Alfred Rawlinson, 3rd Baronet 15,350
- Born: 17 January 1867, St. George's Hanover Square, London
- Marriage: Margaret Kennard Greenfield
From The Times, June 4, 1934
Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Alfred Rawlinson, Bt., C.M.G., C.B.E., D.S.O.,
who saw a considerable amount of service in the War in the R.N.V.R.
and in the Army, died suddenly at his flat in Edgeley Road, Clapham,
on Friday, at the age of 67. He came prominently before the public in
1921 on his return from Turkey, where he had been imprisoned for many
A few days ago he saw a specialist concerning his general health. An
occupant of an adjoining flat who saw Sir Alfred on Friday morning
said that he mentioed he was feeling very ill. About 2.30 p.m. that
afternoon his housekeeper summoned aid. He was found to be lying in
bed looking very ill. Although restoratives and hot water bottles
were applied he gradually fell into a comatose state. A doctor was
sent for and on arrival found Sir Alfred to be dead.
Alfred Rawlinson was born on January 17, 1867, the son of
Major-General Sir Henry Rawlinson, first baronet, a distinguished
Orientalist, and first decipherer of cuneiform inscriptions. His
elder brother was the late General Lord Rawlinson, whom he succeeded
in the baronetcy in 1925. He received his first commission in the
17th Lancers, retiring as a lieutenant, but he came back for the War.
First he served as a dispatch rider in France, and then he was with
the armoured car service. Later he received a commission in the
R.N.V.R., and in 1915 was brought into the aerial defences of London
as lieutenant-commander and second in command to Sir Percy Scott.
Always a man of action, he was given permission to go to Paris and
extract from the French an auto-canon, a 75mm. gun mounted on a De
Dion chassis. He succeeded in doing that after hurried interviews
with Gallieni and Joffre, and the gun was in London on the Horse
Guards Parade before the official Admiralty letter asking for the gun
had been written. His mobile brigade did much travelling on the East
Coast, at one time providing protection for Queen Alexandra. After
leaving the air defences in 1917 Rawlinson became a
lieutenant-colonel, R.G.A. In 1916 he had been made C.M.G., and he
was mentioned four times in dispatches.
Though his service in the West was distinguished, it is by his three
periods of service in the Near East, from 1918 to 1922, and
particularly by the last period, that he will be chiefly remembered by
the general public. From May to November 1918, he was under the
command of General Dunsterville, who commanded the mixed force
operating in Northern Persia, with the object of preventing German and
Bolshevist penetration in the Caspian Sea. He undertook the task of
getting motor-vans over almost trackless mountain passes with
enthusiasm, and became Controller-General of the Ordnance to the
Caspian Republic. The enemy, however, closed in, and in the
withdrawal Rawlinson succeeded in getting a steamer, the Armenian,
loaded with high explosive and munitions from the harbour, and the
cargo was safely landed at Enzeli. His second and third periods of
service were as a special mobile Intelligence Officer to our Black Sea
Army. It was his imprisonment by the Kemalists during the third
period that gave rise to questions in Parliament in 1921, and brought
on Lord Curzon, then Foreign Minister, considerable criticism from Sir
In a letter published in The Times of November 9, 1921, Sir Percy
In 1919 Colonel Rawlinson was sent on a diplomatic mission to Erzerum.
He was taken prisoner and confined in a filthy Turkish gaol. In 1920,
at a conference in London, the Turks signed an agreement that he
should be released. He was released and sent under guard to Trebizond
to await transport. While waiting at Trebizond, by order of Kemal he
was rearrested, sent back to the prison at Erzerum, kept in solitary
confirnement for 18 months, starved and not allowed any literature....
No steps were taken to obtain his release until he had been more than
a year in prison...
Sir Percy Scott also wrote that he had then just received a telegram
to say that Colonel Rawlinson was leaving Constantinople on November
Lord Curzon answered in the House of Lords denying the allegations in
the letter that no attempt had been made to obtain his release. To
that Sir Percy Scott replied in a letter in The Times of November 11,
criticizing Lord Curzon for stating that he was ignorant of the facts
of the case and emphasizing that Colonel Rawlinson had not been
treated with the consideration due to his rank.
Colonel Rawlinson arrived safely in London at the end of November,
1921, and in the following month was received at Buckingham Palace by
the King and invested with the insignia of a C.B.E. He was
accompanied by Lance-Corporal H.D. Ankers and Private H.R. Carter, who
were in capivity in Turkey with him.
His many and exciting adventures were described in a most readable and
interesting manner in his books, "Adventures in the Near East", "The
Defence of London", and "Adventures on the Western Front". In the
early days of motoring and of aviation he was a prominent figure. He
made a great deal of money out of a design of an internal combustion
engine, but it was spent in the course of experiments in aviation.
With the late Hon. Charles Rolls, he crashed in an aeroplane at
Bournemouth in 1910. Rolls lost his life and Rawlinson was very
severely injured. His international pilot's certificate was No. 3.
He was married twice. By his first wife, who was Margaret Kennard,
daughter of Mr. W.B. Greenfield, of Bedford, he had a son and a
daughter - Mr. Alfred Frederick Rawlinson, who is 33 and succeeds his
father as fourth baronet, and Mrs. Neville Bruce Colt. Mrs Rawlinson
died in 1907, and in 1913 he married again, but that marriage was
dissolved in 1924.
Noted events in his life were:
1. He appeared on the census in 1871 in 21 Charles Street, St. George, London.
2. Census UK 1911: 1911, 12 Duke Street Mansions, 60 Duke Street, London.
Alfred married Margaret Kennard Greenfield, daughter of W. B. Greenfield and Unknown. (Margaret Kennard Greenfield died in 1907.)