Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
Papers of Major General Dennis Edmund Blaquière Talbot (1908-1994)
Reference code: GB99 KCLMA LHCMA Talbot
Title: TALBOT, Maj Gen Dennis Edmund Blaquière (1908-1994)
Dates of creation of material: 1929-1992
Level of description: file level
Extent: 0.07 metres cubed or 7 boxes of papers, photographs and maps
Papers of Major General Dennis Edmund Blaquière Talbot (1908-1994)
Major General Dennis Edmund Blaquière Talbot was born on 23 September 1908, son of Walter Blaquière Talbot of St John, Jersey and The White House, Hadlow, Kent. Educated at Tonbridge School, Kent, and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Talbot was originally commissioned into The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment in 1928, spending the first nine years of his career in India. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1931 and served as Adjutant, 1 Battalion, The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment, India, 1934-1937. In 1937 Talbot become a Captain, and commanded Company, Regimental Depot, The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regt, Maidstone, Kent, 1938-1939.
Talbot attended Staff College, January-April 1940, then from April to June 1940 he served as Brigade Major of 30 Infantry Brigade. As a member of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) 1940, he participated in the defence of the French port of Calais, France. Following the capture of Calais by the Germans in May 1940, Talbot was taken prisoner but successfully escaped with two fellow officers. After walking for nine days they reached the French coast at the mouth of the River Authie (to the south of Bologne). Acquiring a boat, the escapees set sail. After 23 hours they were picked up by HMS VESPER and landed at Dover. News of their audacious escape led to an audience with King George VI, and interviews with Anthony Eden, then Secretary for State, Field Marshal Sir John Greer Dill, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff and Field Marshal John Standish Surtees Prendergast Verker, 6th Viscount Gort, who had commanded the British Expeditionary Force to Calais.
There followed a series of Home postings; Brigade Major, 141 Infantry Brigade, Jun-Nov 1940; General Staff Officer 2 (Operations), Headquarters 1 Corps, UK, Dec 1940-Jul 1941; and then General Staff Officer 2 and General Staff Officer 1, Combined Operations, UK, 1941-1944. Appointed War Substantive Major, 1942, then temporary Lieutenant Colonel, 1942-1948. Talbot was Second in Command of the 5 Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment during the Regiment’s time in UK and then as part of the British Liberation Army in France, March-July 1944. He was then appointed Commanding Officer of 7 Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, part of the British Liberation Army, France. Leading his Battalion from Caen, France to Bremerhaven, Germany during the Allies’ North West Europe campaign, 1944 to 1945.
Promoted to Major, 1945, and served as Commanding Officer, 2 Battalion, The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regt, UK and British Army of the Rhine (BAOR), Germany, 1945-1946. Talbot attended Royal Navy Staff College, Greenwich in 1946, and the Joint Services Staff College, Latimer, Buckinghamshire in 1947. He was subsequently appointed General Staff Officer 1 (Training), General Headquarters, Far East Land Forces, Singapore, 1947-1948, and then Senior Army Liaison Officer, UK Services Liaison Staff, New Zealand, 1948-1951. In 1949 Talbot was promoted to Lt Col, and served as Col (Co-ordination) of the Adjutant General's Branch of the War Office, 1951-1953. He became Colonel in 1952.
In 1953 Talbot was made temporary Brigadier and posted to Malaya to assist in the British Army’s operations against Communist fighters in the Malayan states of Pahang and Trengganu. Talbot initially commanded the 18 Infantry Brigade. Following a succession of operations, including the capture of two well-known Communist fighters, Talbot was posted to command 99 Gurkha Infantry Brigade, Malaya, staying in this post until 1955. In recognition of his achievements Talbot was awarded the Sultan’s Silver Jubilee Medal.
In 1956, following his service in Malaya, Talbot attended Imperial Defence College, London. He then served on the General Staff (Staff Duties, Training and Technical), Headquarters, British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) in Germany, 1957-1958. In 1958 Talbot was promoted to Major General, 1958 and served as General Officer Commanding East Anglia District and 54 East Anglian Infantry Division, Territorial Army, 1958-1961. In 1959 Talbot attended Civil Defence Staff College, Sunningdale, Ascot, Berkshire, and became Colonel of The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment, in the same year, holding the post until 1961. By virtue of the Regiment’s connection with the Danish monarchy, Talbot was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the Dannebrog in 1962, and, in 1965, was promoted to be a Knight Grand Cross of the Order.
In 1961 Talbot was posted to Germany as Deputy Commander, British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) and Commander British Army Group Troops, Germany, 1961-1963. In the same year he became Deputy Colonel, The Queen's Own Buffs, The Royal Kent Regiment, 1961-1965. Talbot’s final appointment was as Chief of Staff, British Army of the Rhine (BAOR), and General Officer Commanding Rhine Army Troops, Germany, 1963-1964.
After retirement in 1964, Talbot held a number of honorary positions, including Deputy Lieutenant for Kent; Civil Service, 1964-1973; Chairman of the Kent Committee, Army Benevolent Fund, 1964-1984; Vice President of local branch, Royal British Legion; Honorary Colonel, 8 Queen's Cadre (formally 8 Battalion, The Queen's Regiment (West Kent)), 1968-1971. He died on 27 Jun 1994 at his home at Barham, Kent.
In 1944 Talbot was awarded the MC, for his part in the defence of Calais in 1940, the DSO in 1945, and the CBE and CB in 1960. General military career,
In 1939 Talbot married Barbara Anne, daughter of the Reverend R B Pyper, Rector of Pluckley, Kent. They had three sons and two daughters.
Presented to the Centre by the Talbot family in 1996.
SCOPE AND CONTENT
Papers, maps, publications, photographs and newspaper cuttings 1929-1956, relating to Maj Gen Dennis Edmund Blaquière Talbot’s career, chiefly North West Europe 1940, 1944-1945 and Malaya 1953-1955.
Section one comprises reports, correspondence, maps and articles, notably ‘Report compiled by three officers of the 30 infantry brigade who were captured at Calais on the evening of the 26 May, 1940, escaped on the 30 May and finally arrived in England on the night of 17 June 1940’ produced by MI9 (see 1/1). This report provides an in-depth account of the escape, which entailed Talbot and his two fellow officers fleeing across the French countryside to the English Channel, and eventual rendezvous with HMS VESPER in the English Channel. There is also correspondence with relatives of men captured or killed during the defence and capture of Calais (see 1/5).
Section two includes a number of typescript copies of monthly war diaries by Talbot (see 2/1-2/12), of the advance of 7 Bn Hampshire Regt across North West Europe, June 1944 to May 1945. This section also includes photographs of the offices of the Battalion during the campaign (see 2/47). There are also printed histories in section two which to the Battalion and the North West European campaign (see 2/19 and 2/22), and correspondence with former officers of the Regiment, 1951-1959 (see 2/23) and 1983-1991 (see 2/24).
The papers in section three reflect Talbot’s role as Commanding Office of 18 Infantry Brigade and later of the 99 Gurkha Infantry Brigade in Malaya during 1953-1955, including maps showing the positions of British Army Brigades in Malaya (3/26-3/28), safe conduct passes issued to Malay nationals (see 3/12), and appeals to Malayan Communist fighters to surrender to the British (3/13). There is also a report concerning the effects of atomic weapons and what measures could be used to minimise these effects, 1954 (see 3/10), and a report entitled ‘Appreciation of the situation in Malaya’ by Lt Gen Sir Hugh Stockwell, General Officer Commanding Malaya, 15 Oct 1953, which provides contextual information about the British Army’s anti-Communist presence in Malaya (see 3/5). In addition there are 27 photographs of Talbot, military parades, informal and formal social events which provide a visual insight into his time in Malaya (see 3/29).
Section four comprises of more general aspects of Talbot’s military career and personal information relating to his career and training, including his CV (see 4/2), confidential reports concerning his performance as an army officer (see 4/3), are four photographs and correspondence and other papers which relate to Talbot’s time studying at the Imperial Defence College flowing his return to the UK from Malaya in 1955 (see 4/6 and 4/8-4/9).
The final section of the collection contains mainly published material collected by Talbot which reflects his interests in various military subjects, including The Regimental Officer's Handbook of the German Army, 1943 (see 5/5), and seven articles by FM Sir William Slim which were printed in The Star, 24 Sep 1952-2 Dec 1952, and reflect his thoughts on National Service, the role of the regular Army and the Korean War (see 5/9). Also included is a pamphlet entitled Edward VIII. His coronation route, (1936) (see 5/14). In practice Edward VIII abdicated before the coronation took place.
The papers were initially sorted by Talbot’s family. A summary list of the papers was produced at the time of deposit in 1996, and a detailed catalogue was produced in 2006. Much of the material fell naturally in discrete, chronological sections, and was arranged in the following sections: Escape from Calais, Campaign in North West Europe 1944-1945, Service in Malay, General military career, Other papers compiled by Talbot.
Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, attention of the Director of Archive Services, King's College London..
Principally English, some Malay, Chinese and Arabic.
Books and regimental papers of Major General Talbot were deposited by the Talbot family with The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regimental Museum in May 1995.
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