EASTWOOD Thomas Ralph
15/202, Captain and Brevet Major (acting Lieutenant Colonel), 2nd NZ Rifle Brigade, att HQ NZ Division
Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (KCB) Distinguished Service Order Gazetted 3 June 1919, p6818 This officer has rendered particularly valuable service during the past two years, firstly a Brigade Major to the 3rd New Zealand (Rifle0 Brigade and latterly as Brigade Major to the 4th New Zealand Infantry Brigade. He displayed the greatest zeal and ability during the formation of the two brigades above-mentioned and their efficiency is in no small measure due to his untiring efforts and the magnificent example he has at all times set. His work during the Somme operations in September – October 1916 and during the Messines operations of June 1917, was of a very high order and is worthy of recognition. Gazetted 29 September 1915, p10720 For distinguished service in the field at Gallipoli Gazetted 28 January 1916, p1207 In connection with the operations described in General Ian Hamilton’s despatch dated 11 December 1915
Mention in Despatches
Gazetted 4 January 1917, p195
As brigade Major of the 3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade since its arrival in France last April he has shwn great capability, resource, energy, and initiative. His care and thoroughness in the detail of orders and courage and coolness at all times have ensured the success of the units of the 3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade during the fighting on the Somme. The successful raids on the enemy carried out by the Brigade at Armentieres were in great measure due to his grasp of detail
Mention in Despatches
Gazetted 11 December 1917, p12912
Mentioned in Field Marshall D. Haig’s despatch of 7 November 1917 for distinguished and gallant service and devotion to duty during the period February 26th to midnight September 20/21st 1917
Mention in Despatches
Gazetted 20 December 1918, p14926
Sir D. Haig’s despatch of 8 December 1918 submitting names deserving of special mention.
Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (KCB)
Distinguished Service Order
Knight of Justice of the Order of St John
British War Medal
Mention in Despatches (4)
War Medal 1939-45
Silver Jubilee Medal 1935
Coronation Medal 1937
Grand Cross of St Adolphe of Nassau (Luxembourg)
Born 10 May 1890, Canterbury, England
Died 15 February 1959, England
He was the second son of Captain (later Colonel) Hugh de Crespigny Eastwood of the King's Dragoon Guards who went on to distinguish himself in the Second Boer War, earned the Distinguished Service Order in 1902 and finished his military career as Inspector of Cyclist Units in 1918. Ralph's mother was Elinor, who married Hugh in 1887 and was the daughter of General John Hall Smyth. Elinor's sister was Ethel Smyth, the composer and militant suffragette. Ralph's older brother Hugh became a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy. Eastwood was educated at Eton College from 1904 to 1908.
After leaving Eton, Eastwood was accepted into the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He was commissioned into the Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) in October 1910. In November 1912, he was appointed Aide-de-Camp to the Governor of New Zealand, Lord Liverpool. He was released from this role on the outbreak of the Great War, when he was commissioned into the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, later serving as a Captain in the New Zealand Rifle Brigade (Earl of Liverpool's Own). After participating in the Occupation of German Samoa, Eastwood left New Zealand with the Third Reinforcement in February 1915, arriving at Suez by sea forty days later. In April 1915, his battalion was deployed to Gallipoli, where he was awarded the Military Cross for his leadership of a column during a night assault on 6–7 August 1915. After service with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, Eastwood's brigade was transferred to France, where in October 1917 he became a General Staff Officer with the rank of Major.
Eastwood transferred back to the British Army on 17 October 1918, and in 1919 he served in the ill-fated North Russia Intervention, as Brigade Major on Lord Rawlinson's staff. After further staff duties at Aldershot, Cork in Ireland, and the War Office in London, Eastwood became an instructor at the Staff College, Camberley, in 1928. Following a spell as Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, The King's Royal Rifle Corps, he was appointed Commandant of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, with the rank of Major General in 1938.
At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Eastwood was appointed General Officer Commanding of the 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division in the British Expeditionary Force, a command he held until 31 May 1940. He was next given command of the 4th Infantry Division. In October 1940, he was appointed to the new post of Inspector General of the Home Guard, becoming Director General of the Home Guard with the rank of Lieutenant General in November. In June 1941, Eastwood was appointed General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Northern Command. He went on to be Governor of Gibraltar in 1944 and retired from the British Army in 1947. In 1945 he accepted the largely honorary post of Colonel Commandant of the 1st Battalion the Rifle Brigade, relinquished in 1951, when he became a Justice of the Peace in Wiltshire.