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John Dill file photo [24837]

John Dill

Given NameJohn
Born25 Dec 1881
Died4 Nov 1944
CountryUnited Kingdom


ww2dbaseJohn Greet Dill was born in Lurgan, County Armagh, Ireland to a local bank manager. He attended Cheltenham College and the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. He joined the 1st battalion of the Leinster regiment in 1901 and fought in the Second Boer War in South Africa. During WW1, as a brigade-major, he led the 25th Brigade of the 8th Division in France. He spent part of the 1920s as a military instructor. He served in India between 1929 and 1930 and in Palestine between 1936 and 1937.

ww2dbaseAt the outbreak of the European War, Dill was given command of the I Corps in France. In Apr 1940, he returned to Britain and was appointed the Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff; on 26 May, upon Winston Churchill becoming Prime Minister, Dill was appointed Chief of the Imperial General Staff. His style of leadership conflicted with that of Churchill; the Prime Minister called him "Dilly Daily", expressing the opinion that Dill was slow, ineffective, and having a pessimistic defeatist attitude. He was removed from his position at the Imperial General Staff and was given the title of Field Marshal as a consolation prize. Shooting down two birds with one stone, Churchill sent him to Washington, DC, where he could make use of his outstanding diplomatic skills while staying far from Churchill's policies.

ww2dbaseAs a liaison officer and a mediator, Dill became an instrumental diplomat between the different military branches across Britain and the United States. Together with George Marshall, he asserted influence on Franklin Roosevelt's war time policies. Roosevelt described Dill as "the most important figure in the remarkable accord which has been developed in the combined operations of our two countries". He had also participated in high-profile conferences such as Quebec, Casablanca, and Tehran.

ww2dbaseDill passed away in Washington, DC in Nov 1944. He now rests in peace at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, United States.

ww2dbaseSources: the Churchill Centre, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Dec 2006

John Dill Interactive Map


President Franklin Roosevelt and his dinner guests aboard the cruiser USS Augusta at the Atlantic Conference, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, 9 Aug 1941.Franklin Roosevelt receiving British First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Dudley Pound aboard the cruiser USS Augusta at the Atlantic Conference, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, 10 Aug 1941.
See all 12 photographs of John Dill

John Dill Timeline

25 Dec 1881 John Dill was born.
26 May 1940 In the United Kingdom, General Sir John Dill became Chief of the Imperial General Staff and Sir Edmund Ironside became Commander-in-Chief of Home Defense.
18 Nov 1941 General John Dill, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal.
4 Nov 1944 Field Marshall Sir John Dill, the senior British representative on the Combined Chiefs of Staff, died from an illness at Walter Reed General Hospital, Washington, DC, United States. He was subsequently buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, United States.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Hobilar says:
13 Sep 2007 12:27:14 AM

Upon Field Marshal Dills death, it was US General Marshall who intervened to have Dill buried at Arlington National Cemetery, normally reserved only for Americans who had served their nation during wartime. Dills plot is also marked by only one of two equestrian statues in the cemetery.
2. iandavid says:
20 Nov 2009 08:42:28 PM

If Field Marshal Dill had aplastic anaemia and bleeding from the bowels when he diedthen that suggest to me that he was poisoned by the ingestion of a radio-active substance.Possibly uranium?If so then he was a victim of murderer!Most likely,OSS!
3. Anonymous says:
28 Mar 2011 08:51:02 AM

My last name is Dill, coincedince
4. TIM says:
15 Nov 2011 08:57:24 AM

FM Dill was wasn't a favorite of PM Churchill but he respected his abilities to get along with other military men. His mentorship of GEN. Allan Brooke and his replacement by Allanbrooke as CIGS and Dill's transfer to Washington D.C. as Churchill's personal liason officer to FDR and GEN. Marshal. Both men eventually formed a very close relationship with the Brit and worked well together no matter if Dill's ran counter to fellow British positions.
I look forward to reading FM Dill's Bio if it is ever released.
5. Anonymous says:
1 May 2022 02:04:03 AM

I would like to thank the author of this article, John Dill is a forefather of mine and I look to his history for strength inside of me. I can thank you enough for documenting all of this!

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Event(s) Participated:
» Casablanca Conference
» Quadrant Conference
» Cairo Conference
» Tehran Conference
» Octagon Conference

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