Roberts, George Phillip Bradley “Pip”, born 05-11-1906 in Quetta, British India, was educated at Marlborough College and the Royal Military College in Sandhurst. He was commissioned into the Royal Tank Corps initially stationed at Lydd, in 1926. He was posted to Egypt with the Royal Tanks Corps from 1928 to 1931.
Roberts was an instructor at the Tank Driving and Maintenance School at Bovington, Dorset, from 1933 to 1937. He was again posted to Egypt for 1938 and 1939, as an Adjutant with the 6th Battalion Royal Tank Regiment . Assigned as Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General of the 7th Armoured Division (N Africa), from 16-06-1940 until 19-07-1940. From December 1940, now a Brigade Major, with the 4th Armoured Brigade in North Africa.
A year later he was Assistant Quartermaster General to XXX Corps under command of Lieutenant General Gerard Corfield “Jerry” Bucknall for Operation Crusader against Erwin Rommel. Bucknall died old age 86 on 07-012-1980. Roberts then asked his Corps commander for a regiment, and to his delight was given his old regiment, 3 Royal Tanks. His first task was to develop tactics for the new Grant tanks. The youngest tank commander, George Roberts’ contacts at HQ meant that he got his new tanks delivered immediately! Roberts won the DSO commanding 3 Royal Tanks at Gazala where he was unhorsed when his tank ‘brewed up’.
After recovering from wounds, Roberts was promoted to Brigadier commanding 22nd Armored Brigade . His brigade was responsible for stopping Rommel at Alam Halfa and then took part in the pursuit after. El Alamein winning a bar to his DSO.
Robert’s next appointment was Commander of 26th Armored Brigade in Tunisia. He led the Brigade at Fondouk where the Shermans of the Death or Glory Boys made their famous charge. The Queen’s Royal Lancers (QRL) was a cavalry regiment of the British Army From 20-07-1943 until 20-07-1943 he was Commander of the 30th Armored Brigade (UK) . He commanded the 11th Armored Division nicknamed the “Black Bull”, which fought in North West Europe, from 06-12-1943 until 1946. He succeeded Lieutenant General Montagu Brocas Burrows , who died age 72 on 17-01-1967 in Marylebon, London.
Roberts commanded the famous 7th Armoured Division, nicknamed “The Desert Rats” in 1947. He would command the “Desert Rats” through the early postwar days to their first disbandment in January 1948. He then became Director of the Royal Armoured Corps and retired from the Army in September 1949. His book From the Desert to the Baltic is an account of all his wartime battles.
Death and burial ground of Roberts, George Phillip Bradley “Pip”
Retiring in Mayfield, East Sussex, Roberts died at the very old age of 91 on his birthday, 05-11-1997. He is buried on the St Dunstan Churchyard of Mayfield, Wealden District, East Sussex.