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Sir Victor Morven Fortune
Born (1883-08-21)August 21, 1883
Died January 2, 1949(1949-01-02) (aged 65)
Place of birth Blelack, Scotland
Place of death Dalswinton, Scotland
Allegiance British Army
Rank Major-General
Commands held 1st Bn Black Watch
46th Brigade
1st Bn Seaforth Highlanders
5th Infantry Brigade
52nd (Lowland) Division
51st (Highland) Division
Battles/wars First World War
Second World War
- Battle of France
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order
Légion d'honneur (France)
Order of the Phoenix (Greece)
Other work Deputy Lieutenant, County of Perth
Honorary Colonel, The Seaforth Highlanders

Major-General Sir Victor Morven Fortune KBE, CB, DSO (21 August 1883 – 2 January 1949) was a British Army officer. He saw service in both World Wars. He commanded the 51st (Highland) Division during the Battle of France and was subsequently trapped and obliged to surrender to the Germans on 12 June 1940.

Military career[edit | edit source]

Fortune was commissioned into The Black Watch in 1903 and served in the First World War as Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion The Black Watch from 1916[1] and Commander of 46th Brigade from 1918.[2]

He became commanding Officer of 1st Battalion the Seaforth Highlanders in 1927 and Commander of the 5th Infantry Brigade in 1930.[1] He became General Officer Commanding 52nd (Lowland) Division in 1935 and General Officer Commanding the 51st Highland Division in 1937.[1]

The 51st Division remained in France after the general evacuation from Dunkirk, having been assigned to the French X Corps. After naval evacuation proved impossible and supplies of ammunition had been exhausted, Major General Fortune was forced to surrender the greater part of the Highland Division at St Valery en Caux.[3] One brigade had earlier withdrawn to Le Havre and avoided capture. General Fortune spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of war. As senior British officer in captivity in Germany, he worked to improve the conditions of the men under his command. He suffered a stroke in 1944 but refused repatriation.[1] He was finally liberated in April 1945 and made KBE shortly after.[1]

Several writers have questioned the decision to remain with the French during the battle. However, General Charles de Gaulle stated, 'For my part, I can say that the comradeship of arms, sealed on the battlefield of Abbeville in May–June 1940, between the French armoured division, which I had the honour to command, and the gallant 51st Scottish Division under General Fortune, played its part in the decision which I made to continue the fight at the side of the Allies, to the end, come what may'. And he concluded by quoting the old motto of the Compagnie Ecossaise: 'omni modo fidelis' - 'faithful in every way'.[4]

Honours and awards[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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