 July 1986 (aged 87)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1916–1954
UnitRoyal Engineers
Commands heldWestern Command
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
AwardsKnight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order

General Sir Frank Ernest Wallace Simpson, GBE KCB DSO (21 March 1899 – 28 July 1986) was a senior British Army officer during the 1940s.

Military career[edit]

Born on 21 March 1899, Simpson was educated at Bishop Cotton Boys' School,[1] Bedford School, Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich.[2] He was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1916.[3] He served in World War I in France and Belgium in 1918 and then after the War went to Afghanistan and the North West Frontier of India and attended the Staff College, Camberley from 1931–32.[3]

He also served in World War II initially in France and Belgium with the British Expeditionary Force and was involved in the defence of Arras and then the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940.[3] He became Chief of Staff to General Bernard Law Montgomery in 1940 and then Deputy Director of Military Operations at the War Office in 1942 being promoted to Director of Military Operations in 1943.[3]

After the War he became Assistant Chief of the Imperial General Staff for Operations in 1945 and then Vice Chief of Imperial General Staff in 1946.[3] In this role he fought cut-backs in the size of the Army.[4]

In 1948 he was appointed General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Command and in 1952 he became Commandant of the Imperial Defence College: he retired in 1954.[3] He was made Colonel of the Royal Pioneer Corps from 1950 to 1961.[5]


In retirement he became an advisor to the West Africa Committee, a body formed to promote British business interests in West Africa.[6] He was Governor of the Royal Hospital Chelsea from 1961[7] to 1969.[8]


  1. ^ Bishop Cotton Boys' School Alumni Archived 21 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Who's Who
  3. ^ a b c d e f Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  4. ^ Big wars and small wars: the British army and the lessons of war in the 20th Century By Hew Strachan, Page 69 Routledge, 2006, ISBN 978-0-415-54504-4
  5. ^ "Royal Pioneer Corps". Archived from the original on 5 January 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  6. ^ The business of decolonization: British business strategies in the Gold Coast By S. E. Stockwell, Page 132 Oxford University Press, 2000, ISBN 978-0-19-820848-8
  7. ^ "No. 42366". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 May 1961. p. 3987.
  8. ^ "No. 44885". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 July 1969. p. 6782.
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Archibald Nye
Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff
Succeeded by
Sir Gerald Templer
Preceded by
Sir Brian Horrocks
GOC-in-C Western Command
Succeeded by
Sir Cameron Nicholson
Preceded by
Sir Charles Daniel
Commandant of the Imperial Defence College
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur Sanders
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Kenneth Crawford
Chief Royal Engineer
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Jones
Preceded by
Sir Cameron Nicholson
Governor, Royal Hospital Chelsea
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Jones