Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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REES , THOMAS WYNFORD (‘ Dagger ’; 1898 - 1959 ), major-general ;

b. in 1898 at Holyhead, Angl. , but spent his early years in Barry, Glam. where his father, T.M. Rees , was pastor of Bethel (Meth.) . He m. 1926 Rosalie , eldest daughter of Sir Charles Innes and had one son ( Peter Rees , M.P. (C) , Dover ), and one daughter. Acknowledged as one of Wales ’ finest soldier s during and between the two world wars, and a distinguished campaigner in Far East battles , he was acclaimed Captor of Mandalay in the Burma war . He was usually known as GeneralDaggerRees and, to his troops, ‘ Pocket Napoleon ’ because of his diminutive height of 5 feet 5 inches, and ‘ Pete ’ because he was always with his men in the front line. He took his nickname, ‘ Dagger ’ from the symbol of his beloved Indian Division . He served in World War 1 ( mentioned in despatches and awarded the M.C. ) under General Allenby fighting the Turks , and as a young officer he won a reputation as a great fighting commander . Welsh -speaking he was also the master of many Indian dialects . Postwar he served in India 1920-37 , and was made C.I.E. in 1931 . In 1939 he was given command of the 3rd Battalion , 6th Rajputana Rifles and on the outbreak of World War II he was sent to Burma where, in 1940 , he was twice wounded and awarded a bar to his D.S.O. and promoted colonel . He commanded the 10th Indian Division in Iraq and North Africa , 1942 , and the 19th. Indian (Dagger) Division in Burma , 1944-45 , being made C.B. in 1945 and promoted major-general in 1947 . He was head of the Military Emergency Staff to the Emergency Committee of Cabinet , Delhi , Sept-Dec. 1947 . Retiring in 1948 he became hon. col. of the 5th Battalion Welch Regiment (T.A.) ; honorary president of the Boys’ Brigade (Wales) ; Deputy Lieutenant for Monmouthshire 1955 ; Civil Defence Controller , Cardiff sub-region of Wales ; honorary LL.D. University of Wales ; chief executive officer and general manager Cwmbrân New Town, Mon. He d. 15 Oct. 1959 .

Sources:

  • Who was who? .

Author:

David Glanville Rosser, M.B.E., (1915-2001), Caernarfon

Published date: 2001