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Lord Kitchener

(1850—1916) army officer


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(b. 24 June 1850, d. 5 June 1916).

British general; Secretary of State for War 1914–16Born in Co. Kerry (Ireland), he was educated in Switzerland, and at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He served in the French army during the Franco‐Prussian War in 1870–1, and joined the Royal Engineers in 1871. Kitchener commanded the Anglo‐Egyptian army which conquered the Sudan in 1898, and was, briefly, Governor‐General there (1899). He led the British army in the South African (Boer) War in 1900–2, when the ruthless efficiency with which he won the war was extended to the treatment of civilians, some of whom he put into concentration camps. In 1902–9, he commanded the Indian army. He subsequently served in Egypt, and was appointed Secretary of State for War when World War I broke out. Unlike many of his colleagues, he believed the war would be long, and set about raising a massive volunteer army. He was increasingly blamed for set‐backs in the British war effort, such as blunders over the supply of artillery shells, and delays over evacuation of troops from Gallipoli. His authority was eroded by the appointment of Sir William Robertson as the government's senior military adviser, in December 1915. He was drowned when his ship, on its way to Russia, hit a German mine and sank.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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