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Rawlinson, Sir Henry

(307 words)

Author(s): Bourne, J.M.
Rawlinson, Sir Henry (February 20, 1869, Trent Manor [Dorset] – March 28, 1925, Delhi), British general. Rawlinson’s remarkably successful prewar career included command of a mobile column in the Second Boer War (1899–1901), of the Army Staff College (1903–1906), and of the 3rd Division (1910–1914). As commanding general of the IVth Corps, he played a vital role in the battles of 1915. Named commander in chief of the Fourth Army in February 1916, Rawlinson planned the British attack in the Somme Of…

Hamilton, Sir Ian

(524 words)

Author(s): Bourne, J.M.
Hamilton, Sir Ian (January 16, 1853, Corfu – October 12, 1947, London), British general. After attending private school, and graduating from the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, Hamilton entered the army in 1873. His early career was marked by his participation in colonial wars, among them the Afghan War (1878–1880), the Boer War of 1881, the Nile Expedition (1884/1885), the Burma Expedition (1886/1887), the Relief of Chitral (1895), and the Tirah Campaign (1897/98). He gained not only battle e…

Robertson, Sir William R.

(333 words)

Author(s): Bourne, J.M.
Robertson, Sir William R. ( January 29, 1860, Welbourn [Lincolnshire] – February 12, 1933, London), British field marshal and chief of the General Staff. Robertson joined the army as a private in 1877, the first of many steps in his singular rise to field marshal. As a man of excellent intellect and initiative, Robertson was to become the first officer to have risen through the ranks and then passed the military academy. As a staff officer he would soon make his mark. He served as quartermaster gene…

Fuller, John Frederick Charles

(373 words)

Author(s): Bourne, J.M.
Fuller, John Frederick Charles (September 1, 1878, Chichester – February 10, 1966, Falmouth), British general. Fuller was full of ideas and energy, but he was always controversial and inclined to contradiction. The army bored him, causing him to take comfort in books – primarily on military history – and he also developed an intense preoccupation with Eastern mysticism and the occult. Only gradually did he begin to take his profession seriously. After a failed attempt, he finally gained admittance t…

French, Sir John

(383 words)

Author(s): Bourne, J.M.
French, Sir John (September 28, 1852, Ripple Vale, Kent – May 21, 1925, Deal), British field marshal and British Army Commander in Chief on the Western Front 1914/1915. French’s early career included the usual colonial postings in Egypt and India. He first gained a reputation as a courageous and energetic officer as commander of a cavalry division in the Boer War (1899–1902). The war led to further key posts, not least owing to the fact that French mixed easily with politicians, especially liberal …

Haig, Sir Douglas

(689 words)

Author(s): Bourne, J.M.
Haig, Sir Douglas (June 19, 1861, Edinburgh – January 29, 1928, London; from 1917 the First Earl Haig), British field marshal (commander in chief on the Western Front, 1915–1918). In the course of a brilliant prewar career, spent mainly in staff posts, Haig made himself a reputation as one of the most capable officers in the British Army. He was promoted to major general at the early age of 44. One of his most important posts was as head of the training department at the ministry of war between 190…

Armed Forces (Great Britain)

(4,680 words)

Author(s): Bourne, J.M.
Armed Forces (Great Britain) The First World War was a highly unpleasant experience for the British. The perception of this war in public opinion was once summed up by the historian A.J.P. Taylor in the disparaging words “brave, helpless soldiers; blundering, obstinate generals; nothing achieved.” This negative view was primarily the consequence of the losses of human life, as the number of casualties among the soldiers was without precedent in the history of Great Britain. The majority of these los…