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Lord Gort (left) and Lieutenant-General Pownall study a map at GHQ in France, 26 November 1939.

The Pillbox affair, also known as the Pillbox incident was a military and political episode which occurred in Britain between November 1939 and January 1940. The British War Minister, Leslie Hore-Belisha, visited France and the positions of the British Expeditionary Force in mid-November.[1] Hore-Belisha and the commander of the BEF, Field Marshal John Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort, did not get along well together; Gort disliked Hore-Belisha for his colourful personality and unorthodox manner of conducting matters relating to the Army, and the Minister rapidly came to recognize this.[1] When Hore-Belisha visited the BEF in November, he oversaw the placement of the troops of the BEF, but not the defences being constructed, and as such when he returned to Britain he complained to the War Cabinet and the Army Council that too few pillbox defences were being built for the BEF.[2] Gort and colleagues friendly to him were greatly angered by what they saw as this unjust and ill-founded criticism, and began a campaign against Hore-Belisha, which culminated in January 1940 in his being dismissed from the post of War Minister.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Bond, p. 40
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bond, p. 41

General references

  • Alanbrooke, Field Marshal Lord (2001). War Diaries 1939–1945. Phoenix Press. ISBN 1-84212-526-5. 
  • Keegan, John (eds.) (1991). Churchill's Generals. Abacus History. ISBN 0-349-11317-3. 
  • Colville, J R (1972). Man of Valour: The Life of Field-marshal the Viscount Gort VC. Collins, London. ISBN 0-00-211290-6. 
  • Bond, Brian. John Keegan. ed. Gort: Field Marshal Lord Gort. 

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