Percy Tanks through the Ranks; Answers to Correspondants
During World War II, how did Percy Hobart achieve a meteoric rise from lance-corporal to general in a single week?
SIR Percy Hobart's 'meteoric' rise was achieved only because he had already made the move in the opposite direction.
Born in 1885, he was commissioned into the Royal Engineers and posted to India with the 1st Bengal Sappers and Miners. In 1923 this talented, outspoken officer was transferred to the Royal Tank Corps and in 1933 promoted Inspector of Britain's Tank Corps.
In 1938, as a major general, he was sent to Egypt to raise the 7th Armoured Division (which became the famous Desert Rats) but Lieutenant General Wilson found him 'self-opinionated and lacking in stability' and said 'he cannot be relied on to discard his own ideas'.
General Wavell relieved him of his command and he retired from active service.
Back in Britain, he joined Gloucestershire's Local Defence Volunteers (soon to become the Home Guard) as a lance corporal and soon became the deputy area organiser. He remained on the Reserve of Officers as a major general.
In September 1940 Churchill was looking for a man to put in charge of tank philosophy and design and General Pike suggested Hobart, with a reminder that he had been sacked.
Taking up his previous rank, Hobart raised and trained the 11th Armoured Division before commanding the 79th Armoured Division from March 1943.
This unit was on the verge of being disbanded when it was converted to the development and training of specialised armoured devices to spearhead the invasion of France.
The 79th Armoured Division played a crucial role in the D-Day landings, deploying specially adapted tanks, developed by Hobart, including 'crabs' (with revolving chains to blow up mines), 'crocodiles' (with flame throwers), AVREs (with heavy mortars to blow up beach defences) and Duplex Drives (with canvas sides designed to 'swim' ashore from landing craft).
Nicknamed 'Hobart's funnies', detailed models of these vehicles can be seen in the National Army Museum.
Hobart (who was General Montgomery's brother-in-law) retired in 1946 and died in 1957.
Julian Humphreys, National Army Museum, Chelsea.
MAJOR General 'Hobo' Hobart's grasp of tank warfare was greatly admired by his Panzer opposition and his feat of training three separate armoured divisions remains unmatched.
Colin McAndrew, Glasgow.
Is the Bible as condemnatory of lesbians as it is of male homosexuals?
SAINT PAUL writes to the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 6: 9 to10): 'Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God.' I believe homosexual here means both men and women.
No sin is labelled worse than another. It's the sin that the Bible condemns rather than the person.
A lesbian is not seen as a worse sinner than someone who is greedy.
Timothy Anders, Garston, Liverpool.
THROUGHOUT all the chapters detailing exactly the moral behaviour prescribed for God's people, the Old Testament makes no specific reference to lesbian practice. …