Alexander, Harold Rupert Leofric George, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis (lĕfˈrĭk) [key], 1891–1969, British field marshal. His long military career began with service in World War I, followed by a period (1934–38) in the North-West Frontier Province, India (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan). In World War II he directed the retreats at Dunkirk (1940) and in Burma (1942). Then, appointed (Aug., 1942) head of the Middle Eastern Command (see North Africa, campaigns in), he directed the conquest of Sicily (1943) and the bitter fighting in Italy. In 1944, Alexander was made field marshal and Allied commander in chief in the Mediterranean. In 1946 he was appointed governor-general of Canada (holding the post until 1952) and was created viscount. He became minister of defense under Sir Winston Churchill and was raised (1952) to the rank of earl.
See his Alexander Memoirs: 1940–1945 (1962); biography by N. Nicholson (1973); study by W. G. F. Jackson (1972).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.