|Born||6 Aug 1897|
|Died||14 Dec 1970|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseWilliam Joseph Slim was born in Bristol, England, United Kingdom to John Slim, an ironmonger, and Charlotte Tucker. He was educated in Birmingham, England, and joined the British Army at the beginning of WW1 in 1914. He was quickly promoted to lead the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was seriously wounded at Gallipoli, Turkey and was medically discharged, but he managed to convince the British Army to allow his return. He saw more action in Palestine before the war ended, where he sustained more injuries. He earned the Military Cross for his contributions to Britain during WW1. After the end of WW1, he was made a temporary major and was assigned to the 6th Gurkha Rifles regiment in India. In 1926, he married Aileen Robertson, with whom he would have two children, a son and a daughter. Later in the same year, he attended the Quetta Staff College in India. In 1933, he was promoted to the permanent rank of major. Between 1934 and 1937, he was an instructor at Camberley Military College in Britain. In 1938, he returned to India with the rank of lieutenant colonel to lead the 2nd Battalion of the 7th Gurkha Rifles regiment. In Jan 1939, as a permanent colonel and temporary brigadier, he was posted to the Senior Officers' School at at Belgaum, India.
ww2dbaseThroughout the inter-war years, Slim found his wages as an army officer to be inadequate in supporting his family. He wrote many novels under the nom de plume Anthony Mills.
ww2dbaseAt the start of WW2, Slim was assigned the 10th Brigade of the Indian 10th Infantry Division as the brigade commander; in this role he fought in Sudan, British East Africa and in Abyssinia, Italian East Africa. He was wounded in Jan 1941 early in the action, and thus missed most of the campaign in Africa. While in Africa, he met Major Orde Wingate, whom he would later work with closely in Burma. After his recovery, he held the rank of major general and served in Syria and Iran. In Mar 1942, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and assigned responsibility of Burma Corps to defend Burma against the Japanese invasion. By the time he was assigned this task, the capital Rangoon was already being threatened by the Japanese. Along with General Harold Alexander, he withdrew into India after fighting a hopeless delay-action campaign. Upon reaching India, he assumed command of XV Corps for the defense of India.
ww2dbaseIn summer 1943 Slim led an attack into western Burma in attempt to capture Akyab, but the campaign ended in failure. He was relieved of his duties when Lord Louis Mountbatten came into the theater to take on the role as the British commander of the theater, and was given commission of the British 14th Army. In Mar 1944, he successfully defended Assam against the Japanese Army, then on 20 Mar 1945 he successfully recaptured Mandalay. Before the war ended, he became a full general and the Commander-in-Chief of Allied Land Forces in Southeast Asia.
ww2dbaseAfter the war, Slim became the head of the Imperial Defence College, then in 1948 he was named Chief of the Imperial Staff. He was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal in 1949. He served as Governor General of Australia between 1953 and 1960; during his tenure in Australia he published his memoirs in 1959 under the title Unofficial History. He was made Knight of the Garter and Viscount in 1960. He passed away in London, England.
Frank McLynn, The Burma Campaign
Nathan Prefer Vinegar Joe's War
Last Major Revision: Oct 2005
William Slim Interactive Map
William Slim Timeline
|6 Aug 1897||William Slim was born in Bishopston, Bristol, England, United Kingdom.|
|19 Mar 1942||Lieutenant General William Slim was ordered to lead the Burma Corps.|
|15 Apr 1942||Alexander, Slim, and Stilwell met at Maymyo, Burma.|
|19 Apr 1942||Slim, Wavell, and Alexander met to start discussing plans for a major retreat of Allied personnel out of Burma.|
|1 May 1942||Slim met with Alexander at Monywa, Burma.|
|5 Apr 1943||William Slim and Noel Irwin met in Calcutta, India.|
|16 Oct 1943||Louis Mountbatten named William Slim the commanding officer of the new 14th Army.|
|22 Oct 1943||Louis Mountbatten met with William Slim for the first time at Barrackpore in eastern India.|
|22 Mar 1944||William Slim met with Orde Wingate.|
|1 Jun 1944||In his diary, William Slim privately complained of Louis Mountbatten's lack of vision and Henry Pownall's laziness.|
|8 Nov 1944||Louis Mountbatten freed William Slim the responsibility in the Arakan region of Burma so he could focus on northern Burma. Additionally, Slim was also given the Indian 25th Division and the West African 2nd Division.|
|14 Dec 1944||By special permission of King George VI, Lieutenant General William Slim was knighted in a ceremony at Imphal, India by Field Marshal Archibald Wavell in the presence of Vice-Admiral Louis Mountbatten.|
|7 May 1945||Oliver Leese told William Slim his intention to transfer Slim to the British 12th Army for the occupation of Burma. Deprived the command to lead the invasion into Malaya, Slim told Leese that he would rather retire.|
|9 May 1945||William Slim indicated to his senior staff at the British 14th Army that he might soon be sacked by Oliver Leese. The senior staff officers leaked out the news.|
|29 Jun 1945||Winston Churchill and Alan Brooke dismissed Oliver Leese and promoted William Slim to the rank of full general to succeed Leese as Commander-in-Chief, Allied Forces, South-East Asia.|
|14 Dec 1970||William Slim passed away in London, England, United Kingdom.|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945