Julian Hedworth George Byng

(1862—1935) army officer

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(1862–1935). Byng was the younger son of an old military family: he was related to Adm John Byng, shot on his own quarterdeck for failure to relieve Minorca in 1757, and his grandfather commanded a guards brigade at Waterloo. He served in the 10th Hussars, where his chief distinction was playing polo, but during the Second Boer War he raised and commanded an irregular cavalry regiment with notable success. Summoned from command in Egypt in 1914, he commanded a cavalry division in France and then succeeded Allenby at the head of the Cavalry Corps. Sent to Gallipoli, he oversaw the successful evacuation of Suvla, and then returned to the western front to command the Canadian Corps. The Canadian capture of Vimy Ridge in April 1917 (see Arras/Vimy Ridge, battle of), one of the most remarkable set-piece attacks of the war, redounded much to his credit, and he went on to succeed Allenby in command of Third Army, having wisely if controversially recommended the Canadian militia officer Arthur Currie as his successor as corps commander.


From The Oxford Companion to Military History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Military History.

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