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Herbert Plumer, 1st Viscount Plumer: Wikis


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The Viscount Plumer
13 March 1857 – 16 July 1932
Gen sir herbert plumer.jpg
Gen. Sir Herbert Plumer
Place of birth Torquay, England
Resting place Westminster Abbey
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1876 - 1919
Rank Field Marshal
Battles/wars Mahdist War
Second Matabele War
Second Boer War
World War I
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire
Grand Cordon, Order of the Rising Sun
Other work High Commissioner of Palestine

Field Marshal Herbert Charles Onslow Plumer, 1st Viscount Plumer, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, GBE (13 March 1857 – 16 July 1932) was a British colonial official and soldier born in Torquay who commanded the British Second Army in World War I and later served as High Commissioner of the British Mandate of Palestine.


Military career

Herbert Plumer was commissioned into the York and Lancaster Regiment in 1876.[1]

After serving in Sudan and South Africa he was appointed Commander of the 4th Brigade within I Army Corps in 1902[1] before moving on to be General Officer Commanding 10th Division within IV Army Corps in 1903.[1] In 1904 he became Quartermaster-General to the Forces and in 1906 he became GOC 5th Division within Irish Command.[1] Then in 1911 he was appointed General Officer Commanding-in-Chief for Northern Command.[1]

He served in the Second Army in Flanders during World War I,[1] during which he won an overwhelming victory over the German Army at the Battle of Messines in 1917.

Plumer is generally regarded as one of the finest army commanders serving in France during World War One. Like the majority of generals on the Western Front he was from an infantry, as opposed to a cavalry background and deprecated the insistence on the value of the "breakthrough" and the effectiveness of cavalry to exploit the opening and reach the open country beyond the front line.

As a career Infantry officer and it could be argued that he understood somewhat better what could reasonably be expected of his troops bearing in mind the terrain, the weather and morale. Plumer, a meticulous planner, would often express the plans of his superiors as being too ambitious and more often than not, as seen at the Third Battle of Ypres, he would be proved to be right.

Wartime sketch of General Plumer

Plumer was very popular with the men gaining the affectionate nickname "old Plum" and "Daddy Plumer". He was a cliché of a General to look at; with a receding chin and a white moustache, his appearance suggested on the photographs of the day everything that he was not.

Following the unexpected death of Sir James Grierson on his arrival in France in 1914, Plumer was considered for command of one of two BEF Corps alongside Haig. This position eventually went to Horace Smith-Dorrien. Later in the war, Plumer was sought by Lloyd George for the position of Chief of the Imperial General Staff as a replacement for William Robertson. He declined the position and leaving no private papers and never having expressed a recorded opinion of the conduct of the war, the lengthy debate over the Generalship in World War One largely passed him by.

Post World War I

He became Commander of the British Army of the Rhine in 1918,[1] Governor of Malta in 1919[1] and then High Commissioner of the British Mandate of Palestine in 1925[1] and resisted Arab pressure to reverse commitments made by the British in the Balfour Declaration. His three-year term as High Commissioner is generally noted as the calmest period during the British mandate. He was replaced by Sir John Chancellor in 1928.

He was buried in Westminster Abbey.


See also

Further reading

  • Harington, General Sir Charles Plumer of Messines Murray, 1935
  • Powell, Geoffrey Plumer: The Soldier's General: A Biography of Field-Marshal Viscount Plumer of Messines Pen and Sword Books Ltd (19 Jul 1990) ISBN 0-85052-605-1 / Leo Cooper Ltd (Jan 2004) ISBN 1-84415-039-9
  • Sykes, Frank W. With Plumer in Matabeleland: an account of the operations of the Matabeleland Relief Force during the rebellion of 1896 Constable & Co, London, 1897. Reprints: Rhodesiana Reprint Library, Vol 21, Books of Rhodesia, Bulawayo, 1972 and Negro Universities Press, 1969 ISBN 0-8371-1640-6.
  • 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.  


External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir James Wolfe-Murray
Quartermaster-General to the Forces
Succeeded by
Sir William Nicholson
Preceded by
New command
Commander-in-Chief of the British Army of the Rhine
Succeeded by
Sir William Robertson
Government offices
Preceded by
The Lord Methuen
Governor of Malta
1919 – 1924
Succeeded by
Sir Walter Congreve
Preceded by
Sir Herbert Samuel
High Commissioner of Palestine
1925 – 1928
Succeeded by
Sir Harry Luke
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Plumer
1929 – 1932
Succeeded by
Thomas Plumer
Baron Plumer
1919 – 1932


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