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Horatio Herbert KITCHENER (1850-1916)

Known As
Lord Kitchener
Biographical Details

Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener (1850-1916), was a senior British Army officer who played a central role in the early part of the First World War.

Kitchener was born in County Kerry, Ireland, on 24th June 1850.  The family then moved to Switzerland where Kitchener was educated at Montreux, then at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich.  He was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1871.

Kitchener was credited in 1898 for winning the Battle of Omdurman and securing control of the Sudan for which he was made Lord Kitchener of Khartoum.

As Chief of Staff (1900–1902) in the Second Boer War he played a key role in Lord Roberts' conquest of the Boer Republics, then succeeded Roberts as commander-in-chief.

In 1914, at the start of the First World War, Kitchener became Secretary of State for War, a Cabinet Minister. One of the few to foresee a long war, lasting for at least three years, and with the authority to act effectively on that perception, he organised the largest volunteer army that Britain had seen, and oversaw a significant expansion of materials production to fight on the Western Front. Despite having warned of the difficulty of provisioning for a long war, he was blamed for the shortage of shells in the spring of 1915 – one of the events leading to the formation of a coalition government – and stripped of his control over munitions and strategy.

On 5th June 1916, Kitchener was making his way to Russia to attend negotiations, on HMS Hampshire, when it struck a German mine 1½ miles west of Orkney, Scotland, and sank. Kitchener was among 737 who died.

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