Brigadier Hugh Kindersley

Brigadier Hugh Kindersley

Brigadier The Honourable Hugh Kenyon Molesworth Kindersley


Unit : Headquarters, 6th Airlanding Brigade

Army No. : 61108

Awards : Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Military Cross


Hugh Kindersley was born in Knightsbridge, London on the 7th May 1899, the son of Robert Molesworth Kindersley, 1st Baron Kindersley GBE (1871-1954) and Gladys Margaret Beadle. He was educated at Eton College, commissioned into the Scots Guards (Special Reserve) in 1917, and awarded the Military Cross for his actions in France in 1918. His citation reads:


For great gallantry and able leadership during October 11th, 12th and 13th, 1918. When sent by night to support the advance to the railway line west of St. Python, his platoon captured an obstinately defended machinegun post. Next morning, when leading two platoons in the western and southern half of the village, he handled the house to house fighting admirably. The ground was won and held with few casualties largely through his work. His gallant conduct was a fine example to all ranks.


At the outbreak of the Second World War he rejoined the Scots Guards, later commanding one of their tank battalions in the Guards Armoured Division. Promoted to Brigadier in May 1943, Hugh Kindersley was given command of the 6th Airlanding Brigade. He not only qualified as a glider pilot in July 1943, but also completed parachute course 74, carrying out two descents from a balloon and two descents from an aircraft into water after two and a half days of ground training. His instructor commented, "He was a good average performer - very cool and calm and appeared to enjoy the course immensely. He was greatly respected by all."


During the planning for the Normandy landings, it was Brigadier Kindersley who recommended that the coup-de-main assault on the Pegasus and Horsa bridges should be carried out by Major John Howard and his "D" Company of the 2nd Ox and Bucks Light Infantry. Although the 6th Airlanding Brigade were not to arrive in strength in Normandy until the Second Lift on the evening of the 6th June, Kindersley accompanied Divisional Headquarters with the first wave of gliders, landing near Ranville at 03:30.


During the night on the 12th June, the Battle of Breville began, preceded by a heavy artillery bombardment. Some of these shells fell short, and Brigadier Kindersley, who had come forward to observe the attack, was wounded, along with Brigadier The Lord Lovat, and Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson of the 12th Battalion who was killed. Kindersley was evacuated to England and command of the 6th Airlanding Brigade passed to Brigadier Flavell.


Kindersley was appointed MBE in 1941 and CBE in 1945. His citation for the latter reads:


For outstanding skill and devotion to duty. The operations for securing the bridges over the River Orne were the first in which the employment of a large scale glider borne force had so far been contemplated. In this operation infantry, artillery, anti-tank guns, tanks and transport were all carried in gliders. To Brigadier Kindersley, as the Commander of the Airlanding (glider borne) element of the division, fell the responsibility for the detailed planning for this part of the operation. Thanks to his forethought, his skill, the soundness of his judgement, and his unbounded energy this great undertaking was successfully accomplished.


He was chairman of the Officers Association from 1946 to 1956, and Honorary Colonel of 10th Parachute Battalion from 1947 to 1952. He was High Sheriff of London in 1951, succeeded his father as second baron in 1954, and appointed Commander, Royal Order of St Olav of Norway in 1958. He lived in Leigh, near Tonbridge, Kent. He was succeeded in the barony by his son, Robert Hugh Molesworth Kindersley.


In his civilian career, Kindersley was a managing director of Lazard Brothers, London from 1927 to 1964, Chairman from 1953, and a director from 1965 to 1971. During his service at Lazard, he was also a director of the Bank of England from 1947 to 1967, Chairman of Royal Exchange Assurance from 1955 to 1967, and Chairman of Rolls-Royce Limited from 1956 to 1968.


He died on the 6th October 1976.


My thanks to Bob Hilton for this account.


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