arrow arrow
Abram Tyzack Rawlinson
Eliza Eudocia Albinia Creswicke
Edward James Seymour
Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson, 1st Baronet
Louisa Caroline Harcourt Seymour
Henry Seymour Rawlinson, Baron Rawlinson of Trent


Family Links

Meredith Sophia Frances Kennard

Henry Seymour Rawlinson, Baron Rawlinson of Trent 407

  • Born: 20 February 1864, St. George's Hanover Square, London
  • Marriage: Meredith Sophia Frances Kennard on 6 November 1890
  • Died: 28 March 1925, Delhi, India aged 61 13

bullet  General Notes:

He served in Burma, Sudan, and South Africa. In World War I he
commanded the 4th Army at the Somme (1916), and broke the Hindenburg
line near Amiens (1918). He was commander-in-chief in India from 1920.

From The Times, March 28, 1925

The appointment of General Lord Rawlinson, whose death is announced
elsewhere, as Commander-in-Chief in India, was to expire next
November, when Field-Marshal Sir William Birdwood had been nominated
to succeed him. It does not follow, however, that his active military
career would have come to an end, and the Army therefore has sustained
a definite practical loss by his premature death.
An unquenchable determination to achieve success was indeed the
dominant note in Lord Rawlinson's whole life. Starting with the
advantages of good birth, the prestige of an eminent father, and
notable physical and mental gifts, he never ceased moving from one
enviable appointment to another. To the close of his life, his rise
seemed to be as certain as it was rapid; to the end he remained in
many ways a favourite of fortune. Not the least circumstance
contributing to his fame was the period in which his career had been
set: a soldier of like attainments and characteristics could not have
lived in a more favourable atmosphere for their full recognition.
Henry Seymour Rawlinson was born on February 20, 1864, the eldest son
of Major-General Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson, soldier, scientist,
and diplomatist, who had married Louisa Caroline Harcourt, daughter of
Henry Seymour, of Knoyle, Wilts. Young Rawlinson was sent to Eton and
obtained his first commission from Sandhurst in February, 1884, in the
King's Royal Rifle Corps. In the following November he was selected
by Lord Roberts in India to be his aide-de-camp, and attended his
chief through the Burmese Expedition of 1889-87. But in January,
1890, he resigned this favoured position and returned to regimental
Promoted captain in November, 1891, he exchanged, in the following
July, into the Coldstream Guards. Next, in 1892, he passed into the
Staff College, and after graduating there was appointed, in November,
1895, brigade major at Aldershot. In that appointment he took part in
Lord Kitchener's Sudan campaign, and in the following January, having
been appointed to the Staff in Egypt as D.A.A.G., he was present at
the Battles of the Atbara and Khartum, where he earned much praise.
He also received the unusual distinction of promotion to brevet
lieutenant-colonel's rank on reaching regimental rank of major in
January, 1899, before he was 35 years old. He had succeeded to his
father's baronetcy in 1895.
On the outbreak of the South African War he was again appointed
D.A.A.G., and was sent to the Natal Field Force, with which he was
present at the engagement of Rietfontein and Lombard's Kop. He served
in Ladysmith throughout the siege, after October as an A.A.G.
Immediately after the relief of the town, his old chief, Lord Roberts,
summoned him to fill a similar appointment on his own Headquarter
Staff. He then took part in the latter stage of Robert's advance
through the Orange Free State, and was present at the actions on the
Vet and Zand Rivers, also fighting round Johannesburg and Pretoria.
After the fall of Pretoria he accompanied the columns marching
eastward towards Koomati Poort and was present at Diamond Hill and at
the two days' fighting at Belfast.
In May, 1901, he received the command of a mobile column, and in the
ensuing guerrilla war he took part in numerous skirmishes. During
this period he was the hero of an amusing episode, of which Lord
Kitchener never failed to remind him. One day, on his return to
Africa from leave, during which he had purchased as entirely new
outfit, he dropped his field glasses from the saddle. While searching
for them on the ground he was captured by some hidden Boers. On the
next night he succeeded in escaping and returned to his camp - but
without any of his new clothes. For his various services he was made
a brevet colonel in 1902, and received the C.B.
In April, 1903, he was appointed A.A.G. at the War Office, and at the
same time was made substantive colonel. His duties in this
appointment comprised the organization of military education and
training. In the following December he was selected to be commandant
of the Staff College with the rank of brigadier-general, a post which
he held until the end of 1906. It was at this juncture that the whole
life of the Army was being modernized as a result of the lessons of
the South African War. The intellectual gifts of the new commandant,
his power of facile speech, and his social position rendered him a
fitting instrument to introduce great changes in such a conservative
organism as the British military world of that date. In March, 1907,
he was posted to the command of the 2nd Brigade at Aldershot, an
appointment which he held until August, 1909. In May of that year he
had become a major-general and in June, 1910, he was appointed to the
command of the 3rd Division on Salisbury Plain, remaining in that
position till May, 1914. This successive command of a brigade and
then of a division for a period of six years afforded him an
unrivalled opportunity to master the art of commanding troops.
As a general officer Rawlinson proved popular, both among his
superiors and with his subordinates. He was a keen critic of all
matters touching the daily training of his troops, and his opinions
commanded respect. By his brother generals he was regarded as a
dangerous opponent on manoeuvres, fertile in resource, and prompt to
act, while the manner in which he obtained intelligence of his
adversary's intentions came to be considered as uncanny. He was
always quick to suggest improvements and impatient of slow progress.
It was due to these characteristics, on which he came to rely very
greatly, that his work was sometimes criticized as being more
attractive than profound. But Rawlinson was always a more industrious
worker than he allowed his friends to suppose.
The outbreak of the Great War found Rawlinson unemployed. On the
first day of mobilization, however, he was summoned to the War Office
to act as Director of Recruiting, but six weeks later he was nominated
to the command of the 4th Division, then vacant as the result of a
serious accident which befell Sir Thomas Snow at the Battle of the
Marne. This command he continued to hold during the latter part of
the operations on the Aisne, towards the close of which he was sent to
Antwerp to take charge of the British forces being assembled in the
North. After visiting the fortress, he returned to Ostend to command
the IVth Corps, then consisting of the 7th Division and of the 3rd
Cavalry Division. With this force he marched towards Ghent, but the
move was too late to prevent the fall of Antwerp. Sir Henry, indeed,
had grave difficulty in extricating his troops and getting them back
to Ypres during those days in which, division by division, the British
Army was being moved into Flanders.
The absurdity of such a command as that of the IVth Corps, composed
only of the 7th Division of Infantry and of the 3rd Cavalry Division,
soon became apparent. Sir John French, on October 27-28, accordingly
transferred the cavalry to Allenby's Cavalry Corps and the infantry to
Haig's 1st Corp, Rawlinson being sent home to superintend the
organization of the 8th Division, which was designed to complete his
IVth Corps. Returning to Flanders with the 8th Division, he then
assumed command of the IVth Corps, with the temporary rank of
lieutenant-general, and held it for over a year. During this period
of service as corps commander he was engaged at Neuve Chapelle in
February and at Loos in September, 1915, neither of them a battle
regarded as a conspicuous success. With the beginning of 1916 he was
selected to command the newly-constituted Fourth Army. It is alleged
that he received this appointment owing to the fact that "the IVth
Corps was ruled by a single mind, whereas the other corps were a
collection of little republics". His temporary rank was then made
permanent. It was thus his lot to command the Fourth Army throughout
the heaviest of the fighting on the Somme from July to October, 1916.
In January, 1917, he was promoted full general.
In the autumn of 1917 Sir Henry was sent to the coast, where
preparations had been set on foot, at the suggestion of the Naval War
Staff, for effecting a landing on the Belgian coast in rear of the
battle front. But heavy enemy attacks promptly materialized, which
pushed Sir Henry's troops back over the Yser at Nieupoort. It became
obvious that substantial reserves were being maintained by the Germans
on that flank in rear of those attacks. Accordingly, the proposed
disembarcation on the Belgian coast was never attempted.
Sir Henry remained in Flanders, taking over the Second Army on General
Plumer's departure for the Italian front in November 1917. He thus
missed the Cambrai fighting of the following month. In February,
1918, he was summoned to succeed Sir Henry Wilson on the Supreme War
Council at Versailles. This relief from the responsibilities of a
front line command came as a gift of fortune, for it afforded
Rawlinson some mental relaxation at a moment when such a change was
urgently required by every highly placed soldier. His stay at
Versailles was not long. The great German onslaught of March, 1918,
provoked the crisis in the highest political circles which resulted in
the nomination of Foch to the Supreme Allied Command. Rawlinson, no
longer needed at Versailles, was then instructed to reorganize the
broken Fifth Army. He held this post for a few days only, and
returned to his old command, the Fourth Army, finally breaking through
the Hindenburg defences east of Cambrai. He continued in command of
that Army until the close of March, 1919.
The Armistice did not see the close of Rawlinson's fighting career.
He had been nominated to the Aldershot Command during the summer of
1919. On the strength of this appointment, at the beginning of
August, 1919, he was called upon to carry out the withdrawal of our
forces from Murmansk and Archangel. This operation, which, it is
true, was not hampered by any great military difficulties, he
completed satisfactorily within the space of 15 weeks. On November 15
he finally assumed his duties at Aldershot, where his activities were
mainly limited to experimental work and to administrative
He was next summoned to the Supreme Command of the British Forces in
India, and entered on his duties on November 20, 1920. An uneasy
situation confronted him on the North-West Frontier, where two years
of heavy fighting with the Afghans and certain hill tribes had led to
an ill-defined peace with the Ameer. In spite of this, Rawlinson's
first task was that of reducing Indian military establishments and
expenditure. He took great interest in these problems, spending much
time in preparing schemes of retrenchment and reform, and at times
inclined, in the opinion of soldiers, to subordinate military security
to political pressure. The disposal of the supernumerary officers of
the reduced Indian Army also absorbed his attention. But defence
matters were to prove pressing. The North-West Frontier had to be
rendered secure with a reduced number of troops at a time when the
internal condition of India left much to be desired. In 1924 he
returned home on leave, under the provisions of the Act, then recently
passed, to discuss in Whitehall questions of the adjustment of Army
charges between the Home and Indian Exchequers.
Rawlinson was unquestionably a fortunate man from the professional
point of view, but his admitted good fortune should not be allowed to
detract from a deserved reputation as a highly experienced and clever
soldier. His personal qualities proved of high value during the years
of stress. He remained an optimist, and would not give way to
depression or discouragement. He was a good sportsman, fond of
hunting, polo, cricket, and rackets.
Rawlinson was created K.C.B. in 1915, G.C.V.O in 1917, K.C.M.G. in
1918, and G.C.B. in 1919, when he was also created Baron Rawlinson of
Trent, in the county of Dorset. In August, 1919, he received the
thanks of Parliament for his services during the Great War, together
with a grant of 30,000. Cambridge conferred on him an honorary
LL.D., and he held the chief decorations of the Allied countries. He
married, in 1890, Meredith only daughter of the late Coleridge John
Kennard, but leaves no children, and the peerage becomes extinct. The
baronetcy passes to his brother, Alfred Rawlinson, C.M.G., C.B.E.,
D.S.O., born in 1867, formerly of the 17th Lancers, and during the war
a commander, R.N.V.R. The new baronet is a widower with one son and
one daughter.

bullet  Death Notes:


bullet  Noted events in his life were:

1. He appeared on the census in 1871 in 21 Charles Street, Berkeley Square, London.

2. He appeared on the census in 1881 in 21 Charles Street, Berkeley Square, London.

3. Census UK 1911: 1911, Cholderton, Wiltshire. 10

4. Resided: 28 March 1925, Trent, Dorset. 13

5. He had an estate probated on 16 May 1925 in London. 13


Henry married Meredith Sophia Frances Kennard, daughter of Coleridge John Kennard and Unknown, on 6 November 1890. (Meredith Sophia Frances Kennard was born c 1861 in Gatton, Surrey 10 and died on 29 September 1931 in Westminster, London 13.)

Table of Contents | Surnames | Name List

This Web Site was Created 11 April 2016 with Legacy 7.5 from Millennia