British Major part of D-Day deception plan has died

British Army Major General Desmond Mangham has died at the age of 90.The Major was part of a D-Day deception plan conceptualised by the Allies.

Born in Malta in the 1920s, Major Mangham joined the Royal Artillery in 1943 and went on to join the 80th Field Regiment RA. A few days before D-Day in 1944, Major Mangham and around 30 of his comrades took a vehicle and wireless each up to Loch Fyne on Scotland’s south west coast.

The troop acted as if they were in training for a major sea battle, and acted as commanding officers sending messages over the wireless. This was picked up by the Germans.

After the operation, Major Mangham was transferred to India with the 96 Royal Devon Yeomanry Field Regiment RA. He took part in the invasion of the Malaya region in South East Asia to usurp the occupying Japanese forces.

Remaining in Malaysia for some time, his regiment helped to rebuild the towns and even got the city of Ipoh’s racecourse re-opened to boost the local economy.

As World War II ended and the Cold War ensued, Major Mangham served in a variety of locations over the next ten years in the Middle East and Africa with the 26 Field Regiment.

He went on to training and teaching up and coming soldiers at Camberley in the UK and the Canadian Army Staff College. He was even asked to advise on Hollywood World War II movie, The Guns of Navarone.

Major Mangham went on to command 3 Royal Horse Artillery in the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR), and in the late 1960s was made brigadier and commander, followed by Chief of Staff at headquarters. In the 1970s, Major Mangham acted as Vice Quartermaster-General at the British Ministry of Defence. Good with numbers, government treasury officials would often seek his advice, The Telegraph reports.

Mangham retired in 1979 and was a board member of the Brewers’ Society. He was an advocate for British breweries and would advise the Chancellor of the Exchequer around beer costs and taxes.

Mangham would also go on regular trips to Lourdes in France with the sick and elderly to have them blessed. Major Mangham leaves behind his wife Susan Humfrey, two sons and two daughters.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE