Military Wiki
William Platt
Nickname The Kaid
Born (1885-06-14)June 14, 1885
Died September 28, 1975(1975-09-28) (aged 90)
Place of birth Brooklands, Cheshire
Place of death London
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1905 - 1945
Rank General
Commands held 2nd Battalion Wiltshire Regiment (1930 to 1933)
7th Infantry Brigade (Oct 1934 to Oct 1938)
GOC, British Troops in Sudan & Commandant Sudan Defence Force (Nov 1938 to Oct 1941)
Commander in Chief, East Africa Command - 1941 to 1945
Battles/wars East African Campaign
Awards GBE(1 Jan 1943)
KCB (30 May 1941)
CB (8 Jun 1939)
DSO (1908)
MID (14 Aug 1908, 14 Jan 1917, 20 May 1918, 20 Dec 1918, 5 Jul 1919, 1 Apr 1941)
Other work

ADC to the King (29 Jun 1937-10 Nov 1938
Colonel, The Wiltshire Regiment (28 Jun 1942 – 1 Nov 1954)

Director, Messrs. Mather and Platt Ltd., Manchester (24 Feb 1946-Mar 1957)

General Sir William Platt GBE, KCB, DSO (born 1885; died 1975) was an officer in the British Army, the Australian Army, and the New Zealand Army during the First and Second World Wars.

Early years

Platt was educated at Marlborough College and Royal Military College, Sandhurst.

In 1908, Platt was commissioned into the Northumberland Fusiliers. From 1908 to 1914 he served on the North West Frontier in India where he won a Distinguished Service Order and was mentioned in dispatches for the first of a remarkable six such citations. Platt was promoted to Captain in 1914.

First World War

From 1914 to 1918, Platt fought in France and Belgium during the European War. Between 1915 and 1916, he was promoted to Brigade-Major of the 103rd Infantry Brigade. Between 1916 and 1917, Platt was made a General Staff Officer, Grade 2, of the 21st Division. In 1917, he was made a General Staff Officer, Grade 2, of II Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in France. This corps was later reformed as the British XXII Corps.

Between the wars

Between 1918 and 1920, Platt was a General Staff Officer, Grade 1, of the 37th Division. From 1920 to 1922, he was a Brigade-Major, 12 Infantry Brigade, 1st Eastern Command and Galway Brigade, Irish Command. Platt was promoted to Major in 1924 and Lieutenant-Colonel in 1930. From 1930 to 1933, he was Officer Commanding, 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment. In 1933, Platt was promoted to Colonel. From 1933 to 1934, he was a General Staff Officer, Grade 1, 3rd Division, Bulford. From 1934 to 1938, Platt was the Brigadier commanding 7th Infantry Brigade. From 1937 to 1938, he was aide-de-camp to the King. In 1938, Platt was promoted to Major-General.

Second World War

From 1938 to 1941, Platt was Commandant of the Sudan Defence Force. In this role he carried the Arabic title of al-qa'id al-'amm ("the Leader of the Army") and was often referred to simply as "the Kaid".[1] He commanded the forces invading Italian East Africa from Sudan during the East African Campaign. His primary units were the Indian 4th Infantry Division and the Indian 5th Infantry Division. After re-taking the abandoned Kassala railway junction in Sudan on 18 January 1941, Platt advanced into Eritrea and captured Agordat on 28 January. He next faced strong Italian resistance at Keren. From 3 March to 1 April, Platt's leadership played a large part in the successful outcome of the Battle of Keren. The Eritrean capital, Asmara, was taken by the Indian 5th Infantry Division on 1 April while Keren was still being mopped up by the Indian 4th Infantry Division. After the battle of Keren, Platt lost the Indian 4th Infantry Division which returned to Egypt. On 8 April, the port city of Massawa surrendered. The forces still under Platt then marched on Amba Alagi. Platt, advancing from the Sudan, met the forces of Lieutenant-General Alan Cunningham, advancing from Kenya, at Amba Alagi. A large Italian force under Amedeo, Duke of Aosta, was dug in at Amba Alagi in what it considered impregnable positions. The British attacks started on 3 May. On 18 May, the Duke of Aosta surrendered his embattled force and the campaign in East Africa was all but over.

In 1941, Platt was promoted to lieutenant-general. From 1941 to 1945, he was the General Officer and Commander-in-Chief of the East Africa Command, which although no longer a theatre of war was an important source of manpower. Platt raised seventeen new battalions of the King's African Rifles.[2] From 1942 to 1954, Platt was the honorary Colonel of the Wiltshire Regiment. He was promoted to General in 1943.

Honours and awards

In addition to his British honours, Platt also received the Egyptian Order of the Nile (1st Class) in 1942, the Grand Cross of the Star of Ethiopia in 1945, and the French Légion d'Honneur in 1945.


Platt retired with pay in April 1945.

Army career summary

  • Commissioned officer, Northumberland Fusiliers - 1905 to 1914
  • Captain, Northumberland Fusiliers - 1914 to 1915
  • Brigade-Major, 103rd Infantry Brigade - 1915 to 1916
  • General Staff Officer, Grade 2, of the 21st Division - 1916 to 1917
  • General Staff Officer, Grade 2, of the 2nd Australian and New Zealand Army Corps - 1917 to 1918
  • General Staff Officer, Grade 1, of the 37th Division - 1918 to 1920
  • Brigade-Major, 12 Infantry Brigade, 1st Eastern Command and Galway Brigade, Irish Command - 1920 to 1922
  • Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion Wiltshire Regiment - 1930 to 1933
  • General Staff Officer 1, 3rd Division - 1933 to 1934
  • Commanding Officer 7th Brigade - 1934 to 1938
  • General Officer Commanding, British Troops in Sudan - 1938 to 1941
  • General Officer Commanding, Sudan Defence Force - 1938 to 1941
  • General Officer Commanding, Northern Front, Eritrea and Ethiopia - 1941
  • Commander in Chief, East Africa Command - 1941 to 1945


  1. Richard Mead, p. 352
  2. Richard Mead, p. 355


External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Harry Wetherall
(As GOC East Africa Force)
GOC East Africa Command
Succeeded by
Sir Kenneth Anderson

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