Chosen by Lady Kenya Tatton-Brown, depositor
Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener was born on this day in 1850.
In 1896 an expedition to the Sudan was announced to combat the Mahdist uprising and my great uncle, Lord Kitchener, was appointed leader.
The Nation had been traumatised by the rise of the Mahdi following the assassination of General Gordon, and after the failure of the relief expedition that was to save him. It must have given the British and Egyptian armies great incentive to overthrow the Mahdi and Osam Bin. So when Queen Victoria and the British Government announced that an expedition was to be mounted, my Great Uncle, Lord Kitchener became Governor-General in September 1898, and began a programme of restoring good governance to the Sudan.
He had been at Suakim (where he was shot in the neck), and had sufficient experience of the area enabling him to organize a successful campaign miles away from base, necessitating the laying of a railway line for supplying the needs of the armies involved.
This red leather folder presented to Lord Kitchener by the House of Lords on his return from Khartoum is fulsome in language and definite in direction as to who should be thanked. The list makes interesting reading, particularly as so many names would turn up again during the Boer War.
Following further service in India and Egypt after the Boer War, Lord Kitchener was appointed Secretary of State for War by Prime Minister Asquith at the onset of WW1 in 1914. Heading a recruitment campaign, Kitchener helped to train a new army of 70 divisions of volunteers, featuring on the ‘Your Country Needs You’ poster advertisement that has become the lasting image of the leader.
Lord Kitchener died in 1916 when the armoured cruiser HMS Hampshire struck a mine laid by a German U-boat whilst en route to Russia for a diplomatic mission.
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