Ronald Penney

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Sir Ronald Penney
Born 16 May 1896
Died 3 December 1964 (age 67)
Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, United Kingdom
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1914–1949
Rank Major-General
Unit Royal Engineers
Royal Corps of Signals
Commands held 1st Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order
Military Cross

Major-General Sir (William) Ronald (Campbell) Penney KBE CB DSO MC (16 May 1896 – 3 December 1964) was a senior officer of the British Army who fought in both World War I and World War II, where he commanded the 1st Infantry Division during the Battle of Anzio.

Military career

Penney joined the British Army and was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Royal Engineers in 1914 at the start of World War I during which he fought in France and Belgium.[1] After the war he transferred to the Royal Corps of Signals and then served in British India and China.[1]

He served in World War II as Signal Officer-in-Chief in the Middle East from 1941, later becoming General Sir Harold Alexander's Chief Signal Officer, and as General Officer Commanding 1st Infantry Division from late 1943 (taking part in the Anzio landings of the Italian Campaign)[2] The division came under command of U.S. VI Corps, commanded by Major General John P. Lucas, whom Penney was skeptical about and he formed a very low opinion of. He was wounded by shellfire during the fighting at Anzio, and the division was temporarily commanded by Major-General Gerald Templer, GOC of the 56th (London) Infantry Division, which had recently arrived in the beachhead.[3][4] From 1944, he was Director of Military Intelligence at Headquarters Supreme Allied Command South East Asia until the end of the war.[1]

After the Second World War ended in 1945, he became Assistant Controller Supplies (Munitions) at the Ministry of Supply until his retirement in 1949.[1] In retirement he worked at the Foreign Office.[1] From 1953 he was the first Director of the London Communications Security Agency (an agency established to study and advise on British cypher security and which later evolved to become CESG).[5][6] He stood down as Director of the London Communications Security Agency in 1957.[7]


In 1963 he married Muriel Stella Daubeny.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  2. People's War
  3. "Gerald Templer". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 2 January 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Blaxland, p. 47.
  5. "GCHQ: Britain's Most Secret Intelligence Agency by Richard J Aldrich" (PDF). Retrieved 3 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "History of CESG". CESG. Retrieved 8 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Captain Robert Stannard RN becomes Director of LCSA, taking over from Penney". Warwick University. Retrieved 8 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Conqueror 100
Military offices
Preceded by
Walter Clutterbuck
General Officer Commanding the 1st Infantry Division
Succeeded by
Charles Loewen
Government offices
Preceded by
New Post
Director of the London Communications Security Agency
Succeeded by
Robert Stannard


  • Blaxland, Gregory (1979). Alexander's Generals (the Italian Campaign 1944-1945). London: William Kimber. ISBN 0-7183-0386-5.