1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kitchener, Horatio Herbert Kitchener, Viscount

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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 15
Kitchener, Horatio Herbert Kitchener, Viscount
See also Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener on Wikipedia; the 1922 update; and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.

KITCHENER, HORATIO HERBERT KITCHENER, Viscount (1850-       ), British field marshal, was the son of Lieut.-Colonel H. H. Kitchener and was born at Bally Longford, Co. Kerry, on the 24th of June 1850. He entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, in 1868, and was commissioned second lieutenant, Royal Engineers, in 1871. As a subaltern he was employed in survey work in Cyprus and Palestine, and on promotion to captain in 1883 was attached to the Egyptian army, then in course of re-organization under British officers. In the following year he served on the staff of the British expeditionary force on the Nile, and was promoted successively major and lieutenant-colonel by brevet for his services. From 1886 to 1888 he was commandant at Suakin, commanding and receiving a severe wound in the action of Handub in 1888. In 1888 he commanded a brigade in the actions of Gamaizieh and Toski. From 1889 to 1892 he served as adjutant-general of the army. He had become brevet-colonel in the British army in 1888, and he received the C.B. in 1889 after the action of Toski. In 1892 Colonel Kitchener succeeded Sir Francis (Lord) Grenfell as sirdar of the Egyptian army, and three years later, when he had completed his predecessor's work of re-organizing the forces of the khedive, he began the formation of an expeditionary force on the vexed military frontier of Wady Halfa. The advance into the Sudan (see Egypt, Military Operations) was prepared by thorough administrative work on his part which gained universal admiration. In 1896 Kitchener won the action of Ferket (June 7) and advanced the frontier and the railway to Dongola. In 1897 Sir Archibald Hunter's victory of Abu Hamed (Aug. 7) carried the Egyptian flag one stage farther, and in 1898 the resolve to destroy the Mahdi's power was openly indicated by the despatch of a British force to co-operate with the Egyptians. The sirdar, who in 1896 became a British major-general and received the K.C.B., commanded the united force, which stormed the Mahdist zareba on the river Atbara on the 8th of April, and, the outposts being soon afterwards advanced to Metemmeh and Shendy, the British force was augmented to the strength of a division for the final advance on Khartum. Kitchener's work was crowned and the power of the Mahdists utterly destroyed by the victory of Omdurman (Sept. 2), for which he was raised to the peerage as Baron Kitchener of Khartoum, received the G.C.B., the thanks of parliament and a grant of £30,000. Little more than a year afterwards, while still sirdar of the Egyptian army, he was promoted lieutenant-general and appointed chief-of-staff to Lord Roberts in the South African War (see Transvaal, History). In this capacity he served in the campaign of Paardeberg, the advance on Bloemfontein and the subsequent northward advance to Pretoria, and on Lord Roberts' return to England in November 1900 succeeded him as commander-in-chief, receiving at the same time the local rank of general. In June 1902 the long and harassing war came to its close, and Kitchener was rewarded by advancement to the dignity of viscount, promotion to the substantive rank of general “for distinguished service,” the thanks of parliament and a grant of £50,000. He was also included in the Order of Merit.

Immediately after the peace he went to India as commander-in-chief in the East Indies, and in this position, which he held for seven years, he carried out not only many far-reaching administrative reforms but a complete re-organization and strategical redistribution of the British and native forces. On leaving India in 1909 he was promoted field marshal, and succeeded the duke of Connaught as commander-in-chief and high commissioner in the Mediterranean. This post, not of great importance in itself, was regarded as a virtual command of the colonial as distinct from the home and the Indian forces, and on his appointment Lord Kitchener (after a visit to Japan) undertook a tour of inspection of the forces of the empire, and went to Australia and New Zealand in order to assist in drawing up local schemes of defence. In this mission he was highly successful, and earned golden opinions. But soon after his return to England in April 1910 he declined to take up his Mediterranean appointment, owing to his dislike of its inadequate scope, and he was succeeded in June by Sir Ian Hamilton.