- John Winthrop Hackett Junior
Infobox Military Person
name=John Winthrop Hackett
5 November 1910- Death date and age|1997|9|10|1910|11|5|df=yes
Perth, Western Australia
commands= 4th Parachute Brigade
Deputy Chief of the General Staff
British Army of the Rhine
8th King's Royal Irish Hussars
awards=MBE , CBE , MC , DSO and Bar, CB , KCB , GCB
:"This article is about the British Army officer and author, for information about the musician, see
John Hackett (musician)."
Hackett, who was nicknamed "Shan", was born in
Perth, Western Australia. His Irish Australian father, John Winthrop Hackett Senior(1848-1916), was a newspaper man and politician, and his mother was Deborah Drake-Brockman (also known as Lady Deborah Hackett, Lady Deborah Moulden and Dr Deborah Buller Murphy, 1887-1965), a prominent mining company director.
John Hackett Junior received
secondary schooling at Geelong Grammar School, after which he travelled to Londonto study painting at the Central School of Art. He then completed Greats and Modern History at New College, Oxford University. As his degree was not good enough for an academic career, Hackett joined the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussarsin 1933, having previously joined the Supplementary Reserve of Officers in 1931. ["The Desert Rats, 7th Armoured Division", Robin Neillands, Aurum Press, 2005, p18]
World War II
Hackett fought with the
British Armyin World War IIin the Syria-Lebanon campaign, where he was wounded, and in the North African campaign, where he was wounded again when his Stuart tankwas hit.
In 1944, Hackett commanded the 4th Parachute Brigade in the Allied assault on Arnhem, in
Operation Market Garden. In the battle at Arnhem BrigadierHackett was severely wounded in the stomach, was captured and taken to the St. Elizabeth Hospital in Arnhem. A German doctor at the Hospital wanted to administer a lethal injection to Hackett, because he thought that the case was hopeless. However he was operated on by Lipmann Kessel, who with superb surgery managed to save the brigadier's life. After a period of recuperation, he managed to escape with the help of the Dutch underground. Although he was unfit to be moved, the Germans were about to move him to a POW camp. He was taken by ‘Piet van Arnhem’, a resistance worker from Ede, and driven to Ede. They were stopped on the way but Hackett had extra bloody bandages applied, to make him look even worse than he was. Piet told the checkpoint that they were taking him to hospital. They were let through despite the hospital being in the opposite direction, from which they had just come.
He was hidden by a Dutch family called de Nooij who lived at No. 5 Torenstraat in Ede, an address that no longer exists due to development. The de Nooij family nursed the brigadier back to health over a period of several months and he then managed to escape again with the help of the underground. He remained friends with the de Nooij family for the rest of their lives, visiting them immediately they were liberated, bearing gifts. Hackett wrote about this experience in his book "I Was A Stranger" in 1978.
Post War Career
General Hackett's postwar career included, Commandant, Royal Military College of Science,
Shrivenham, 1958-1961; General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Ireland Command, 1961-1963; [ [http://www.kcl.ac.uk/lhcma/summary/ha05-001.shtmlLiddell Hart Centre for Military Archives] ] Deputy Chief of the General Staff, 1963-1964, and Commander in Chief, British Army of the Rhine, 1965-1966. He later became Commander, Northern Army Group, in NATO.
After retirement from the Army, Sir John continued to be active in several areas. From 1968 to 1975 he was Principal of
King's College London. He proved to be a popular figure, addressing gatherings of students on several occasions, and attending at least one NUS demonstration for higher student grants.
In 1978, Sir John wrote a novel, ', which was a fictionalized scenario of
World War IIIbased on a Soviet Army invasion of West Germanyin 1985. The novel was highly successful, though criticized for being dry and impersonal. It was followed in 1982 by ', which elaborated on the original, including more detail from a Soviet perspective.
His (British) military decorations included the Knight Grand Cross of the Bath, Commander of the British Empire,
Distinguished Service Orderand Bar, Military Cross, Twice Mentioned in Dispatches.
(Note: authorship dates may not be reliable and are for guidance only)
* "Popski's Private Army", 1950, ISBN 0-304-36143-7 (Foreword only)
* "The Profession Of Arms", 1963, ISBN 0-02-547120-1
* "I Was A Stranger", 1978, ISBN 0-395-27087-1
* "The Third World War", 1978, ISBN 0-425-04477-7
* "Third World War: Lecture", 1979 ISBN 0-85287-132-5
* "Arnhem Doctor", 1981, ISBN 0-85613-324-8 (Foreword only)
* "The Third World War: The Untold Story", 1982, ISBN 0-283-98863-0
* "The Middle East Commandos", 1988, ISBN 0-7183-0645-7 (Foreword only)
* "Warfare In the Ancient World", 1989, ISBN 0-283-99591-2
* "The Desert Rats: History of the 7th Armoured Division", 1990, ISBN 1-85367-063-4 (Introduction only)
* "The Devil's Birthday: Bridges to Arnhem, 1944", 1992, ISBN 0-85052-352-4
* "The History of the Glider Pilot Regiment: An Official History", 1992, ISBN 0-85052-326-5
* "One Night In June", 1994, 1853104922 (Introduction only)
* "Map of the D-Day Landings", 1994, ISBN 0-7028-2668-5 (Foreword only)
* "To Save A Life", 1995, ISBN 1-898094-10-1
* "The Biography of General Sir John "Shan" Hackett GCB DSO MC", by Roy Fullick 2003, ISBN 0-85052-975-1
* [http://www.nntk.net/arnhem_1944/john_hackett.html Biographical website on General Sir John Hackett]
* [http://www.pegasusarchive.org/arnhem/john_hackett.htm Account of Sir John Hackett's part in the Battle of Arnhem]
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