Catholic General

The Private Wartime Correspondence of Major-General Sir Edward Pereira, 1914-19

Edward Pereira

A Victorian/Edwardian Guards officer with, for the period, a remarkable amount of extra-regimental active service, Major-General Sir Cecil Edward Pereira KCB, CMG (1869-1942) was educated at the Oratory School, Edgbaston and commissioned into the Coldstream Guards in 1890.
Date Published :
September 2020
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Editor :
Spencer Jones, Michael LoCicero
Illustration :
5 b/w maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781912866144
Pages : 432
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6.15 inches
Stock Status : Available


A Victorian/Edwardian Guards officer and devout Roman Catholic with, for the period, a remarkable amount of extra-regimental active service, Major-General Sir Cecil Edward Pereira KCB CMG (1869-1942) was educated at the Oratory School, Birmingham and commissioned into the Coldstream Guards in 1890. Subsequent service with the Niger Company provided the eager young subaltern with the welcome opportunity to join the MacDonald Expedition (1897-98) which ventured into the relatively unknown Ugandan interior. The result was an epic albeit almost forgotten late 19th century exploration feat.

Further active service in Rhodesia, Transvaal and Cape Colony followed with the outbreak of the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). With the coming of the First World War Cecil successively served on the Western Front as CO 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards (1914); GOC 85th Brigade (1915) and GOC 1st Guards Brigade (1916). Promoted GOC 2nd Infantry Division in December 1916, Cecil commanded this premier Regular Army formation in the battles of Arras, Cambrai (1917), the German Spring Offensive, and Advance to Victory (1918). Appointed GOC 56th (London) Division in 1919, he remained in command of this notable Territorial formation until retirement in 1923. Great Britain under threat of invasion in summer 1940, Cecil was called upon to organize the London Local Defence Volunteers, a monumental task that would be the final service to his country.

Ably edited by grandson Edward Pereira and military historians Spencer Jones and Michael LoCicero, this detailed and fascinating mid-level BEF commander’s private wartime correspondence with his devoted wife Helen and numerous contemporaries both civil and military is now available for the first time to specialist and general readers alike.

About The Author

Educated at Downside near Radstock, Somerset, Edward Pereira was born in London in August of 1938, after which, in the company of his mother, he joined his father, George Pereira, who was serving with the British army in Palestine. When war broke out in September 1939, George was serving with 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards in North Africa whilst Edward and his mother resided in Alexandria. Eith Egypt under threat of Rommel’s Afrika Korps in the summer of 1941, Edward and his mother were amongst the women and children evacuated to South Africa. Reunited with his wounded father there 18 months later, the family sailed from Capetown for Liverpool in late September 1943. Edward was commissioned in 1957, after which he served in Germany, with the Guard's Training Battalion at Pirbright, Surrey and the 2nd Coldstream Guards in Kenya and Zanzibar during 1958-59. It was during this time that he travelled to Salisbury in Rhodesia and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro amongst other African excursions. On returning to Great Britain, his company was assigned to the 1st Coldstream Guards in 1962 in order to increase battalion numbers prior to a nine-month deployment to British Guyana. Thus the Coldstream Guards were the first Household battalion to serve on the South American mainland. Having left the army in October 1964, Edward worked as an IBM and Rank Xerox executive respectively prior to retirement in 1994.

Dr. Spencer Jones lectures at the Centre for First World War Studies at the University of Birmingham and at the History, Politics & War Studies department at the University of Wolverhampton. His previous publications include From Boer War to World War: Tactical Reform of the British Army 1902 - 1914, as well as numerous scholarly articles.

Michael Stephen LoCicero is an independent scholar who earned his PhD at the University of Birmingham in 2011. Previously employed as a contracted researcher by the National Archives and the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Trust, he is currently engaged in a wide-ranging number of academic and editorial activities including MA advisement for the University of Birmingham's respected MA programme, a visiting lectureship at the University of Wolverhampton and a commissioning editorship on behalf of Helion. His chapter on Brigadier-General Edward Bulfin appeared in Spencer Jones (ed) "Stemming the Tide: Officers and Leadership in the British Expeditionary Force 1914" in 2013.

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