Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

Douglas Glover

Douglas Glover : Photograph of Douglas in Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre.  Reference: MRP/6E/039

Photograph of Douglas in Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre. Reference: MRP/6E/039

Douglas Glover : (L to R) 1939-45 Star; France and Germany Star; 1939-45 Defence Medal; 1939-45 War Medal; Efficiency Decoration; Dutch Officier in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau met de Zwaarden; Knight Bachelor's Breast Badge (top); Knight Bachelor's Neck Badge (on ribbon)

(L to R) 1939-45 Star; France and Germany Star; 1939-45 Defence Medal; 1939-45 War Medal; Efficiency Decoration; Dutch Officier in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau met de Zwaarden; Knight Bachelor's Breast Badge (top); Knight Bachelor's Neck Badge (on ribbon)

Douglas was born on the 13th February 1908 in Stockport. We don't know anything about his family.

He was educated at Giggleswick School near Settle in North Yorkshire. Whilst he was there he became a member of their Cadet Contingent and rose to the rank of Cadet Corporal. He then went to work for the family firm of S. B. Glover and Company. This was a clothing or textile wholesale company.

Between January and March 1934 Douglas married Agnes May Brown in Stockport. They had no children.

Douglas must have taken to his experience with the cadets, because on the 27th May 1939 he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the 8th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This was a Territorial Army (TA) unit based at Ardwick in Manchester. He took part in their annual training camp that year as a Platoon Commander in B Company.

The threat of war with Germany was steadily increasing throughout 1939 and the Government decided to double the size of the TA. The 8th Battalion formed a duplicate, which was later named the 7th Battalion, and Douglas was posted to it.

The 7th Battalion served on anti-invasion duties at Lowestoft in Suffolk during 1940 and then moved to Maidenhead and later Yorkshire as part of the 55th Division. During 1942 they served in Dornoch in the Highlands of Scotland. By this time they had been organised as a mechanised machine gun battalion.

This job involved supporting infantry battalions by providing extra firepower with their Vickers Machine Guns and 4.2" Mortars. It required specialist training. The battalion also had access to more vehicles than a normal battalion, which meant that soldiers needed to be trained as drivers and mechanics. We don't know what jobs Douglas had during this time, although we don't believe he ever left the 7th Battalion.

The 7th Battalion was sent to North West Europe in mid October 1944. They were part of the 52nd (Lowland) Division and first saw action in the attack on the island of Walcheren near Antwerp in Belgium on the 5th November. Later they fought in the Dutch town of s'Hertogenbosch in late November and then moved into Germany, reaching Geilenkirchen by the 6th December.

By this time Douglas had reached the rank of War Substantive Major (he was officially still a 2nd Lieutenant). The 7th Battalion took part in the crossing of the River Rhine at Wesel on the 24th March 1945.

Three days later Douglas left them and took command of the 2nd Battalion of Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment. This was the machine gun battalion of the 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division and at the time they were based in Nijmegen.

Douglas was in command of this battalion during the fighting that led to the liberation of Arnhem between the 12th and the 16th April. They supported the infantry units of the division as they drove the Germans out. The war in Europe ended on the 7th May and by early June the Kensingtons were back in Nijmegen. The men of the battalion were moved by the plight of the Dutch population and decided to make a donation to the Dutch Red Cross. This organisation was headed by Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, and at a parade on the 2nd June she visited Nijmegen to accept the battalion's donation. Douglas oversaw the smooth running of the parade, which was a huge success and very popular with the residents of the city.

Douglas left the Kensingtons in September and was back in the UK by the 18th November, when he took part in a Manchester Regiment Remembrance Ceremony in Manchester Cathedral. We don't know when he was demobilised. He was Mentioned in Despatches for his service in North West Europe on the 4th April 1946.

In July 1947 the Dutch Government recognised his part in the liberation of their country by awarding him the rank of Officer of the Order of Orange Nassau with Swords. His citation for this award is as follows:

Colonel Glover commanded the 2nd Kensingtons during the fighting in Holland in April and May 1945. He particularly distinguished himself in the successful battle of Arnhem by coordinating the firepower of the machine guns and mortars which carried out the preliminary bombardment and supported the assault crossing of the River Ijssel.

After VE Day he played an active part in the disarmament and concentration of the Dutch SS Division.

The happy spirit and exceptionally cordial relations which exist between the Kensingtons and the Dutch people, who have come to know the Regiment, are due largely to Colonel Glover.

Douglas was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on the 1st May 1947 and took command of the 9th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment, based in Ashton.

This was a difficult period for the TA; units were still reorganising after the end of the war, and needed to both release men who had only enlisted for the duration of the war as well as recruit new soldiers. The 9th Battalion had the extra challenge of reorganising from a machine gun battalion into a standard infantry battalion. Douglas threw himself into the role and the battalion was soon one of the best recruited and trained in the North West.

Douglas represented the 9th Battalion at many Regimental and military events, including a visit by the Regiment's Colonel in Chief Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) to their training Depot in Altrincham on the 1st June 1948. He also represented the battalion at King George VI's Review of the Territorial Army in Hyde Park, London, on the 31st October of that year.

On the 21st April 1950 Douglas' service in the TA was recognised when he was awarded the Efficiency Decoration. Three months later he relinquished command of the 9th Battalion. They were sorry to see him go, but hoped that 'he will visit us whenever he finds himself in the neighbourhood'.

As a retired officer Douglas became involved with the Manchester Regiment Old Comrades Association (OCA) and the Officer's Association, attending many reunions and parades through the 1950s and 1960s. He was a member of the Manchester Regiment Chapel Committee from 1954 until his death.

As a member of the TA, even a high ranking one, Douglas did not spend all his time as a soldier. He returned to S.B. Glover and Co., becoming a Managing Director, and also served on the board of Grafton House Ltd., a retail clothing firm. He was also a member of the council of the Wholesale Textile Association of Great Britain.

Douglas had a keen interest in politics. Described as a 'strong conservative', he served as the first post-war chairman of the North Western Area Young Conservatives, as well as treasurer and then chairman of the North Western Provincial Area Conservative Association. He was also a member of the National Executive of the National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations and served as its Chairman between 1961 and 1962. In 1961 he acted as Chairman of the Conservative Party Conference.

Douglas first stood for election to the House of Commons in Blackburn in 1945. He came 3rd in what was then a 2 member constituency. In October 1951 he lost by 298 votes in Stalybridge and Hyde. He was successfully elected in 1953 in a by-election for the Ormskirk constituency, and represented it until 1970 when he retired.

Douglas was a popular and well respected MP. He had a keen interest in foreign affairs and in Commonwealth defence. He was a member of the Public Accounts Committee between 1965 and 1970. The Honour of Knighthood was conferred upon him for 'political and public services in North West England' on the 1st January 1960. Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, performed the ceremony at Buckingham Palace on the 9th February.

In 1966 Douglas visited Gallipoli, where the previous generation of Manchester Territorials had fought during the First World War. He visited a small cemetery called Skew Bridge, and informed the Regimental Gazette of 8 members of the Manchester Regiment buried there, in the hope that 'relatives of these soldiers who are still alive will be very glad to know that the graves are beautifully kept in delightful surroundings'.

At this time Douglas lived at 'Whitebarn' on Carrwood Road in Wilmslow, Cheshire. At some point he became a Governor of his old school, Giggleswick. He was also involved with the British Anti-Slavery Society, now called Anti-Slavery International.

Agnes, who was 10 years older than Douglas, died in early 1976 at the age of 78. He later married Margaret Eleanor Hurliman, although we don't know where or when. The couple retired to Switzerland, where they were often visited by his good friend Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister from 1979.

Douglas died in Switzerland on the 15th January 1982. He was 73 years old. Two chairs in the Regimental Chapel were dedicated in his memory on the 11th December 1985 in a service attended by many of his former comrades and his widow. He was remembered as 'a leader, a public servant, a visionary whose public integrity matched his ideas of justice and national freedom'.

Douglas is remembered at Giggleswick School by the occasional Sir Douglas Glover Memorial Lecture, which has been held 10 times between 1995 and 2012, featuring such speakers as Melvyn Bragg, Alex Ferguson and Archbishop John Sentamu.

His medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in February 2001.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
c/o Portland Basin Museum
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Heritage Wharf
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0QA

Telephone: 0161 343 2878
Email: Portland.Basin@tameside.gov.uk
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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council