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Sir Alexander John Godley
4 February 1867 (1867-02-04)6 March 1957 (1957-03-07)
Alexander Godley.jpg
General Sir Alexander Godley
Place of birth Chatham, Kent, England
Place of death Oxford, England
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1886 - 1933
Rank General
Commands held New Zealand Expeditionary Force
I Anzac Corps
II Anzac Corps
Battles/wars Second Boer War

World War I

Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Mention in Despatches (10)

General Sir Alexander John Godley GCB, KCMG (1867-1957) was a First World War general, best known for his role as commander of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. During the Battle of Gallipoli he commanded the New Zealand and Australian Division.


Military career

Alexander Godley was born in Chatham, Kent, England, on 4 February 1867, the son of William Godley, a British Army captain of Irish heritage. Educated at Haileybury College and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, Alexander was commissioned into the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in 1886.[1] He served in the Irish Guards in the Boer War from 1899 to 1901.[1]

After attending the Staff College, he was dispatched by Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, to New Zealand as General Officer Commanding New Zealand Forces from 1910 to 1914, with the rank of Major General.[1]

He served in World War I as Commander of the First ANZAC Corps in Egypt and in Gallipoli from 1915 to 1916.[1] Godley then commanded the Second ANZAC Corps, later renamed British 22 Corps, from 1916 to 1918.[1] He was then temporary Commander of III Corps in 1918.[1] Godley's performance during World War I has been criticised by contemporaries and modern historians alike.[2]

After the War, Godley became Commander of IV Corps and then of II Corps in the British Army of the Rhine during 1919.[1] He was then appointed Military Secretary to the Secretary of State for War in 1920, before returning to the British Army of the Rhine as Commander-in-Chief in 1922.[1]

He served as General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Command from 1924 to 1928 when he became Governor of Gibraltar.[1] He retired in 1933.[1]

He was an Aide de Camp General to the King from 1925 to 1929.[1]

During World War II he commanded a platoon of the Home Guard.[1]

Over his career, General Godley was Mentioned in Despatches at least ten times. He died in Oxford.

He was a nephew of John Robert Godley, the founder of Canterbury, New Zealand.

List of honours


He married Louisa Fowler in 1898.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  2. ^ Les Carlyon, 'The Great War', ISBN-13: 978-1-4050-3761-7, pp. 53, 532, 662, 691

Further reading

Military offices
Preceded by
New Command
Commander, New Zealand Expeditionary Force
May 1915–11 November 1919
Succeeded by
Preceded by
New Command
(Part of Anzac Corps)
Commander, I Anzac Corps
February 1916–March 1916
Succeeded by
General William Birdwood
Preceded by
General William Birdwood
Commander, II Anzac Corps
March 1916–1917
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Commander, XXII Corps (United Kingdom)
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Morland
Commander-in-Chief of the British Army of the Rhine
Succeeded by
Sir John Du Cane
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Charles Monro
Governor of Gibraltar
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Harrington


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