Major Ivan Hirst was a British Army officer and engineer and was instrumental in reviving Volkswagen from a single factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, into a major post war automotive manufacturer. Hirst was commissioned as an Officer into the Duke of Wellington's Regiment in the 1930s. A Captain on the outbreak of the Second World War, he transferred to the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) as a Mechanical Engineering Officer in November 1941, and then to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) on its formation in November 1942. In the period after the D-Day landings, he was in charge of a tank repair facility in Belgium. He landed in Germany in the summer of 1945, along with his colleague, Colonel Charles Radclyffe, when the British Army took control of the town of Wolfsburg. The original intention was to scrap the factory and use the proceeds as war reparations. But Hirst found a pre-war prototype Volkswagen in a remote workshop on the site and realised that the factory could be used for producing cars for the British Army. Hence, Hirst and Radclyffe laid the foundations for Volkswagen's successful automotive business.