Brigadier H C Illing CBE,MC (1920 – 2010)
Courageous leader from the D-Day landings to the Cold War
Harry Illing was born in London and educated at Alleyn's School, College of God's Gift, Dulwich.
1939 joined the TA as a private soldier in the Artists' Rifles and was commissioned in December.
Mid-1940 was posted to the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
June 1944 Illing was OC A Coy where he led his Company with great distinction and was awarded a 3rd Division Commendation. At the 1st Battle of Lebisey up against the fanatical Panzer Grenadiers of 21st Panzer Division he was twice wounded and was awarded an MC for his outstanding bravery throughout. After treatment in hospital, he was back with the 2nd Battalion some 3 months later, this time as Adjutant and then to the Command of A Coy again.
The Battalion by this time had fought its way out of Normandy and into Northwest Europe. In doing so, it had been involved in heavy fighting throughout. On the approach to Bremen, the battalion was involved in a very tough battle at Leeste which was defended by the 18th SS Training Battalion - dedicated Nazi youth led by fanatical SS Officers and men. After a vicious close-quarter battle, the battalion triumphed, and Harry Illing gained a bar to his MC. He had the distinction of this being awarded to him in the field by FM The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein.
Post 1945 With the end of the War in Europe the 2nd Battalion was posted to Palestine and then Egypt. Harry Illing accompanied them, still as Coy Comd, until 1947 he was posted as Adjt to the 7th Bn Royal Warwickshire Regt (TA) with its Bn HQ in Coventry. He was the sole regular officer in the battalion and was responsible for reforming a disbanded battalion.
1950 He attended the Staff College followed by various staff appointments in Cyprus and Egypt. Spring 1953 he was posted to 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regt, again as OC 'A' Coy and remained with the Battalion throughout its time in Korea with the British Commonwealth Division.
1954 he was posted to a staff appointment in Malaya for 2 years during which he was mentioned in Despatches and appointed an honorary ADC to the High Commissioner. This was followed by attendance at the Joint Services Staff College, a spell as Depot Commander at Budbrooke Barracks and a few months as a student at the Royal Military College of Science at Shrivenham.
1959 he was back commanding a company for the 1st Bn this time in Aden and thence to Hong Kong.
1960 he moved to the Ministry of Defence in London as a staff officer in Operations Branch.
August 1962 The highlight of his career when he was appointed to command the 1st Battalion the Royal Warwickshire Regt, then stationed in Hameln on the River Weser in West Germany. During his tour it became 1st Bn The Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers.
1965 It was a happy and confident battalion that he left to go to the Ministry of Defence for another staff appt.
1967 he moved to Germany, this time as Chief of Staff HQ 2 Division. After which a short spell in Aden as Force Comd.
1968 he was appointed to command 51 Bde in Hong Kong, on promotion to Brigadier, where he remained for 3 yrs until
1971 he returned to Germany in a Brigadier's appointment on the staff of the C in C British Army of the Rhine after which he was appointed CBE. His last appointment as a serving officer was as Commander Rhine Area, based in Dusseldorf.
1975 He retired from the Army but continued as Dep Col Warwickshire, RRF, to which he had been appointed in 1974, until 1981.
1982 – 85 Finally, he was the Hon Col Warwickshire Cadets RRF.