Surnames beginning 'I' to 'M'

Profiles of Western Front generals, part of the Lions led by donkeys research project.

James Lochhead Jack

 

(1880-1962)

Brigadier-General

DSO*. GOC Infantry Brigade 

Merchiston Castle School

Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

 

James Lochhead Jack was the son of Peter Jack of Paisley. He was commissioned in the Cameronians from the Militia on 9 September 1903. At the age of 23 his Regular military career had made something of a late start, but he had served with the 1st Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the Scottish Horse in the South African War while a Militia officer. He was Adjutant of 1st Cameronians from November 1908 until November 1911, but went to war with his battalion as a company commander. 1st Cameronians were originally deployed to France as Lines of Communication troops before joining the 19th Brigade, an independent formation attached to no division. Jack was Staff Captain at the HQ of 19th Brigade from 28 August until 2 November 1914 before returning to regimental duty. He was appointed CO 2nd Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, 23rd Brigade, 8th Division, on 22 August 1916, commanding it until 31 July 1917, when he was wounded on Bellewaarde Ridge during the first day of Third Ypres. He did not return to active service for nearly a year, but this time as CO of his old battalion. Jack commanded 1st Cameronians until promoted GOC 28th Brigade on 11 September 1918. He was 38. This translation from captain to general in four years says more about the war than about Jack, who was a notably unambitious man whose horizons in the normal course of events would not have risen above the battalion level. The original 28th Brigade had been broken up in May 1916 to accommodate the arrival in 9th (Scottish) Division of the South African Brigade. It was the withdrawal of the South African Brigade from the line that promoted the reforming of 28th Brigade. Jack commanded it for the rest of the war and during the final battles in Flanders.

After the Armistice Jack reverted to his regimental rank of lieutenant-colonel, commanding 9th Cameronians (March-April 1919). His retirement on 22 April 1921, however, did not end his military career. He commanded 5/6th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders TA (1925-9) and the Argyll and Sutherland Brigade TA (1929-33) and raised and commanded the Market Harborough Battalion Home Guard (1940). Jack’s principal importance, however, is as a diarist. He kept a diary throughout the war. It was published in 1964 as General Jack’s Diary, 1914-1918, edited by John Terraine. The title is somewhat misleading. Jack was a general for less than three months. The diary has most to say about his period as a battalion commander, particularly of 2nd West Yorkshires in 1916-17. Jack hated the war, hated trench raids and admired the BEF’s senior commanders struggling to fight a resolute enemy ‘with amateur staffs’. He set an outstanding example of duty and personal courage to his subordinates, mostly ‘temporary gentlemen’. He applied the old pre-war Regular standards of smartness and discipline, though he was never callous. Some of his junior officers found this irksome and irrelevant. Others, notably his Adjutant Sidney Rogerson, found their CO a source of inspiration and confidence, though they never understood him, not that Jack was interested in being understood. He did not seek approval. His diary remains an important source for our understanding of trench warfare and a powerful testimony to the professional competence and humanity of the best type of pre-war regimental officer.

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

Cyril Henry Leigh James

 

(1861-1946)

Brigadier-General

GOC Infantry Brigade

RMC Sandhurst

Northumberland Fusiliers

 

Cyril Henry Leigh James was the son of the Rev R Lee James, Vicar of Watford. He was commissioned into the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry in September 1882, but two months later transferred to the Northumberland Fusiliers. He saw active service in South Africa, later commanding the 1st Battalion of his regiment (1905-9). In June 1911 he succeeded Colonel A G Watson as GOC Warwickshire Infantry Brigade (later 143rd Brigade, 48th (South Midland) Division). He played an important part in the brigade’s peacetime training and in its preparation for war. James also commanded the unit during its first year on the Western Front, April 1915-May 1916, when he was replaced by Brigadier-General B C Dent. He left behind a reputation for calmness under fire and for looking after the welfare of his men. He was a regular visitor to the trenches. James was not unemployed for long.

In June 1916 he was given command of 177th Brigade, 59th (2nd North Midland) Division TF, then stationed in Ireland. He accompanied the brigade to France in March 1917 and led it in the battles of the Menin Road Ridge, Polygon Wood and Cambrai. 59th Division suffered very badly in the German attack of 21 March 1918: 177th Brigade was the only one fit to resume the fight the following day, coming under the orders of 40th Division. In May 1918 177th Brigade, together with the other infantry of 59th Division, was reduced to training cadre establishment. The brigade was then reconstituted and confined to construction and garrison duties. It did not re-enter the line and become involved in active operations until 21 August, playing only a limited part in the Great Advance.

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

Carl Herman Jess

 

(1884-1948)

Brigadier-General

CMG, DSO GOC Infantry Brigade 

Violet Street State School

AIF

 

Carl Herman Jess was one of nine children of George Jess, master painter, a German emigrant to Australia.  He began his working life as a school teacher, seemingly having first taught himself.  His military interests were apparent from the start.  He joined the 5th Battalion Victorian Infantry at the age of 18, transferring to the Australian Permanent Military Force as a sergeant in June 1906.  He was commissioned in July 1909.  Jess was a dedicated military professional with few outside interests.  He wasted no opportunity to further his military education, including enrolling on a military science course at the University of Sydney.  His wartime career was closely associated with that of his fellow ‘German’, John Monash.  His appointment as Monash’s staff captain at 4th Brigade gave Jess his first opportunity. 

He served on Gallipoli from May 1915 as brigade major at 2nd Brigade and was given his first command, as CO 7th Battalion AIF, early in 1916, winning a DSO in the Australians’ first major attack on the Western Front, at Pozières, in September.  His appointment as the first Australian to act as an instructor at the Senior Officers’ School, Aldershot, in the spring of 1917 marked the beginning of a wider recognition of his abilities. On his return to the Western Front he served on the staff of I Anzac Corps and, from January 1918, as GSO1 of Monash’s 3rd Division.  Jess’s reputation as coming man was confirmed by his appointment as GOC 10th Brigade, 3rd Australian Division, in October 1918.  He was 34.  By this time the Australian Corps was out of the Line and victory only days away.  There was a sense in which the war ended too soon for Jess. 

He was clearly an able soldier, as his brilliant passage through the British Staff College after the war shows, but the inter-war Australian army offered few opportunities to a man of his talents.  It took the outbreak of the Second World War to provide him with a satisfactory professional challenge.  As Chairman of the Manpower Committee (1938–44), he was a key figure in the mobilisation of Australian society for war.  Lieutenant-General Sir Carl Jess retired from the Australian army in April 1946.

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

Alexander Jobson

 

(1875-1933)

Brigadier-General

DSO. GOC Infantry Brigade

Clunes Public School, Eton Public School

AIF

 

Alexander Jobson was born in Clunes, Victoria, the son of Christopher Jobson, a merchant.  He left school at 14 and started work as a clerk with the Australian Mutual Provident Society in Melbourne.  He later qualified as an actuary and public accountant.  In 1902 he moved to Sydney, where he worked as an actuary for the Equitable Life Assurance Company.  In 1906 he set up as an accountant in private practice.  From 1910 to 1916 he worked as a financial journalist on the Sydney Sun.  His column was noted for its frankness, not always a quality associated with financial journalists.  Jobson’s military career ran in parallel with his financial career.  He joined the Victorian Scottish Rifles in August 1898 and was commissioned in December 1899.  He maintained his military connections after moving to Sydney by joining the New South Wales Scottish Rifles.  When the war broke out Jobson was commanding officer of the 34th Infantry Regiment.  He was not appointed to the AIF until 10 February 1916, when he was given command of 9th Brigade.  This formation left Australia in May 1916.  After training on Salisbury Plain the brigade was deployed to France on 26 November 1916 as part of 3rd Australian Division, commanded by John Monash.

9th Australian Brigade’s first major action was the Battle of Messines (June 1917).  Jobson’s planning and performance were excellent, but the personal cost was high.  He appeared at a divisional conference on 24 July in a state of great agitation, complaining that too much had been demanded of 9th Brigade and too little of the other brigades in 3rd Division.  Monash had previously shown great faith in Jobson’s abilities: Jobson had twice commanded 3rd Australian Division in Monash’s absence.  But faced with evidence that Jobson had lost his nerve, Monash acted with characteristic ruthlessness.  He offered Jobson the opportunity to ‘resign’ and Jobson took it.  He was a decent, able man, unable to deal with the realities of command under combat conditions.

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

Henry Karslake

 

(1879-1942)

Brigadier-General

CMG DSO

Deputy to GOC Tank Corps 

Harrow School, RMA Woolwich psc

Royal Horse & Royal Field Artillery

 

Henry Karslake was the only son of Lewis Karslake.  He was commissioned in the Royal Artillery in June 1898.  He saw active service in the South African War and was awarded the DSO.  He passed staff college in 1913.  When the war broke out he was gazzetted OC 129 Howitzer Battery, but from December 1914 his wartime career took the staff path, first as a brigade major, then as GSO2 Third Army (1915–16), GSO1 50th (Northumbrian) Division TF (1916–17) and 4th Division (1917–18). He became GSO1 Tank Corps on 1 August 1918 and attained general officer rank as BGGS and Deputy to the GOC Tank Corps, Sir Hugh Elles, six days before the Armistice.  Karslake was knighted in 1935 following a tour as GOC Baluchistan District.  Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Karslake retired in 1938, but was re-employed in France at the beginning of the Second World War.

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

Henry Brewster Percy Lion Kennedy

 

CMG. DSO GOC RAF Group, HMS Britannia

Royal Air Force

 

Henry Brewster Percy Lion (‘Kid’) Kennedy was the son of Vice-Admiral J J Kennedy CB.  He was commissioned in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps on 15 October 1898.  He soon saw active service in South Africa, where he served not only with his regiment but also on the staffs of Lieutenant-General Sir W Pitcairn Campbell and Major-General F D V Wing.  The remainder of Kennedy’s pre-war military service was somewhat anodyne, but on 1 September 1913 he was appointed Adjutant 21st Battalion London Regiment (‘1st Surrey Rifles’) TF.  It was a fateful posting.  He was still Adjutant of 21st London when the war broke out.  He became the battalion’s CO on 1 March 1915, the day before its parent division, 47th (2nd London), was warned for service in France.  Kennedy commanded 21st London until 16 May 1917, winning a DSO in 1916.  On 18 May 1917 he was promoted GOC 140th Brigade, 47th Division, and commanded it for the rest of the war.  He was 38.  

Kennedy was unusual in spending the entire war with the same division and, by the end of the war, was the longest serving officer in it.  His promotion did not change him.  He retained the instincts of a regimental soldier.  He visited his front line daily and maintained an open contempt for the ‘staff’.  He refused to wear the red tabs of a brigadier-general, commenting caustically that ‘once a man has put on red tabs it is only a matter of time before he becomes a *******’. His demeanour was always cheerful, sociable and energetic.  Rowland Feilding, who became a battalion commander in 140th Brigade in August 1918, wrote to his wife that he had ‘never met a more companionable man than Kennedy’.  Feilding immediately detected the ‘family feeling’ in 140th Brigade that was ‘so necessary for a successful war’.  Before Feilding’s first attack as CO 15th London, Kennedy sent him two bottles of Veuve Cliquot 1906 that he had acquired during the German Spring Offensive.  Feilding described the gift as typical of Kennedy’s thoughtfulness and generosity.  (Equally typically, Feilding passed the champagne to his company commanders, who passed it on to their sergeants.  Kennedy’s influence evidently ran deep in his brigade.)  

Unlike many Regular officers, especially those in Territorial formations, Kennedy was prepared to trust his subordinates.  Feilding recalled being woken during the middle of the night by a telephone call from Kennedy with instructions for an attack the following morning.  ‘Got your map?’ asked Kennedy.  ‘Yes, General,’ Feilding replied.  ‘See line so and so?’  Yes, General.’  ‘Well, you start from there at 8 a.m..  Your objective is this line …. [giving a further line of map readings].’  Then he rang off.  ‘He never fusses, than God,’ Feilding commented, ‘and he leaves all details to the men whose duty it is to do the job.  And that, I venture to think is the proper way to fight battles.’  Brigadier-General Kennedy remained in the army after the war, serving with the British Army of the Rhine until 1924, when he went on half pay.  He retired on 1 June 1927.  He was Honorary Colonel of 21st London from 1922 until 1932.

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

Charles Arthur Ker

 

(1875-1962)

Brigadier-General

CMG CBE DSO

Head of British Mission Portuguese Expeditionary Force 

Clifton College RMA Woolwich psc

Royal Garrison Artillery

 

Charles Arthur Ker’s career began straightforwardly enough, but his war had an unusual and unpredictable ending. He was commissioned in the Royal Artillery on 15 June 1895. He soon saw active service in Northern Nigeria (1898-9) (where he won the DSO) and South Africa (1899-1901). He was Adjutant RGA Plymouth (1902-5) and Instructor RMC (1906-9). He passed Staff College in 1911. Heavy gunners with psc before their names were not thick on the ground in the pre-war British Army. In the forthcoming war, which would see a huge increase in demand for both heavy gunners and trained staff officers, Ker’s services were likely to be at a premium. Initially, however, the circle was squared with his appointment as DAA&QMG South West Coast Defences (1912-14), a staff position involving heavy guns.

When the war broke out Ker was GSO2 at the Royal Military College of Canada, at Kingston, Ontario. He later served as Brigade Major 21st Divisonal Artillery (1914-15), GSO2 (1915), then GSO1 (5 February-24 May 1916) 2nd (Canadian) Division, GSO1 63rd (Royal Naval) Division (25 May-28 July 1916) and GSO1 Lines of Communication Area. Ker’s background and service record provide no clue to his final appointment, on 7 January 1918, as Head of the British Mission to the Portuguese Expeditionary Force. Liaison work of this kind was usually the province of aristocratic (even Royal) cavalry-types, well versed in the black arts of diplomacy, not of RGA ‘boffins’. Brigadier-General Ker continued in the army after the war. He was GSO1 at the War Office (1920-23), Colonel Commandant RA (Heavy) Southern Command (1923-26), Colonel Commandant RA Southern Command (1926-27), GOC TA Air Defence Formations (1928-31) and GOC 3rd (Indian) Division and Meerut Divisional Area (1931-34). Major-General Ker retired in 1934.

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

Sir David Alexander Kinloch

 

(1856-1944)

Brigadier-General

CB

GOC Infantry Brigade 

Eton College, Oxford University

Grenadier Guards

 

Sir David Alexander Kinloch 11 Bt. of Gilmerton was the son of Sir Alexander Kinloch 10th Bt. After leaving Eton he went up to University College, Oxford, graduating BA in 1877. He was commissioned in the 96th Foot on 11 May 1878, but transferred to the Grenadier Guards, in which his father had served, the following October. He was Adjutant of the 1st Battalion from April 1885 until 1890. He commanded the 1st Battalion from January 1900 until February 1903, including active service in the South African War. After a period on half pay, he retired on 2 June 1906 in the rank of Brevet Colonel. After the establishment of the Territorial Force, in 1908, he was given command of 6th London Brigade, 2nd London Division, a post he held until April 1912. On the outbreak of the European war he offered his services to the government and was given command of 70th Brigade, 23rd Division, a New Army formation then assembling at Frensham, near Aldershot. Kinloch commanded 70th Brigade from 25 September 1914 until 11 September 1915, shortly after its arrival in France, when he was replaced. This was typical of the fate of many ‘dug-outs’. He was 59.

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

Harry Hugh Sidney Knox

 

(1873 - 1971)

CB, DSO. BGGS

St Columba's College psc

Northamptonshire Regiment

 

Harry Hugh Sidney Knox was the fourth son of Vesey Edward Knox of Newcastle, Co. Down.  After militia service with 5th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (1890–3) he was commissioned in the Northamptonshire Regiment on 9 September 1893.  He saw active service on the North-West Frontier of India (1897–8) and during a period of secondment to the King’s African Rifles (1900–1) in Uganda.  His career then followed the path trodden by ambitious career soldiers.  After a period as Adjutant 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment (1902–5) he entered the Staff College at Quetta in 1908, graduating psc the following year.  He was GSO3 School of Musketry, India (1910–11) and GSO2 HQ India (1911–14).  Knox did not get to France until January 1915, but he remained on the Western Front as a staff officer for the rest of the war.  After a period as GSO2 V Corps, he was appointed GSO1 15th (Scottish) Division on 25 November 1915.  He was chief of staff of 15th Division until 14 May 1917, serving under Major-General F W N McCracken during the Somme and Arras battles. 

Knox succeeded Louis Vaughan as BGGS XV Corps on 15 May 1917, retaining the post for the rest of the war, with a short break in August 1918 during which he temporarily commanded 29th Division.  He was chief of staff to Sir John DuCane and Sir Beauvoir de Lisle, two capable and demanding men.  He was awarded the DSO in 1917.  After the war Knox’s career maintained its upward trajectory.  He was GOC 3rd Brigade (1923–6), Director of Military Training (1926–30), GOC 3rd Division (1930–2) and Lieutenant of the Tower of London (1933–5).  He was knighted in 1935.  After his retirement from the army in 1938 General Sir Harry Knox was Governor of the Royal Hospital Chelsea (1938–43).

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

Francis Fane Lambarde

 

(1868-1948)

Brigadier-General

DSO, CMG. CRA

RMA Woolwich 

Royal Horse & Royal Field Artillery

 

Francis Fane Lambarde was the son of Francis Lambarde of Sevenoaks, Kent. He was commissioned in the Royal Artillery on 17 February 1888 and served in the South African War (1901-2). His subsequent career was mundane and short-lived. He joined the Reserve of Officers in May 1907 and retired from the army in February 1910. Major Lambarde returned to the colours on the outbreak of war, winning a DSO while serving on the staff of 1st Canadian Division in 1915. He reached general officer rank on 11 September 1918 as CRA 30th Division. Brigadier-General Lambarde was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquarians.

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

Edgar Allan Lambart

 

(1857-1930)

Brigadier-General

CB.  CRA 

RMA Woolwich 

Royal Horse & Royal Field Artillery

 

Edgar Allan Lambart was the son of Hon. Oliver W Lambart RN. He was commissioned in the Royal Artillery on 19 August 1875. After service in the Afghan War (1878-80) and in South Africa (1901), he was later CRA London Territorials (April 1908-March 1909) and CRA 2nd London Division, TF (April 1909-April 1910). He retired in the rank of colonel on 1 April 1910. He returned to the colours on the outbreak of war, was promoted brigadier-general and charged with raising and training the artillery of a new formation, 15th (Scottish) Division. He was replaced on 25 August 1915 within six weeks of the division’s deployment to France, a month before the division’s baptism of fire at the battle of Loos. He was 58; his successor, Brigadier-General E W Alexander VC, was fourteen years younger. Colonel Lambart later commanded a Divisional Ammunition Column and was made a CB in 1917.

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

Charles Laverock Lambe

 

CMG. DSO GOC RAF Group, HMS Britannia

Royal Air Force

 

Charles Laverock Lambe’s career represents in microcosm the impact of the Great War on Britain’s armed forces. When the war broke out Lambe was a Commander in the Royal Navy. When it ended he was a Brigadier-General in the Royal Air Force. Lambe’s career took its decisive turn when he transferred to the Royal Naval Air Service in 1916. In 1917 he was OC RNAS units on the Belgian Coast. After the RNAS and the RFC amalgamated in April 1918 to form the Royal Air Force, Lambe found himself GOC VII Brigade RAF. Later, he was GOC 5th (Operations) Group, charged with the strategic bombing of Germany. He was Director of Equipment at the Air Ministry from 1919 until 1922, AOC RAF Halton from 1924 until 1928 and AOC Coastal Area from 1928 until 1931, when he retired in the rank of Air Vice-Marshal.

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

Thomas Stanton Lambert

 

Major-General

CB, CMG GOC Infantry Division, Charterhouse RMC, Sandhurst psc

East Lancashire Regiment

 

Thomas Stanton Lambert was the son of the Rev. R U Lambert, Vicar of Christ Church, Bradford-on-Avon. He was commissioned in the East Lancashire Regiment in 1891 and served in India. When the war broke out he was DAAG at the War Office with the rank of major. He assumed command of the 1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment in September 1914 after its CO had been killed on the Aisne. Lambert was himself wounded a fortnight later. The wound was severe, causing him to lose the use of his right lung. Following his recovery, in March 1915, he was successively DAAG 37th Division, CO 2nd Battalion East Lancashire Regiment, and acting AAG at GHQ. On 8 March 1916 he was promoted GOC 69th Brigade, 23rd Division. 

He commanded this formation during the capture of Contalmaison (July 1916) and the actions at Le Sars (October 1916), Hill 60, Menin Road (September 1917) and Polygon Wood (September-October 1917). He also commanded the brigade in Italy during the winter of 1917-18 until recalled to the Western Front, on 31 May 1918, to command 32nd Division in succession to Major-General R J Bridgford. He was 47. 32nd Division achieved its best attacking results under Lambert’s command, spearheading Fourth Army’s attacks alongside the Australians between August and October 1918. It was Lambert who informed Field-Marshal Haig of mounting German resistance at Amiens, intelligence that persuaded Haig to refuse Foch’s order to continue the offensive and to switch the axis of advance to Byng’s Third Army on the Scarpe. 

In 32nd Division’s last action of the war, the Passage of the Sambre-Oise Canal, Lambert chose to cross at many points on a broad front. As a result, he was compelled to keep his artillery well back from the canal. This method was in marked contrast to that adopted by Major-General E P Strickland’s 1st Division, on Lambert’s flank. Strickland chose to cross at two points and then fan out. This allowed him to bring his artillery up close along parts of the canal where no crossings were made. Strickland’s method proved the sounder. 32nd Division captured fewer prisoners (250 against 1st Division’s 1,600) and incurred heavier casualties. One of the casualties was the poet, Wilfred Owen. Lambert died as the result of wounds inflicted in an IRA ambush at Moydrum on 21 June 1921 while GOC Dublin Brigade.

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

(James) Gordon Legge

 

Major-General

CB CMG AIF. GOC Infantry Division, 

Cranleigh School Sydney, Sydney University

 

(James) Gordon Legge was the eldest of eight sons and a daughter of James Henry Legge, a London banker who emigrated to New South Wales with his family in 1878. Legge had to overcome considerable financial deprivation as a young man, but he showed characteristic determination in pursuing an education, graduating BA (1884), MA (1887) and LLB (1890) from the University of Sydney. He began his working life as a teacher at Sydney Boys’ High School (1886-90) and he retained something of the schoolmaster about him for the rest of his life. This was not to endear him to higher military authority and was pregnant with difficulties. He was called to the bar in 1891, practising as a barrister for three years. Legge had served briefly in the New South Wales Militia (1885-6) before securing a commission in the 1st New South Wales Regiment (October 1887). In 1894 he joined the permanent forces of New South Wales and became a career soldier.

Legge’s pre-Great War military career was extensive by Australian standards. He had served a tour of duty in India with the British Army (1894). He had commanded an infantry company in the South African War before becoming adjutant of 1st New South Wales Mounted Rifles (1899-1900). He remained in South Africa after his unit had returned to Australia, serving as intelligence officer to Lieutenant-Colonel Beauvoir de Lisle. After returning to Australia Legge played a key part, together with W T Bridges, in establishing the scheme of universal military service. This brought him into the close company of politicians, providing a source of suspicion about his character and motives. In January 1912 he became Australian representative on the Imperial General Staff in London. In 1914 he returned home as Chief of the [Australian] General Staff, reaching Sydney a month before the outbreak of war in Europe.

Legge spent the early part of the war superintending training, but in May 1915 he was chosen to succeed Bridges as GOC 1st Australian Division and commander of the AIF, following Bridges’ death at the hands of a Turkish sniper on Gallipoli. The appointment was not met with acclamation on the peninsula and resulted in protests from commanders already in place, some of whom were senior to Legge and more experienced in combat. Their protests were to no avail. This was an unfortunate beginning. Legge was handicapped from the start by the feeling that he owed his position to political influence rather than military ability. Legge did nothing to make himself acceptable by immediately quarrelling with the GOC Anzac Corps, Sir William Birdwood. Birdwood soon removed his uncomfortable subordinate by transferring him to the command of 2nd Australian Division, then training in Egypt. 2nd Division was not committed to the Gallipoli fighting until August, when it was used piecemeal. Legge fell sick in November 1915 and was evacuated to Egypt.

Legge’s first real test as a combat commander was also his last. 2nd Australian Division deployed to the Western Front in March-April 1916. On 28-29 July the division attempted to capture the Pozières Heights, in the first big Australian attack of the war in France. The attack was made with only one day’s notice at the insistence of the GOC Reserve [later Fifth] Army, General Sir Hubert Gough. Preparations were sketchy and artillery support virtually non-existent. The attack was a complete failure and casualties were severe. The position was eventually taken on 4-5 August, at a total cost of 6,848 casualties, a third of the division’s strength. Charles Bean, the Australian official historian, later wrote that the area was ‘more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth’. At this stage of the war, when things went wrong, as they often did, blame descended to the lowest level at which it could effectively stick. Legge carried the can. When Legge fell ill in January 1917, Birdwood took the opportunity to replace him on ‘health grounds’. Legge lived with the bitterness of his dismissal for the rest of his life.

Legge’s command of 2nd Australian Division has received harsh treatment, not least from Bean, whose strictures have cast a shadow over Legge’s reputation. Bean was not alone in judging Legge severely. Ian Hamilton, who knew Legge from South African days and who had commanded the MEF on Gallipoli, admitted Legge’s intellectual qualities but stigmatised him as quarrelsome and self-seeking. Haig also had doubts about Legge as a combat commander and described his division as ‘ignorant’, a description that could be applied to most formations of the BEF in mid-1916. Legge was undoubtedly tactless and given to flights of fancy. He had an ability to make enemies in the touchy Australian military establishment that bordered on genius. But he was an excellent trainer of troops and an able military administrator. He had the misfortune to command at a period in the war when it was difficult to look good.

After his return to Australia Legge served again as Australian CGS and later as Commandant of the RMC Duntroon (1920-22). His younger son was killed in action on the Western Front.

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

Philip Leveson-Gower

 

Brigadier-General

CMG, DSO. GOG Infantry Brigade

Sherwood Foresters

 

Philip Leveson-Gower was the son of Hugh Broke Boscawen Leveson Gower and Janet Elizabeth Cherry, daughter of the Rev. H C Cherry, and a cousin of the Duke of Sutherland. He was commissioned in the Sherwood Foresters from the Militia on 9 September 1891. He served in the Tirah Expedition (1897-8) and in South Africa (1899-1901), where he was mentioned in despatches. The rest of his pre-war career was uneventful and, in August 1914, he found himself senior major of 2nd Battalion Sherwood Foresters at the age of 43. His CO, Lieutenant-Colonel Cyril Crofton-Atkins, had been appointed only in February 1914. In the normal course of events, Leveson-Gower might have expected to succeed him in February 1918. In fact, he succeeded on 7 October 1914 and commanded the battalion until 28 November 1915. 

After recovering from his second wound, Lieutenant-Colonel Leveson-Gower was promoted brigadier-general on 7 February 1916 and given command of 49th Brigade, 16th (Irish) Division, a New Army formation recruited in Catholic Ireland, about whose loyalty many were to express doubts in the aftermath of the Easter Rising of April 1916. Leveson-Gower commanded 140th Brigade until 5 May 1918, by when 16th Division had been taken out of the line for re-organization and re-fitting after the calamitous casualties it suffered between 21 March and 3 April 1918 during the German offensive on the Somme. Despite the protestations of 16th Division’s commanding officer, Major-General Amyatt Hull, General Sir Hubert Gough, GOC Fifth Army, had insisted on holding his front line in strength. 49th Brigade was one of 16th Division’s forward brigades on 21 March and suffered the full fury of the German bombardment. Leveson-Gower aggravated his difficulties by ordering a disastrous counter-attack at 3.45 p.m. on 21 March. The attack stood no chance of success in the face of violent German shelling and ought not to have been ordered. Leveson-Gower, himself, seemed to realise this. He succeeded in cancelling orders to 1st Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers, but - for reasons that are far from apparent - failed to cancel the orders to 6th Battalion Connaught Rangers, a battalion borrowed from the 16th Division’s reserve brigade, the 47th. The Munsters’ failure to cover the Connaughts’ right flank doomed what little chance the attack had. 6th Connaughts suffered casualties so severe that they were reduced to cadre and later disbanded. Leveson-Gower apologised to the CO 6th Connaughts, Lieutenant-Colonel Rowland Feilding, who was unimpressed. Brigadier-General Leveson-Gower was not offered command of the reformed 49th Brigade. 

Besides twice being wounded while commanding 2nd Sherwood Foresters, he was also gassed while commanding his brigade on 15 August 1917, returning to duty within a week. He was awarded a DSO in 1917 and five times mentioned in despatches. He retired from the army on 8 November 1919.

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

Robert Douglas Longe

 

(1857-1916)

Brigadier-General

GOC Infantry Brigade

Middlesex Brigade

 

Robert Douglas Longe, a former CO 1st Battalion Middlesex Regiment (1902–6), was ‘dug out’ of retirement in September 1916 to become the first commander of 49th Brigade, in the 16th (Irish) Division.  Longe trained the brigade and deployed with it to France in December 1915, but succumbed within a few weeks to the purge of senior officers carried out by the 16th Division’s new commander, William Hickie.  Longe held no more commands and died at home on 1 December 1916, shortly before his 59th birthday.

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

Sir John Raynford Longley

 

(1867-1953)

Brigadier-General

KCMG, CB, GOC Infantry Brigade, 

Cheltenham College

East Surrey Regiment

 

John Raynsford Longley was the son of Charles Thomas Longley, of the Indian Civil Service. He was commissioned in the East Surrey Regiment from the Militia on 4 May 1887. He was Adjutant 1st East Surrey (1890-93), Adjutant Canadian Scouts (1902) in the South African War and Adjutant Volunteers (April-November 1903). Longley became CO 1st East Surrey on 21 June 1911. In August 1914 he took his battalion to war as part of 14th Brigade, 5th Division, in the original BEF. During the savage and chaotic fighting round Ypres in November 1914, ‘courageous to a fault … Longley set a magnificent example of initiative and leadership’. This was rewarded in January 1915 by promotion to GOC 82nd Brigade, 27th Division. 

Longley added to his reputation at Second Ypres, in April and May. These were the only major operations undertaken by 27th Division during its stay on the Western Front. It was re-deployed to Salonika in November. Longley remained in command only until December when he became GOC 10th (Irish) Division. He commanded this formation in Salonika and in Palestine with exceptional skill and was mentioned in despatches eleven times. After the war he commanded 44th (Home Counties) Division TA until his retirement on 22 June 1923. He was knighted in 1919. Major-General Longley married Iva Kathleen Molony in 1896. They had two sons. One of them, Midshipman Charles Raynsford Longley, was killed in action on HMS Indefatigable on 31 May 1916 during the battle of Jutland,. He was 18.

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

Colin John Mackenzie

 

(1861-1956)

Major-General

KCB. GOC Infantry Division, 

Edinburgh Academy, RMC Sandhurst psc

Seaforth Highlanders

 

Colin John Mackenzie was the eldest son of Major-General Colin Mackenzie. He was commissioned in the Bedfordshire Regiment (then the 16th Foot) in January 1881, but transferred to the Seaforth Highlanders the following May. His pre-war career reads like a litany of late Victorian imperial military history: Egypt (1882); Burma (1886); Hazara (1888); Gilgit (1890–1); Waziristan (1894–5); the Nile (1898); South Africa (1899–1902). This record of active service left little time for anything else. Mackenzie entered Staff College late and over the normal age limit of 35. He was a full colonel when he graduated in December 1899. After the South African War his career took the staff path. He was AQMG 5th Division (1902–5) and AAG Army HQ (June 1905–February 1907). He was appointed GOC 4th Brigade in March 1907 without ever having commanded a battalion. He later commanded 6th Brigade. From 1910 until 1913 he was Chief of the General Staff, Canada. On 3 March 1914 he became the first commander of the Highland Division TF. In October 1914, however, he was sent to the Western Front to take command of 3rd Division following the death in action of Major-General Hubert Hamilton. He was 53. Mackenzie’s command was short lived. He was ‘invalided’ home after only a fortnight. In reality he was sacked. Billy Congreve recorded Mackenzie’s going in his diary with his customary perspicacity: ‘General Mackenzie went home this morning; I presume owing to the mess made of the attack [at La Bassée] … Mackenzie was, I thought not of great merit, though very nice to me.  He was not physically fit.’[1]

Such a thorough degumming would normally mark the end of a commander’s military career, but not in Mackenzie’s case. After a period as GOC 15th (Scottish) Division (1914-5) at home, he became Director of Staff Duties at the War Office (1915–6) before returning to the Western Front as GOC 61st (2nd South Midland) Division in May 1916. He commanded this second line Territorial division until 27 April 1918 when he was wounded in the cheek by a German sniper while visiting the line held by 183rd Brigade. The wound was slow to respond to treatment and he was eventually evacuated to England. Following his recovery, Mackenzie became Inspector of Infantry on the Home establishment. He retired from the army in 1920. Major-General Sir Colin Mackenzie retired on 1 April 1920.

[1]Billy Congreve, Armageddon Road.  The Diaries of Billy Congreve (London: William Kimber, 1982), p.71.

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

Ernest William Stuart King Maconchy

 

(1860-1945)

Brigadier-General

CB, CMG, CIE DSO, GOC Infantry Brigade

Indian Army

 

Ernest William Stuart King Maconchy retired from the Indian Army on 28 January 1914. But he was ‘dug out’ of retirement on 19 July 1915 to command 178th Brigade, 59th (2nd North Midland) Division TF. He commanded for a year in the rank of Colonel and he was only made up to Brigadier-General in June 1916. 59th Division did not deploy to France until February 1917. By this time Maconchy was nearly 57. It is surprising that a man of his age should have been sent on active service at this period of the war. He lasted only a few weeks before being ‘degummed’ by his divisional commander, Arthur Sandbach, who was himself ‘degummed’ three days later! Maconchy’s successor, T W Stansfeld, was only 39 and had begun the war as a mere captain.

John Bourne, Centre for First World War Studies

(Godfrey) Estcourt Matthews

 

(1866-1917)

Brigadier-General

CB CMG. GOC Infantry Division, 

RN College Greenwich

Royal Marines

 

(Godfrey) Estcourt Matthews was commissioned in the Royal Marines on 1 September 1884. His pre-war career was dominated by service with the Egyptian Army, to which he was seconded in January 1897. Apart from a few months he served in Egypt for sixteen years. When the European War broke out he was commanding the RM Depot at Deal. He commanded the Plymouth Battalion, Royal Naval Division, in the Gallipoli campaign, where he was wounded and made CMG. Matthews was promoted to brigade command on 8 June 1916 as GOC 198th Brigade, 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division TF. At the age of 50, he was quite old to get a brigade, though at the time of his appointment his formation was still at home. 198th Brigade did not go abroad until February 1917. Brigadier-General Matthews was wounded by a shell explosion at Cambrin on 12 April and died the following day. He was the 32nd British general to be killed in action or to die of wounds on the Western Front. He is buried in Béthune Town Cemetery, France. 198th Brigade took no part in major offensive operations while under Matthews’ command.

John Bourne

Centre for First World War Studies

Arundel Martyn

 

 

(1868-1945)

Brigadier-General

CB CMG

GOC Infantry Brigade

Marlborough College

Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment

 

Arundel Martyn was the son of Colonel Anthony Martyn. He entered the army through the Militia and was commissioned in the Royal West Kent Regiment on 9 May 1888. He served in the South African War (1900-1), largely as a brigade-major on the staff, and then became Adjutant 3rd (West Kent Militia) Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment (1901-4). This rather mundane career took a turn for the exotic in December 1904 when Martyn was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Macedonian Gendarmerie, a post he retained until July 1907. On 21 March 1912 he was promoted lieutenant-colonel and given command of 1st Battalion Royal West Kents. At 43 he was on the young side for a battalion commander of that period. 

He was still in command when war broke out and took his battalion to France in 13th Brigade, 5th Division. On 13 October 1914 he succeeded to the acting command of 13th Brigade after Brigadier-General William Hickie fell sick. It was while commanding the brigade that Martyn was wounded in the arm by a shell splinter during a forward reconnaissance. He did not return to active duty until June 1915, when he was given his own brigade, earlier promised by Field-Marshal French. Martyn’s 55th Brigade, 18th (Eastern) Division, deployed to France in July 1915, but within three months he was transferred to the command of 67th Brigade, 22nd Division, on the Macedonian front. His familiarity with the area, however, conferred no immunity from its notorious diseases and he fell ill on 17 December. He was off sick for a year before returning to the Western Front as GOC 170th Brigade, 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division. He commanded this formation only until 10 May 1917, when he was sent home suffering from ‘strain’. The brigade took part in no major operations while under Martyn’s command. After a period as GOC 218th Brigade, 73rd Division, a home service formation, Brigadier-General Martyn retired from the army on 22 March 1919.

John Bourne

Centre for First World War Studies

Sir John Grenfell Maxwell

 

(1859-1929)

Lieutenant-General

KCB KCMG CVO DSO. British Mission to French GQG, 

Cheltenham College, RMC Sandhurst

Black Watch

 

John Grenfell Maxwell (‘Conky’) was commissioned in the 42nd Highlanders [later the Black Watch] on 22 March 1879. When the Great War broke out he was 55, only two years older than Douglas Haig. Like Haig, he had friends in high places, he was a lieutenant-general and a knight, and he could boast a career of great distinction. For Maxwell, however, the war was to prove a source of personal and professional disappointment and, eventually, obloquy. Maxwell was the protégé of his cousin, Field-Marshal Lord Grenfell, with whom he served as ADC in the Egyptian Frontier Force (1885-6), where he won the DSO. He also later became a close friend of Lord Kitchener. Maxwell saw a great deal of active service, including the battles of Tel-el-Kebir (1882) and Omdurman (1898), where he commanded the 2nd Egyptian Brigade. He commanded the 14th Brigade in South Africa and was later Military Governor of Pretoria (1900-1). He was knighted in 1900. Important staff appointments followed: chief of staff III Corps (1902-4); Inspector-General of the Forces (1904-7). He renewed his connection with Egypt in 1908, when he was appointed GOC British Troops, a post he held until 1912. (He had a considerable reputation as an Egyptologist.)

When the war broke out he was unemployed, but with his friend Kitchener now Secretary of State for War, Maxwell had a right to expect a plum appointment, but none came. He served only briefly on the Western Front, in the first weeks of the war, as Head of the British Mission to the French Army. In September he returned to Egypt as Commander-in-Chief. During 1915 Egypt became the major staging post, training centre and supply base for three major military campaigns, Gallipoli, Salonika and Palestine. Maxwell found only frustration in these important duties, feeling himself reduced to the role of a quartermaster with no influence on strategy or operations. By the spring of 1916 he had had enough. He asked to be relieved and returned home. It was a fateful decision. Within weeks he found himself C-in-C Ireland, confronted by the Easter Rising. The British government effectively abandoned control of events to the military. Maxwell was given extensive powers, including that of declaring martial law. This was imposed on 15 of the rebels, who were court martialed and executed, a disastrous error of judgement that turned a failed rebellion into a revolution. Maxwell ended the war as GOC Northern Command (1916-19). He retired in 1922.

John Bourne

Centre for First World War Studies

Andrew Jameson McCulloch

Brigadier-General

DSO*, DCM. GOC Infantry Brigade 

Edinburgh Academy, St Andrews & Oxford Universities psc

7th Dragoon Guards

Andrew Jameson was the son of Lord Arkwall, a Scottish judge. He took the surname McCulloch in 1892. After taking a BA at New College, Oxford, he qualified as a barrister. On the outbreak of the South African War he joined the ranks of the City Imperial Volunteers and was awarded the DCM. He was commissioned in the field into the Highland Light Infantry on 4 August 1900. When the Great War broke out he was a Captain in the 7th Dragoon Guards, serving on the Staff. He later transferred to the 14th Hussars. In October 1917 he took command of 9th Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, winning two DSOs. He was promoted GOC 64th Brigade (21st Division) on 28 July 1918 in succession to Brigadier-General H R Headlam. He was 42. He led the brigade for less than a month, his period of command being terminated by a thigh wound inflicted by a German machine-gunner on 24 August. During the 3,000-yard night advance by 64th Brigade on 23-24 August, south-east of the Miraumont spur, he showed himself a commander of outstanding courage, resolution and decision.

John Bourne

Centre for First World War Studies

Charles Roderic Robert McGrigor

 

(1860 - 1927)

Brigadier-General

CB CMG. DA & QMG

Eton College psc

King's Royal Rifle Corps

 

Charles Roderic Robert McGrigor was the younger son of Sir Charles McGrigor 2nd Bt.  He was commissioned in the 36th Foot on 13 August 1879, but soon transferred to the 60th Rifles [King’s Royal Rifle Corps] (24 January 1880).  His pre-war career was packed with active service: Griqualand East; the Boer War (1881); the Egyptian War (1882); Suakim (1884, 1885); and the South African War (1899-1902).  He passed Staff College in 1888.  He had thus punched two of the most important tickets for an ambitious officer.  He duly punched the third when he became CO 3rd Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps in 1905. After a standard four-year tour as a battalion commander, he joined the Staff, serving as Brigadier-General i/c Administration, Western Command (1909–13). He became DA&QMG, III Corps, on its formation on 5 August 1914 and deployed with it to France in September, but was replaced on 6 October.  He was 54.  Admiral of the Fleet Sir R R McGrigor, Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff during the Second World War, was his son.

John Bourne

Centre for First World War Studies

Norman Reginald McMahon

(1866-1914)

Brigadier-General

DSO. GOC Infantry Brigade, 

Eton College

Royal Fusiliers

Norman Reginald McMahon was the son of General Sir Thomas McMahon, 3rd Bt. He was commissioned in the Royal Fusiliers in May 1885 and soon saw active service in the Burmese Expedition (1885-7). He later served in South Africa, where he was badly wounded and won a DSO. McMahon made a vital contribution to the British Army before the war. As Chief Instructor at the School of Musketry, Hythe (1905-9), he was one of the men principally responsible for the outstanding rifle skills possessed by the BEF in 1914. McMahon was a thinking soldier who recognised the importance of firepower in a future war. He presented his views to the Aldershot Military Society in 1907 to such effect that many of them were incorporated into British Field Service Regulations. When his preferred solution, an increase in machine gun provision, fell foul of Treasury economy he set about improving the British soldier’s marksmanship and speed of fire. He succeeded brilliantly.

He was promoted brigadier-general in November 1914 and appointed to 10th Brigade, in succession to Aylmer Haldane. Unfortunately, operational necessity prevented McMahon from leaving his battalion, 4th Royal Fusiliers, and on 11 November he was killed by a German shell. He has no known grave. Brigadier-General Norman McMahon is commemorated on the Ploegstreet Memorial.

John Bourne

Centre for First World War Studies

Godfrey Meynell

(1870-1945)

Brigadier-General

CMC. GOC Infantry Brigade, 

Winchester College, RMC Sandhurst psc

King's Shropshire Light Infantry

Godfrey Meynell was the eldest son of Godfrey Meynell of Meynell Langley in Derbyshire, where the family had owned land for more than 400 years. He was commissioned in the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry on 31 August 1890. When the war broke out he was serving with the 2nd Battalion at Secunderbabad in India in the rank of major. His longest period of service on the Western Front was as CO of the 6th (Service) Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, leading it in the Somme fighting of 1916 at Delville Wood and Flers-Courcelette. He spent much of 1917 in staff appointments, including a period as CO II Corps Infantry School. In April 1918 he gained the coveted appointment of CO 1st Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, but held it for only a few weeks before being invalided home ill, the second bout of ill health he suffered during the war.

When he returned to action he was given command of 171st Brigade, 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division TF in October 1918, taking part in the occupation of Lille. He was three times mentioned in despatches during the war and awarded the CMG. ‘I sustained several “set backs” during the first two years of the war, but had the satisfaction of commanding a Brigade in the Field before the end came,’ he later recalled, ‘and nobody who came through - after nearly 3 years front line work - with a whole skin and a clear conscience can complain of his luck.’ Godfrey Meynell retired from the army in 1926 to take up the management of his estate. His son Captain Godfrey Meynell, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, was killed in action on the North West Frontier of India in 1935 and posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

John Bourne

Centre for First World War Studies

Philip John Miles

 

(1864-1948)

Brigadier-General

CB, CMG.  GOC Infantry Brigade

Shrewsbury School, RNC Greenwich

Indian Army

 

Philip John Miles was the son of the Rev P E Miles. He was commissioned in the Royal Marine Light Infantry on 1 March 1885, but transferred to the Indian Army on 31 December 1887. Miles spent the rest of his pre-war career with the Indian Army, serving with the 45th Sikhs, 57th Wilde’s Rifles, 53rd Sikhs (Frontier Force) and, finally as CO 51st Sikhs (Frontier Force) (1909-14). He saw much action in brush fire wars, including the Hazara Expedition (1888), the first Miranzai Expedition (1891), China (1900) and the North West Frontier (1908). When the European War broke out Miles was at home on leave, but he soon found employment as the first commander of 47th Brigade, 16th (Irish) Division. He trained the brigade and deployed with it to France in December 1915, but was replaced within a few weeks, succumbing to the purge of 16th Division’s senior officers carried out by the new divisional commander, William Hickie.

 

Miles’s ruthless ‘stellenbosching’ did not end his career, however. He commanded 189th Brigade, 63rd (2nd Northumbrian Division) TF, from March to October 1916, before returning to India, where he commanded a column in the Marri Punitive Force (1918), the Multan Brigade (1918-9), and a brigade in the Waziristan Field Force (1919). He retired form the Indian Army in December 1919. Brigadier-General Miles was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

 

 

John Bourne

Centre for First World War Studies

Hon Edward ('Eddie') James Montagu-Stuart-Wortley

 

Major-General

CB CMG MVO DSO. GOC Infantry Division 

Eton College

King's Royal Rifle Corps

 

Hon Edward (‘Eddie’) James Montagu-Stuart-Wortley was the scion of a well-known Yorkshire landed family, the earls of Wharncliffe. He is remembered, if at all, as the first general to be sacked on the Somme. His pre-First World War military career, however, was packed with action and distinction. He was commissioned in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps (the family regiment), from the Militia, on 13 October 1877. He quickly saw active service as Assistant Superintendent of Signalling with the Kurram Field Force in the Afghan War (1878-9), where he was mentioned in despatches. He served with the Natal Field Force in the first Boer War (1881), before beginning an important association with the Egyptian Army. He was Military Secretary to General Valentine Baker (1882) and then ADC to General Sir Evelyn Wood (1883-4), taking part in the battle of Tel-el-Kebir. He served throughout the Nile Expedition (1884-5), including the battles of Abu Klea and Gubat, and was twice mentioned in despatches. He gained diplomatic experience as Military Attaché to Sir Henry Drummond-Wolff’s special mission to Turkey (1885) before being appointed DAAG to Sir Francis Grenfell’s Sudan Frontier Force, with which he took part in the action of Giniss (1886). He was Brigade-Major at Malta (1893-6). During the Nile Expedition (1897-8) he was 2i/c of a Gunboat Flotilla, winning a DSO. His service with the Egyptian Army culminated in his command of friendly Arabs at the capture of Omdurman (1898). During the South African War he commanded 2nd Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps (1900-1) at the relief of Ladysmith. From July 1901 until July 1904 he was British Military Attaché in Paris during an important period in Anglo-French relations. He commanded 10th Infantry Brigade, at Shorncliffe, from April 1908 until April 1912 and in June 1914 took command of the North Midland Division TF.

Montagu-Stuart-Wortley had married Violet Guthrie in 1891 and they lived in some splendour at Highcliffe Castle in Hampshire. In the summer of 1907 Kaiser Wilhelm II rented Highcliffe for the season. This brought Montagu-Stuart-Wortley into Royal circles. When 46th (North Midland) Division became the first Territorial division to deploy to France as a complete formation, in March 1915, King George V took a particular interest in its fate and asked Montagu-Stuart-Wortley to write to him weekly. Although Montagu-Stuart-Wortley received permission from Sir John French and Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien to do this, when the correspondence came to the notice of the GOC XI Corps, Richard Haking, and the GOC First Army, Sir Douglas Haig, during the King’s tour of the front in October 1915, they expressed their ‘severe displeasure’. Montagu-Stuart-Wortley was a marked man.

46th Division was unique among those formations that took part in the opening attack on the Somme (1 July 1916) in not suffering its worst casualties of the war on that day. That melancholy record was achieved on 13 October 1915 at the Hohenzollern Redoubt, during the battle of Loos. Montagu-Stuart-Wortley disagreed with Haking’s plan and was ordered to attack against his better judgement. The outcome, described by the Official Historian as a ‘tragic waste of infantry’, confirmed all Montagu-Stuart-Wortley’s worst fears. Haking, who was also corresponding with the King, blamed Montagu-Stuart-Wortley for incurring ‘unnecessary losses’. Worse was to come.

In the planning for the Somme, 46th Division, together with 56th (1st London) Division, was tasked with a diversionary attack against the German salient at Gommecourt. This was at the northern end of the British line. 46th Division came under the command of VII Corps, Third Army. The purpose of the attack was to attract German reserves from further south, where a British breakthrough was planned. The division’s preparations were, therefore, made very obvious. Viscount Sandon, who took part in the attack as an officer in the Royal Field Artillery, recalled that the preparations ‘could not have been more obvious’. The Germans duly responded, reinforcing their already strong defences with more troops and artillery. Brigadier-General Francis Lyons, chief of staff VII Corps, later admitted that the capture of Gommecourt was unnecessary to the purpose of the diversion and it seems extraordinary that the infantry attack was allowed to proceed. When it did, 46th Division suffered grievously from German enfilade artillery fire and was repulsed with severe losses. 56th Division, attacking the southern flank of the Gommecourt salient, did much better. The consequences for Montagu-Stuart-Wortley were immediate and painful. On 2 July the GOC VII Corps, Sir Thomas Snow, wired GHQ that ‘I regret to have to report that the 46th Division in yesterday’s operations showed a lack of offensive spirit. I can only attribute this to the fact that its Commander, Major-General the Hon. E J Montagu-Stuart-Wortley, is not of an age, neither has he the constitution, to allow him to be as much among his men in the front lines as is necessary to imbue all ranks with confidence and spirit … I therefore recommend that a younger man, and one more physically capable of energy, should be appointed to command the Division.’ Haig not only agreed but also showed no mercy, making it quite clear to the War Office that he would not accept Montagu-Stuart-Wortley again as a divisional commander.

There is little doubt that Montagu-Stuart-Wortley was in poor health in 1916 and was often incapacitated with sciatica. Lieutenant-Colonel A F Home, who was briefly GSO1 with 46th Division in the spring of 1916, was impressed neither with Montagu-Stuart-Wortley nor his command. ‘The whole of this Division wants ginger putting into it from top to bottom!’ he confided to his diary on 19 May 1916. Brigadier-General Lyons later described Montagu-Stuart-Wortley as ‘a worn-out man, who never visited his front line and was incapable of inspiring any enthusiasm’. This begs the question why he was not replaced before the attack. In truth, 46th Division was given an impossible task.

Montagu-Stuart-Wortley was devastated by his replacement. ‘I could not suffer a more ignoble and heart breaking fate had I been tried by Court Martial or had I committed some egregious blunder,’ he wrote to Lord French in 1919. He spent much of the rest of his life trying, fruitlessly, to secure official rehabilitation. Posterity might find more sympathy for Montagu-Stuart-Wortley had he also tried to secure official rehabilitation for 46th Division, which was disgracefully slandered by the VII Corps staff, and whose men were twice sacrificed in pointless attacks though the incompetence of senior officers and the lack of moral courage of their GOC.

Montagu-Stuart-Wortley was the brother of Lieutenant-General Sir Richard Montagu-Stuart-Wortley and the brother-in-law of Major-General C E Bingham. His son died during the war.

 

John Bourne

Centre for First World War Studies

(Alan) Richard Montagu-Stuart-Wortley

Brigadier-General

KCMG CCB DSO. GOC Infantry Division 

Wellington College psc

King's Royal Rifle Corps

 

(Alan) Richard Montagu-Stuart-Wortley was the third son of the Hon. F D Montagu-Stuart-Wortley, brother of the 2nd Earl of Wharncliffe and of Major-General the Hon E J Montagu-Stuart-Wortley.  He added to his aristocratic credentials by marrying the Hon Maud Julia Mary Winn, daughter of the 1st Baron Oswald, in 1900.  Richard Montagu-Stuart-Wortley was commissioned in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps on 5 November 1887.  He was serious about his profession.  He saw active service with the Chitral Relief Force (1895) and in South Africa, where he was wounded and won the DSO. 

He passed Staff College in December 1903, spending the next five years in staff appointments at the War Office.  On 1 April 1914 he was appointed Assistant Director of Movements at the War Office, a position he retained until 29 January 1915, when he became Director of Movements.  Montagu-Stuart-Wortley’s wartime career seemed to have a clear staff rationale, but at the beginning of 1917 it took a turn for the peculiar.  On 27 February 1917 he was appointed GOC 68th Brigade, 23rd Division.  He exercised this command for a little over a month, before being transferred to the temporary command of 19th Division (7 April–24 May 1917), where he immediately fell foul of the Commander-in-Chief.  ‘I then visited HQ 19th Division,’ Haig recorded in his diary on 23 May 1917, ‘I did not like [Major-General Stuart-Wortley’s] arrangements.  He had broken up a brigade to provide 2 battalions as “moppers up” to another brigade.  In fact I felt he had barely got beyond the fringe of the problem which confronted him.  He was also very nervous and fussy.’[1] 

Haig replaced him next day with Cameron Shute, who recast 19th Division’s plans.  Montagu-Staurt-Wortley found an equally temporary berth as GOC 32nd Division, vacated by Shute (24 May–20 June 1917).  On 18 August 1917 he returned to staff duties as Deputy Quarter-Master-General, Mesopotamia, a post he retained for the rest of the war.  He was knighted in 1918.  Montagu-Stuart-Wortley remained in the army after the war, retiring in 1927 with the rank of lieutenant-general after a three year tour as Quarter-Master-General, India.

 

[1] Gary Sheffield & John Bourne, eds., Douglas Haig: War Diaries and Letters 1914-1918 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005), p. 295

 

 

John Bourne

Centre for First World War Studies

Arthur David Musgrave

 

(1874 - 1931)

Brigadier-General

DSO. CRA

Harrow School

Royal Horse & Royal Field Artillery

 

Arthur David Musgrave (‘Muzzy’) was the son of Sir Anthony Musgrave, Governor of Queensland. He was commissioned in the Royal Artillery on 21 October 1893. By the outbreak of war his uneventful career found him in the rank of major. In October 1914 he was sent to France, where he later commanded XL Brigade RFA (October-December 1915). He was then sent to Mesopotamia, where he was later CRA 7th (Meerut) Division (April 1917-April 1918), winning a DSO. He returned to the Western Front in June 1918 as CRA 52nd (Lowland) Division TF, which had itself been re-deployed from Palestine only in April. Brigadier-General Musgrave was wounded on 2 August 1918, but was able to return to his command two days later, retaining his position until 15 October 1918.

 

John Bourne

Centre for First World War Studies