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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Henry Seymour Rawlinson
20 February 1864 – 28 March 1925
General Sir Henry S Rawlinson.jpg
General Sir Henry Rawlinson, Bt, at Fourth Army HQ, Querrieu Chateau, July 1916.
Place of birth Westminster, London, England
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch King's Royal Rifle Corps
Years of service 1884–1925
Rank General
Battles/wars Boer War
World War I
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Order of St. George (Russia)

General Henry Seymour Rawlinson, 1st Baron Rawlinson, GCB, GCSI, GCVO, KCMG (20 February 1864 – 28 March 1925), known as Sir Henry Rawlinson, 2nd Baronet between 1895 and 1919, was a British First World War general most famous for his roles in the Battle of the Somme of 1916 and the Battle of Amiens in 1918.


Military career

Rawlinson was born in Westminster, London, England, in June of 1864 [1]. His father, Sir Henry Rawlinson, 1st Baronet, was an Army officer (and a renowned Middle East scholar and generally recognized as the father of Assyriology). Rawlinson attended Eton and Sandhurst and entered the Army in 1884 as an officer in the King's Royal Rifle Corps in India. His first military experience was serving in Burma during an 1886 uprising.

In 1889, Rawlinson's mother died and he returned to England. He transferred to the Coldstream Guards and was promoted to captain. He served on Kitchener's staff during the advance on Omdurman in 1898 and served with distinction in a field command in the Boer War in 1899 to 1902. Rawlinson was promoted to lieutenant-general in 1903 and named as commandant of the Army Staff College.

At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Rawlinson took command of the British IV Corps. In 1915, he was elevated to command of the British First Army but was taken off the front after questioning higher ranks about the tactics being used. Rawlinson was assigned to Gallipoli to organise the withdrawal of Allied forces that had become entrenched there. He performed this task better than others had thought possible and he was recalled to the Western Front to assume command of the Fourth Army in 1916 as the plans for the Allied offensive on the Somme were being developed. For a period in 1917–18, he also commanded the Second Army. He was made GCVO in 1917 and KCMG 1918.

During the war, Rawlinson was noted for his willingness to use innovative tactics. He organised one of the first major night attacks by a modern army in 1916. For a 1918 offensive, he combined attacks by aeroplanes and armoured units with the infantry.

Following the Armistice, Parliament passed a vote of thanks to Rawlinson for his service. In 1919, he was raised to the Peerage as Baron Rawlinson, of Trent in the County of Dorset, and appointed GCB. He was again called on to organise an evacuation, this time of the Allied forces that had been sent to Russia to intervene in the Civil War there. In November 1919 he became General Officer Commanding-in-Chief for Aldershot Command. In 1920, Rawlinson was made Commander-in-Chief, India, a post he held until his death. In 1924, he was appointed GCSI. Lord Rawlinson died when he was taken ill after playing polo and cricket on his 61st birthday in 1925.

Henry Rawlinson's brother Alfred Rawlinson also played a signicant role during WWI, but this was mostly confined to the Middle Eastern theatre in Turkey, Mesopotamia and Persia. He was taken prisoner of war by the Turks, which caused some political complications based on his brother's position. The story is contained in his book, Adventures in the Near East, 1918-1922.

Further reading

  • Maurice, Major-General Sir Frederick The Life of General Lord Rawlinson of Trent G.C.B., G.C.V.O., G.C.S.I., K.C.M.G.: From His Journals and Letters Cassell and Company Ltd, 1928
  • Prior, Robin Command on the Western Front: The Military Career of Sir Henry Rawlinson 1914-1918 Leo Cooper Ltd (30 Jul 2004) ISBN 1-84415-103-4
  • Yockelson, Mitchell A. (2008-05-30). Borrowed Soldiers: Americans under British Command, 1918. Foreword by John S. D. Eisenhower. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0806139197.  
  • Rawlinson, A. Adventures in the Near East, 1918-1922 Andrew Melrose, 1923

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Douglas Haig
Commander, British First Army
Succeeded by
Charles Carmichael Monro
Preceded by
Commander, British Fourth Army
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Commander, British Second Army
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Sir Charles Carmichael Monro
Commander-in-Chief, India
Succeeded by
Sir Claud Jacob
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Henry Rawlinson, 1st Baronet
(of North Walsham, Norfolk)
Succeeded by
Sir Alfred Rawlinson, 3rd Baronet
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New creation
Baron Rawlinson
Succeeded by


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