Birth: 15 September 1887

Place or Registered Place of Birth: Oxford, Oxfordshire

Baptism: Not Known

Place of Baptism: Not Known

Death: 16 February 1961

Place or Registered Place of Death: Old Orchard, Heath Road, Petersfield, Hampshire

Father: Francis Paget

Mother: Helen Beatrice Church

Spouse(s): Winifred Nora Paget

Date of Marriage: 7 February 1918

Place or Registered Place of Marriage: St. Saviour's Church, Walton Street, S.W., London


Julian Tolver Paget (1921-)
Anthony Francis Macleod Newdigate Paget(1924-1945)


Armorial Families
Bernard Charles Tolver Paget, Esq., D.S.O., M.C, Major and Brev.-Col. Oxford, and Bucks., L.I., served Great War (despatches), b. 1887 ; m. 1918, Winifred Norah, d. of Sir John Rahere Paget, Bt. {q.v.), and has issue-Julian Tolver Paget, Gentleman, b. 1921 ; Anthony Francis Macleod Paget, Gentleman, b. 1924. Res.-14 Lennox Gardens, S.W. 1.

British Army Officers
2nd Lt. - 13.11.1907 - Commissioned, the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.
Maj.-Gen. - 22.01.1938, seniority 29.12.1937
A/Lt.-Gen. - 05.06.1940-04.06.1941
T/Lt.-Gen. - 05.06.1941-04.09.1941
Lt.-Gen. - 05.09.1941, seniority 05.08.1941
A/Gen. - 25.12.1941-24.12.1942
T/Gen. - 25.12.1942-04.05.1943
Gen. - 05.05.1943 (retd 14.10.1946)

GCB - 01.01.1946 - New Year 46
KCB - 01.01.1942 - New Year 42
CB - 11.07.1940 - distinguished service in the field
DSO - 01.01.1918 - distinguished service in the field
MID - 20.12.1940
Grand Cross of the Order Polonia Restituta (07.12.1944)

22.01.1938-29.11.1939 - Commandant (Major-General General Staff), Staff College
30.11.1939-18.04.1940 - General Officer Commanding, ... Division (Eastern Command)
19.04.1940-30.05.1940 - Force Commander, Norway
31.05.1940-04.06.1940 - Major-General General Staff, Home Forces
05.06.1940-14.02.1941 - Chief of General Staff, Home Forces
15.02.1941-24.12.1941 - General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, South-Eastern Command
25.12.1941-28.07.1943 - Commander-in-Chief, Home Forces
06.01.1944-1946 - Commander-in-Chief, Middle East
13.10.1944 - also: ADC General to the King (Extra)

Liddel Hart Centre for Military Archives
King's College London
Paget, Sir Bernard (Charles Tolver) (1887-1961), General
Service biography
World War I 1914-1918; General Staff Officer Grade 1, Staff College, Quetta, India 1932-1934; War Office 1934-1936; Commander, Quetta Bde and Baluchistan District, India 1936-1937; Commandant, Staff College Camberley 1938-1939; World War II 1939-1945; Commander, 18 Div, and Commander in Norway 1939-1940; Chief of General Staff, Home Forces 1940; Commander-in-Chief South Eastern Command 1941; Commander-in-Chief Home Forces 1941-1943; Commander-in-Chief 21 Army Group, Jun-Dec 1943; Commander-in-Chief, Middle East Force 1944-1946; retired 1946

The Times - February 5, 1918
Forthcoming Marriages
Major B. Paget and Miss Paget
The marriage of Major Bernard Paget, D.S.O., M.C. (Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry), and Miss Winifred Nora Paget will take place on Thursday, at 11, at St. Saviour's Church, Walton-street, S.W. It is hoped that all relatives and friends will come to the church.

The Times - February 12, 1918
Tolver : Paget. - On the 7th Feb., at St. Saviour's, Walton-street, S.W., by the Right Rev. the Bishop of Stepney, assisted by the Rev. Campbell Crum and the Rev. G. Edmundson, Major Bernard Charles Tolver, D.S.O., M.C., (Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry), third son of the late Bishop of Oxford, to Winifred Nora, younger daughter of Sir John Paget, Bart., K.C., and Lady Paget, of 14, Lennox-gardens, S.W.

The Times - February 18, 1961

General Sir Bernard Paget, G.C.B., D.S.O., M.C., died suddenly on Thursday at his home in Hampshire at the age of 73.

He will be remembered chiefly for his fine leadership in the withdrawal of the British forces from Aandalsnes in Norway in 1940 and for the great part he played in training the British Army in the Second World War. He had a distinguished career of 40 years in the Army and after his retirement he was principal of Ashridge College for three years and governor of the Royal Hospital Chelsea for seven years. He was a man of high ideals. and a remarkable sense of duty inspired his upright and strong character.

Bernard Charles Tolver Paget was born on September 15, 1887. the third son of Francis Paget, Bishop of Oxford, and of Helen, the daughter of Dean Church of St. Paul's. He was educated at Shrewsbury and the Royal Military College Sandhurst, from which he was commissioned in 1907 in The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. In the First World War he served on the Western Front with his regiment, as brigade major of the 42nd Infantry Brigade and on Sir Douglas Haig's staff at G.H.Q.; he was wounded twice, one wound rendering his left arm practically useless for the rest of his life, mentioned four times in dispatches, and won the D.S.O. and M.C.

In 1920 he graduated at the Staff College. Camberley. Here his gifts as a teacher of officers and trainer of troops were soon recognized, and between the wars he was given no fewer than three instructional posts. He also held four other staff appointments, which left little opportunity for command. He never had a battalion, but for two years, in 1936-37, he commanded the Quetta Infantry Brigade.

By singular ill fortune for a professional soldier, during the whole of the Second World War Paget was fated to serve in an active theatre for only seven days. But in that eventful week he accomplished a fine feat of arms. He was commanding the 18th Division when the Germans invaded Norway in 1940 and he was taken from it to play a part in the Allied attempt to reoccupy Trondheim. A British Territorial brigade was put ashore at Aandalsnes on April 18 and was at once drawn into heavy fighting in the Gubrandsdalen, south of Dombaas. in support of the Norwegians retreating northwards from Oslo. A week later this southern column. now named "Sickleforce", was reinforced by a second infantry brigade, and Paget arrived to take command. The situation could hardly have been worse. Our troops were ill equipped for fighting in the narrow valleys and high snow-covered hills, the ship carrying their artillery and transport had been sunk, they were outnumbered by the Germans, and, even more serious, the supremacy of the Germans in the air was virtually unchallenged.


Paget brought his fresh troops into action as fast as they could be landed, and was at once involved in a succession of delaying actions which he conducted with spirit and determination. Three days after his arrival the Cabinet, unwilling to face further losses of ships and unable to provide the reinforcements and air cover for which Paget pleaded, decided to evacuate central Norway, and he was ordered to extricate his force. This he succeeded in doing after fighting five skilful rearguard actions in which he inflicted heavy damage on the Germans.

Paget's skill and resolution during this short campaign received warm praise from the Prime Minister in the House of Commons. and opened his path to high command. But he never had a fighting command again. There can be little doubt that this was a deep disappointment to him, though he never showed it. More than once he was on the point of getting an operational command. In November, 1941, he was selected as Commander-in- Chief Designate for the Far East. and, when Dill went to Washington. he was even considered as a possible C.I.G.S. But none of the proposals to employ him more actively came off. His continued employment at home was largely due to ill luck, but partly also to certain limitations of character, for, although he was so highly qualified, he was perhaps over rigid, sometimes to the point of obstinacy, and perhaps somewhat narrow in his outlook.

On his return from Norway he was appointed Chief of Staff. Home Forces. When the South Eastern Command was formed in 1941, Paget was appointed to it. and later in the year he succeeded Sir Alan Brooke as Commander-in-Chief, Home Forces. In June. 1943, the 21st Army Group of 15 divisions was set up in the United Kingdom in preparation for the invasion of Normandy. Paget was appointed to command it, and he held this post until, at the end of the year. the decision was taken to entrust the landing to General Montgomery. He was thus deprived of his last chance of high command in the field.


In these years Paget revolutionized the system of training. He was a trainer of troops in the classic Light Infantry tradition of Sir John Moore, and he sought, by closely coordinating fire power and movement, to restore the infantry to its old pre-eminence on the battlefield. In furtherance of this object he set up a School of Infantry and divisional battle schools where the training was both realistic and imaginative, and where, as he put it, he aimed at creating "a true offensive spirit. combined with the will power which will not recognize defeat". He also introduced the practice of "battle inoculation" by the use of live ammunition in exercises. The training he gave the British Army and the high morale he inspired in the troops were Paget's great contribution to the war.

When he was relieved by General Montgomery at the end of 1943. Paget was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Middle East, under the Supreme Allied Commander in the Mediterranean. During the two and a half years of his tenure of this command, although there was no longer any active campaigning, the aftermath of the war had left problems in plenty, all of which Paget tackled with his usual calm efficiency. Soon after his arrival there he settled a mutiny of the Greek Brigade stationed in Egypt; and in the spring of 1945, when fighting broke out between the French and Syrians, it fell to Paget to restore order.

On his return from the Middle East in 1946, Paget retired from the Army at the age of 58. In the same year he was appointed by the governors of the Bonar Law Memorial Trust to be Principal of Ashridge College. which at that time was devoted to adult education in citizenship. Paget threw himself into the work of the college with enthusiasm and considerable success. But in his third year the uncertain finances of the college precipitated an acrimonious controversy between its governors and its principal, and Paget left. He was then appointed governor of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, where he remained for seven years. While he was there he was able to devote himself to his duties as colonel of his regiment, in which he was much loved.

He married in 1918 Winifred, daughter of Sir John Paget, Bt., who survives him with a son. Their younger son was mortally wounded, at the age of 20, in the Reichswald in 1945 in a particularly gallant action for which he was awarded a posthumous D.S.O.


1891 Census:

Dr. Pagets House, Christ Church, Meadow Lane, Oxford
Richard J. Paget - Son - 7 - 1884 - Scholar - Worcestershire
Beatrice M. Paget - Daughter - 6 - 1885 - Scholar - Worcestershire
Edward F. Paget - Son - 4 - 1887 - Oxfordshire
Bernard C. Paget - Son - 3 - 1888 - Oxfordshire
Edith F. Paget - Daughter - 1 - 1890 - Oxfordshire

General Bernard Charles Tolver Paget