About Henry Seymour Rawlinson
General Henry Seymour Rawlinson, 1st Baron Rawlinson, GCB, GCSI, GCVO, KCMG (20 February 1864 – 28 March 1925), known as Sir Henry Rawlinson, Bt between 1895 and 1919, was a British First World War general most famous for his roles in the Battle of the Somme of 1916 and the Battle of Amiens in 1918.
Rawlinson was born in Westminster, London, England, in June 1864. His father, Sir Henry Rawlinson, 1st Baronet, was an Army officer (and a renowned Middle East scholar and generally recognized as the father of Assyriology). Rawlinson attended Eton and Sandhurst and entered the Army in 1884 as an officer in the King's Royal Rifle Corps in India. His first military experience was serving in Burma during an 1886 uprising.
In 1889, Rawlinson's mother died and he returned to England. He transferred to the Coldstream Guards and was promoted to captain. He served on Kitchener's staff during the advance on Omdurman in 1898 and served with distinction in a field command in the Boer War in 1899 to 1902. Rawlinson was promoted to lieutenant-general in 1903 and named as commandant of the Army Staff College. He was made Commander of 2nd Infantry Brigade at Aldershot in 1907 and General Officer Commanding 3rd Division in 1910.
At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Rawlinson took command of the British IV Corps. In 1915, he was elevated to command of the British First Army but was taken off the front after questioning higher ranks about the tactics being used. Rawlinson was assigned to Gallipoli to organise the withdrawal of Allied forces that had become entrenched there. He performed this task better than others had thought possible and he was recalled to the Western Front to assume command of the Fourth Army on 24 January 1916. as the plans for the Allied offensive on the Somme were being developed. For a period in 1917–18, he also commanded the Second Army. He returned to the Fourth Army in July 1918 for the Allied counter-offensive. He was made GCVO in 1917 and KCMG 1918.
During the war, Rawlinson was noted for his willingness to use innovative tactics. He organised one of the first major night attacks by a modern army in 1916. For a 1918 offensive, he combined attacks by aeroplanes and armoured units with the infantry.
Following the Armistice, Parliament passed a vote of thanks to Rawlinson for his service. In 1919, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Rawlinson, of Trent in the County of Dorset, and appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB). He was again called on to organise an evacuation, this time of the Allied forces that had been sent to Russia to intervene in the Civil War there. In November 1919 he became General Officer Commanding-in-Chief for Aldershot Command. In 1920, Rawlinson was made Commander-in-Chief, India, a post he held until his death. In 1924, he was appointed a Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India (GCSI). Lord Rawlinson died when he was taken ill after playing polo and cricket on his 61st birthday in 1925.
Henry Rawlinson's brother Alfred Rawlinson also played a signicant role during World War I, but this was mostly confined to the Middle Eastern theatre in Turkey, Mesopotamia and Persia. He was taken prisoner of war by the Turks, which caused some political complications based on his brother's position. The story is contained in his book, Adventures in the Near East, 1918-1922.