Dictionary of National Biography, 1927 supplement/Kitchener, Horatio Herbert
KITCHENER, HORATIO HERBERT, first Earl Kitchener, of Khartoum and of Broome (1850-1916), field-marshal, the second son of Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Horatio Kitchener, of Cossington, Leicestershire, and Crotter House, Ballylongford, co. Kerry, by his first wife, Anne Frances, daughter of the Rev. John Chevallier, M.D. [q.v.], vicar of Aspall, Suffolk, was born at Crotter House 24 June 1850. Colonel Kitchener before settling in Ireland had served in the 13th Dragoons and 9th Foot. Owing to the illness of Mrs. Kitchener the family moved, when Herbert was thirteen years old, to Switzerland, where he was educated in a French school and acquired a knowledge of the French language which he never afterwards lost. In 1868 he passed into the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and passed out in December 1870, having qualified for a commission in the Royal Engineers. It was at this time, while he was waiting for the gazette, that the French, fired by Gambetta's eloquence, were attempting to create new armies to resist the Germans and to relieve Paris, their regular forces having been almost completely destroyed. Kitchener's parents were living at the time at Dinan, and his affection for France inspired him to offer his services to the army of the Loire. His time with it was short, for he fell ill, but it was remembered by the French Republic, which in 1913 conferred on him the medal commemorative of the campaign. On his return to England he was reprimanded by the commander-in-chief, the Duke of Cambridge, for a breach of discipline, but none the less he received his commission in the Royal Engineers (1871). After a few years of routine service at home, he was lent in 1874 to the Palestine Exploration Fund, and so began a connexion with the East which was to last almost for the remainder of his life. His work in Palestine enabled him to acquire a sound knowledge of the Arabs and of their language, and at the same time his exploration of the Holy Land developed the religious bent in a mind naturally devout. Kitchener's sympathies were then, and remained throughout his life, with the high church party of the Church of England; and though never either a zealot or a bigot he was always a convinced and professing Christian. In 1878, when Great Britain acquired Cyprus under the Treaty of Berlin, Kitchener was sent to survey the island. The work was broken off for lack of funds, to be resumed in 1880; he spent the interval as vice-consul at Kastamuni in Asia Minor.
In 1882, when the Egyptian army under Arabi Pasha rebelled, Kitchener was naturally eager to join the expedition under Sir Garnet (afterwards Viscount) Wolseley [q.v.]. The high commissioner of Cyprus said that he could not be spared; but, obtaining short leave of absence, he went to Alexandria and was able to take a small and entirely unofficial part in the campaign. He and another officer disguised themselves as Levantines and reconnoitred the route up the Nile valley from Alexandria towards Cairo, this being the first of a long series of such adventures which he was later to undertake. On his return to Cyprus after the enterprise he had some difficulty in placating the high commissioner. At the end of 1882 the survey of Cyprus was nearly completed, and Kitchener then accepted from Sir Henry Evelyn Wood [q.v.], who had been appointed first British sirdar of the Egyptian army, the offer of the post of second in command of the Egyptian cavalry. In 1883 he devoted two months' leave to a survey of the Sinai Peninsula, which he linked up with his survey of Palestine. In the following year the insurrection of the Sudanese under the Mahdi assumed serious proportions, and Kitchener was sent up the Nile to the frontier of Egypt proper, to endeavour to establish communication with Berber, which was besieged by the Mahdists. Berber surrendered 20 May 1884, and the men on the spot at once realized the gravity of the situation. Kitchener said that it would take 20,000 British troops to crush the Mahdi, but the home government shuddered at the thought of so serious an enterprise. Kitchener's task on the frontier then became that of endeavouring to establish communications with Khartoum, in which General Gordon was shut up, and to confirm the allegiance of wavering Mudirs. This work involved many adventurous rides into the desert, often in disguise. It was not until August that the British government took the step of sending an expedition up the Nile, too late as it proved, to relieve Gordon. Throughout this expedition Kitchener served in Wolseley's intelligence department, and in that capacity guided across the Bayuda desert the ill-fated column under Sir Herbert Stewart [q.v.]. It fell to him to receive the first refugees from Khartoum and to send up the first authoritative report of Gordon's death (26 January 1885). In July 1885 Kitchener resigned his commission in the Egyptian army and returned to England. He was now a brevet lieutenant-colonel with an established reputation as an authority on the habits and customs of the Arabs, Sudanese, and Egyptians, and as a keen, hard-working, and able soldier. After a short spell of leave at home he was nominated, at the request of the Foreign Office, as the British member of a joint English, French, and German commission appointed at the close of 1885 to delimit the territory of the sultan of Zanzibar, a work made necessary by the general scramble of the European powers for territory in Africa, which was then in full course.
On his way home from East Africa in the summer of 1886, Kitchener received the news of his appointment as governor-general of the Eastern Sudan, with head-quarters at Suakin; this post he held till 1888. Here he was in constant conflict with Osman Digna, the local leader of the Dervishes, and on 17 January 1888 he was severely wounded in the jaw in a raid on that chief's head-quarters. For his work at Suakin he was made brevet colonel and aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria. After his recovery he was appointed in September adjutant-general of the Egyptian army, of which Sir Francis (afterwards Baron) Grenfell was then sirdar. In the summer of 1889 the Dervishes threatened an advance down the Nile into Egypt, and a considerable part of the Egyptian army was concentrated to meet them, Kitchener being given the command of the cavalry. On 2 August Grenfell heavily defeated the Dervishes at Toski, a success in which Kitchener's handling of the cavalry had no small part, and all fear of an invasion of Egypt was removed. For his services in this campaign Kitchener received the C.B. Then, at the request of Sir Evelyn Baring (afterwards Earl of Cromer) [q.v.], Kitchener undertook the reorganization of the Egyptian police, and acquired Baring's confidence to such an extent that, when Grenfell resigned the sirdarship (April 1892), Baring pressed for and obtained Kitchener's appointment as his successor. Kitchener had always maintained that the only possible solution of the problem of the Nile valley was to advance into the Sudan and to defeat the Dervishes; and for the next four years he devoted himself to the preparation of the Egyptian army for that task. He attracted to the service of that army a body of young, able, and energetic British officers, before whom he set, both by example and precept, a high standard of keenness and enterprise. With their help he infused a new spirit into the Egyptian Army, the fighting power of which had been materially increased by the formation of battalions of Sudanese. Kitchener's reforms were not always pleasing to the pashas, who intrigued against him with the khedive, but he was now sufficiently acquainted with the methods of Eastern courts to be able to forestall these manœuvres, and he found in Lord Cromer an unwavering ally. He was created K.C.M.G. in 1894. The preparations for the conquest of the Sudan revived the old controversy as to the rival merits of the desert and the Nile routes, but Kitchener obtained the approval of the home government for his plan of a methodical advance up the river.
In 1896 the River War was inaugurated by an advance on Dongola, the first stage of which was completed by the defeat of a Dervish force at Firket on 7 June. By the end of September Dongola was occupied and the Dervishes had been driven from the province of that name into the Bayuda desert. Kitchener was now promoted major-general and for his services in this campaign was created K.C.B. The winter of 1896–1897 and the following spring were spent in persuading the home government to agree to a further advance, and in making preparations for that end. The plan on which Kitchener had decided was first to move up the Nile and secure Abu Hamed, where the river bends westward to make a great loop round the Korosko desert, and then to build a railway across that desert from Wadi Halfa. The first of these undertakings was entrusted to Major-General Sir Archibald Hunter, who seized Abu Hamed with small loss on 7 August, and thereby created such a panic amongst the Dervishes that, to the general surprise and delight, he was able on 5 September without opposition to occupy Berber, which had been seized by friendly tribesmen on 31 August. These successes brought the reoccupation of Khartoum and the complete reconquest of the Sudan within reach; and the British Cabinet, and Lord Salisbury in particular—converted to reliance on Kitchener's judgement—promised him for the following year the support of British troops and the leadership in the last stage of the enterprise. By the end of January 1898 the greater part of the Egyptian army, with a British brigade under Major-General Sir William Forbes Gatacre [q.v.], was concentrated south of Berber, near the mouth of the Atbara river. The successor of the Mahdi, the Khalifa Abdullah, now thoroughly alarmed at Omdurman, sent a force of 20,000 men under Mahmud, his leading emir, to recapture Berber; but Mahmud, finding that Kitchener had so far anticipated him on the Atbara as to make a march on Berber impossible without fighting, established his army in a strong zariba on the river. The zariba was stormed by the combined Anglo-Egyptian force on 8 April, Mahmud himself was captured with 4,000 other prisoners, and his army dispersed.
The British government had for some time been aware that a small French expedition under Major Marchand had started from the Congo for the White Nile; and this fact, together with the completeness of the success won on the Atbara, decided the Cabinet to authorize an advance on Omdurman at the next high Nile, and to increase the British force under Kitchener to the strength of a division. By the end of August 8,200 British and 17,000 Egyptian troops were concentrated under Kitchener's command at the head of the Sixth Cataract, about 120 miles north of Omdurman. The greater part of this distance was covered without opposition, and by 1 September the whole force was assembled on the Nile some seven miles north of Omdurman, to find a Dervish army of 50,000 men, under the Khalifa himself, encamped in the plain between it and the Dervish capital. The battle of Omdurman, which took place on 2 September, was fought in two phases. In the first the Dervishes in a determined advance upon the Anglo-Egyptian troops, who were in position on the river bank, were mowed down by artillery, rifle, and machine-gun fire. Kitchener then ordered an advance on Omdurman, and during this movement the Khalifa's reserve attacked the first Egyptian brigade under Colonel (Sir) Hector Archibald Macdonald [q.v.], and the situation, which was for a time critical, was saved by the steadiness of the brigade and the prompt arrival of support from the British division. Organized resistance then ceased and the Dervish army was dispersed with enormous loss. The Khalifa fled to Kordofan; and on 4 September the British and Egyptian flags were hoisted over the ruins of Gordon's palace in Khartoum, which for twelve years had been Kitchener's goal. The next step was to convince Major Marchand, who with seven French officers and eighty native troops had arrived at Fashoda, that he could not hoist the French flag in the khedive's dominions. For this purpose Kitchener went with an escort up the White Nile. The interview was conducted with perfect courtesy and the Egyptian flag was hoisted over Fashoda with the customary salute. After a fierce but brief outburst of popular wrath in France, the French government gave way, and the last serious incident with France which preceded the entente cordiale was amicably settled.
Kitchener then came home to be received with great enthusiasm. He had wiped out the unpleasant memory of the sacrifice of Gordon, and had removed an outstanding menace to Egypt, at the cost of 60 British and 160 Egyptian lives. He was hailed by Lord Salisbury as not only a distinguished general but a first-class administrator. He was raised to the peerage as Baron Kitchener, of Khartoum, received the thanks of parliament, and was fêted in England, Scotland, and Wales. The first use which he made of his popularity was to raise a fund for the establishment and endowment of a college at Khartoum, which should at once perpetuate Gordon's memory and fulfil one of Gordon's plans for the benefit of the Sudan. He returned as governor-general of the Sudan, with sufficient money for that purpose and with the task of creating a civil administration for the country. Throughout the River War Kitchener's part had been rather that of a brilliant improviser of ways and means than of a commander in the field or of a profound student of war. He had left most of the fighting to Hunter, though he was present himself at the principal actions, and his triumph was one of firmness of purpose and of driving power in the face of great natural difficulties. In the light of the subsequent collapse of Mahdism it is easy to underrate his achievement; but up to the time of the final advance on Omdurman the Dervishes were a name of terror, and it required courage, character, and judgement of a high degree to persuade a government, rendered doubtful and cautious by previous failures, to authorize the successive steps which led to the overthrow of the Khalifa.
The greater part of the year 1899 was devoted to completing the pacification of the Sudan, and to hunting down the Khalifa, who was at large in Kordofan with a dwindling band of followers. This last task was brought to an end by Sir Reginald Wingate, who was destined to be Kitchener's successor as sirdar, on 22 November when the Khalifa was killed in a final stand. Within a month of this event Kitchener was called to other and more important duties.
The critical weeks which followed the outbreak of the South African War in October 1899, culminating in the second week of December in the successive reverses of Stormberg, Magersfontein, and Colenso, made both the government and the public realize that a struggle with the Boers was a serious matter. The decisions, therefore, to send large reinforcements to South Africa and to appoint Lord Roberts [q.v.] to the chief command with Kitchener as his chief of the staff were received with general approval. Kitchener was at Khartoum on 18 December when he received his orders, and, starting at once, was able to join Lord Roberts at Gibraltar on 27 December. During Roberts's command Kitchener rarely performed the functions of chief of the staff. He was employed far more as a second in command and the representative of the commander-in-chief in his absence, so that his duties were executive rather than advisory, and he had very free scope for the employment of his limitless energy and readiness to accept responsibility. His first business was to reorganize the transport, and to make that increase in the number of mounted troops which was needed to give the force the mobility required for the execution of Roberts's plans. When, early in February, the movement for the relief of Kimberley had begun and General Piet Cronje had retreated from Magersfontein, Kitchener was with the leading troops urging on the pursuit, and not at Lord Roberts's side. So when Cronje was forced to stand at Paardeberg, it was Kitchener, with full powers from the commander-in-chief in his pocket, who ordered the attack and directed the operations. The first attack (18 February) on Cronje's laager failed, and failed largely because of Kitchener's faulty tactical dispositions. He had with him only a small personal staff and could not effectively direct the movements of a considerable body of troops scattered over a wide area. Methods applicable to troops in the close formation used in the Sudan against ill-armed natives were not suited to the wide extensions necessary against a determined enemy armed with modern rifles. The attacks were therefore disconnected and were repulsed in succession. Kitchener wished to renew them the next day, but Roberts arrived and decided to blockade the laager instead. There can be no doubt that Kitchener's original decision to attack was right, and it is highly probable that a new and better-arranged attack on the laager on the day following the battle would not only have been successful but would have been less costly than the direct and consequential losses of the blockade, while the time gained might have been of great value. The incident is indeed typical of Kitchener's character and career. His judgement on larger issues was almost always uncannily correct, and he never lacked the courage to put his judgement to the test. His failures were generally due to a lack of knowledge of technical detail, and to a dislike, amounting almost to contempt, of deliberate methods, which he was disposed to regard as red tape. He was accused, but with injustice, of callousness and disregard for the lives of his men. His natural shyness and reserve, accentuated by years of solitary work in the East, made him almost incapable of expressing deep feeling; but he was essentially tender-hearted, and certainly not lacking in consideration for the soldier.
Five days before the surrender of Cronje at Paardeberg (27 February), Kitchener was sent by Roberts to open up railway communications across the Orange river towards Bloemfontein, and was next employed in suppressing a rebellion of the Cape Boers about Priska, and in clearing the southern portion of the Orange Free State. Everywhere he went he endeavoured to infuse the spirit of energy which he had inculcated in Egypt, but found sadly lacking in South Africa, where he said the War was taken ‘too much like a game of polo with intervals for afternoon tea’. During Roberts's advance through Pretoria to Koomati Poort, Kitchener varied intervals of office work at head-quarters with expeditions to clear the lines of communication from the Boer raiders, who were becoming increasingly numerous and were usually led by that bold and enterprising leader of guerrillas, Christian De Wet. In one of these Kitchener was all but captured in a night surprise, and had to ride for his life. In November 1900 Roberts's forces had reached the frontiers of Portuguese East Africa; President Kruger had fled, and organized resistance seemed to be at an end. Lord Roberts therefore came home, and Kitchener was left as commander-in-chief to wind up the campaign.
It soon appeared that De Wet had taught the Boers the possibilities of guerrilla warfare, and that the War was far from over. Kitchener met these tactics of the Boers by employing an elaboration of the methods which he had already used in the Orange Free State. Lines of block-houses were established criss-cross through the country, and a series of drives by mounted troops, starting from these barriers, was organized against the guerrillas. This was a slow and wearisome business. Again and again the elusive Boers avoided the mounted columns and broke through the barriers; but gradually, and after many failures, the resistance of the Boers was worn down. One feature in this scheme of subjugation provoked much criticism. The Boers were without any organized systems of supply, and every farm was for them a depot. Flocks and herds were therefore removed, grain was carted away or destroyed, and farms were gutted. This made it necessary to provide for the Boer women and children, who were assembled in concentration camps where sickness soon became prevalent and the rate of mortality was for a time very high. This sickness could not, in fact, be ascribed to any neglect on the part of the British authorities, but the result was that sympathisers with the Boers were provided with apparent grounds for agitation. Moreover, the plan almost certainly had the adverse effect of prolonging the enemy's resistance by relieving the Boers in the field of the responsibility of caring for their dependents. In June 1901 there appeared to be some prospect that the Free State and Transvaal would surrender, but the waverers were rallied by an appeal from Kruger to hold out, and by a series of risings in the Cape Colony, ably led by General Johannes Smuts. But, as in Egypt, Kitchener, having formed his plan, adhered to it, and continued to multiply lines of block-houses, and to organize drives. The end did not come till 31 May 1902, and was then reached largely because of Kitchener's moderating influence upon the terms which Lord Milner, the high commissioner, desired to impose. On his return to England in July Kitchener received a viscounty, with special remainder, and became one of the original members of the order of merit.
After a few months' rest Kitchener left England in October to take up the post of commander-in-chief in India, breaking his voyage in order to go to Khartoum and open the Gordon Memorial College. The distribution of troops in India had not been varied materially since the reorganization which followed the Mutiny, and the system of military administration was in many ways too much centralized. Kitchener had little difficulty in gaining official acceptance of his plans for removing many of the details of army administration from headquarters to the commands, and for arranging a grouping of the garrisons more in accordance with the existing problems of the defence of India, and better calculated to promote the health and efficiency of the troops. But in his attempts to improve the higher administration of the army in India he encountered serious obstacles. He found in Lord Curzon a masterful viceroy convinced of the necessity of making the civil power predominant, and suspicious of any measures that had the appearance of increasing the authority of the soldier. The existing system provided for a military member of the viceroy's council, independent of the commander-in-chief. He had what amounted to the power of vetoing any proposal of the commander-in-chief which involved expenditure. Kitchener, while recognizing the importance of maintaining the supreme authority of the viceroy, urged the abolition of the system of dual control in a long controversy, in which his arguments prevailed with Mr. (afterwards Viscount) Morley, then secretary-of-state for India. As commander-in-chief he initiated more reforms than any of his predecessors, not excepting even Lord Roberts, who had the advantage of a lifelong knowledge of the Indian army. Kitchener not only succeeded in improving the central administration and the machinery for mobilization, but he also modernized the system of training, and gave a great stimulus to military education by establishing a Staff College in India. It is certain that without the reforms which he instituted India could not have given the Empire the assistance which she furnished during the European War.
On leaving India in September 1909, Kitchener was promoted field-marshal, and after a visit to the battlefields of the Russo-Japanese War, went to Australia and New Zealand to advise the dominion governments as to their organization for defence. He reached England in 1910 in order to receive the field-marshal's baton from the hands of King Edward VII. He then enjoyed some fifteen months of comparative leisure, broken only by his duties as a member of the Committee of Imperial Defence; and he profited by this to visit Turkey and the Sudan and to make a tour through British East Africa. In September 1911 he was appointed British agent and consul-general in Egypt. The prestige of that position had not unnaturally fallen somewhat with the departure of Lord Cromer, but Kitchener almost immediately succeeded in restoring it to its former height. The best tribute to his administration is that, during a period of great unrest in the Near East, when Turkey was engaged in two wars, it was uneventful. He succeeded in keeping Egypt quiet, and was able to devote himself almost entirely to social reforms, and to developing the commerce and resources of the country. The British government showed its gratitude by advising the King to confer on him an earldom, which he received in July 1914. He then returned to England for his annual holiday. When, a month later, war with Germany became imminent, he was on the point of returning to his post, but on 3 August he was recalled from Dover by Mr. Asquith in order to take over the seals of the secretary-of-state for war.
There was no other man then alive who, as head of the War Office, could have commanded so much of the confidence of the public, and that was in itself sufficient reason for Kitchener's appointment; nor was there anyone who had such first-hand knowledge of the military resources of the Empire as a whole. Within recent years he had examined on the spot the military problems of Egypt, India, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and East Africa, and from that knowledge the Empire was to reap great benefit. The gaps in his equipment were that he had little experience of the organization of the army at home, and none at all of the methods and machinery of the War Office, or of the system of Cabinet government; but there was more than compensation for these drawbacks in the fact that he entered the War Office fully conscious of the magnitude of the problem before the nation, and of the lamentable deficiencies in the preparations which had been made to meet that problem. Both soldiers and statesmen, in making plans for the event of war with Germany, conceived a struggle in which England should give full naval, but limited military, support to France; and the general conviction was that the complexity of modern international relations, more especially in the realm of finance, made a long war impossible. Of the statesmen and soldiers of Europe Kitchener alone envisaged from the first a war which would last three years, and he alone believed in the possibility of raising and putting in the field large new armies during the War. On entering the War Office he immediately made plans for the expansion of the British army of six regular and fourteen territorial divisions to seventy divisions; and it is not too much to say that this provision not only saved the British Empire from destruction, but Europe from German domination. It is probably true that the expansion of the British army could have been carried through more smoothly and expeditiously by expanding the territorial army than by creating new armies; but Kitchener was not familiar with the effect of Lord Haldane's work upon the territorial army, and his experience in South Africa led him to distrust the influence of county magnates in the formation of new units, while it is also probable that he was to some extent led away by his taste for improvisation. The fact remains that he brought his plans to completion, and in the third year of the War he had seventy divisions either in, or ready for, the field, an achievement which no one in 1914 had believed to be possible. When the public learned in May 1915 that the British forces in France were severely hampered by the lack of high explosive shell, Kitchener was made the target of a bitter attack in a section of the press. The Ministry of Munitions and the systematic mobilization of industry for the manufacture of munitions which resulted therefrom were very necessary additions to the machinery for the conduct of the War; but no arrangements could have made up in the early part of 1915 for the lack of provision for the manufacture of high explosive shells and guns before the War, and until April 1916 the armies in the field were entirely supplied with shell under contracts made by Kitchener in the War Office. Munitions could not be improvised, nor very speedily manufactured, but in all other respects no armies in the field were ever better provided with what was needed both for efficiency and for comfort; this was made possible by Kitchener's immediate anticipation both of the length and of the extent of the War.
The newspaper attacks did not affect the confidence of the public in Kitchener, and the King's action in conferring on him the order of the Garter in June 1915 was widely approved. But at this time the relations of the war minister with some of his colleagues in the Cabinet were becoming strained, and as the difficulties of the war increased these relations did not tend to become more happy. Kitchener had from the first, and retained to the last, the confidence of Mr. Asquith; but, from the formation of the first coalition in May 1915, Mr. Asquith's influence declined, and other members of the government became anxious to know more about the conduct of the War, and to have a more active share in it. Kitchener's fine presence, his European reputation, his command of the French language, and his proved sympathy with France, made him an admirable negotiator. He was instrumental in smoothing over many of the early difficulties of the alliance, notably at the end of August 1914, when the enforced retreat of the British army after the battle of Le Cateau caused grave anxiety both to the French government and to the French commander-in-chief. But these qualities had not much influence with his colleagues in the Cabinet, where his natural reticence, his lack of experience of work in committee, and his inability to throw his ideas into the common stock, raised suspicions, usually groundless, but hard to meet. Nor was his administration of the War Office happy. He did not understand the methods of a government department, and most of the soldiers who were familiar with them had gone to France with the Expeditionary Force. This led to his taking too much work upon himself, and he became at one and the same time the adviser of the Cabinet on strategy and the organizer of an immense expansion of the British army. His methods often lacked system, and not infrequently produced friction; while, for lack of competent advice and of time for due consideration, his conduct of the strategy of the War was more than once open to criticism, though he was often right when others were wrong. Just as he foresaw the length of the War, so he foresaw also that the Germans would march through Belgium north of the Meuse in great strength, and soon after he entered the War Office he pointed out that the British army at Mons would be in an exposed and dangerous position. He deferred, however, to the opinion of the French and British soldiers who had prepared the plans of campaign. But, when the plans for attacking the Dardanelles were under discussion, he allowed himself to be influenced by those who believed that the navy could force the Straits unaided, and he was dragged into the military operations in circumstances which greatly prejudiced their success. Throughout this unfortunate campaign he was torn in divergent directions, on the one hand by his desire with limited means to sustain the British armies in France, and on the other by the need of prosecuting with vigour the attack upon the Straits. Thus there were at times hesitation and doubt when there should have been vigour and decision. When the failure of the Dardanelles campaign was evident, the government, some members of which were not reluctant to be relieved of his presence, sent him to the Near East to report on the possibility and advisability of evacuation. Reluctantly he came to the conclusion that the only course was to abandon the enterprise, and he returned to England at the end of November 1915 to advise the Cabinet to that effect. On his arrival he tendered to the prime minister his resignation, which was at once refused. He was now fully conscious of the defects in the administrative machinery at the War Office; and at the end of the year he brought Major-General Sir William Robertson from France to be chief of the Imperial General Staff, gave him greater powers than former chiefs of the staff had possessed, and authorized him to reorganize the general staff at head-quarters. Thenceforward there was little creaking of the wheels of military administration, though it was many months before the effect of the change could be seen, and Kitchener himself did not live to see it. On the morning of 5 June 1916 he sailed from Scapa Flow in H.M.S. Hampshire to visit Russia. The Russian government had long been anxious for his presence and advice; the British government hoped through his influence to revive the waning enthusiasm of the Russian armies, and to establish some method of co-operation between the Allied armies of Eastern and Western Europe. The circumstances of the loss of the Hampshire are not absolutely clear, but it appears that the cruiser, when off the Orkneys in bad weather, struck a mine and went down with the loss of all on board save a few of the crew [The Loss of H.M.S. ‘Hampshire’. Official Narrative, 1926.].
The news of Kitchener's death was received with universal mourning and was treated as a public calamity of the first magnitude; a memorial service was held in St. Paul's Cathedral, where a chapel, in the north-west tower, is dedicated to his memory. Though his countrymen felt deeply the extent of their loss, the great work with which Kitchener's name will always be associated was in a measure completed. At his call and under his inspiration, more than 3,000,000 men had voluntarily joined the colours and had been organized into armies, an achievement without parallel in history. On the very day on which he left for Russia the last of the divisions to which his name was given by the public also sailed from sailed from England. He had planned that the British armies in France should be at their greatest strength in the third year of the War, and he hoped that victory would be achieved in that year. He adhered to that plan with the same resolution which had brought him to Khartoum, and had ended the South African War. The British armies in France did reach their highest strength in 1917, and it is at least within the bounds of probability that had he lived he would have prevented some of those divided councils and divergences of purpose which contributed to the prolongation of the War into 1918.
Kitchener never married, and, in accordance with the special remainder, his brother, Colonel Henry Elliott Chevallier Kitchener, succeeded as second Earl.
A portrait of Kitchener was painted by Sir H. von Herkomer in 1891 against a background of Egyptian architecture executed by F. Goodall; this picture was presented to the National Portrait Gallery by Mr. Pandeli Ralli in 1916. There is also in the same gallery a portrait in pastel executed by C. Horsfall in 1899, and presented in 1916 by Sir Lees Knowles. There are other portraits by Sir A. S. Cope (1900) and the Hon. John Collier. A bronze bust by Sir William Goscombe John, is placed in the Gordon Memorial College at Khartoum; another, in marble, by Sir Hamo Thornycroft, was sculptured in 1917. The full-length effigy in marble executed in 1923 for the monument in St. Paul's Cathedral is by W. Read Dick. A statue by John Tweed was erected on the Horse Guards Parade in 1926. (See Royal Academy Pictures 1891, 1900, 1917, and 1923).
[W. S. Churchill, The River War, 1899; Sir J. F. Maurice and M. H. Grant, (Official) History of the War in South Africa, 1899–1902, 1906–1910; Sir George Arthur, Life of Lord Kitchener, 1920.]