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About General Sir Percy Henry Noel Lake, KCB, KCMG
General Sir Percy Henry Noel Lake, KCB, KCMG (29 June 1855 – 17 November 1940) was a senior commander of the British Indian Army, serving during World War I, and a Canadian soldier.
He was born to Lt-Col FG Lake who was stationed at Fulwood Barracks, Preston, Lancashire on 29 June 1855. He attended Preston Grammar School.
Having joined the 59th Foot regiment of the British Army in 1873, Lake fought in the Second Afghan War of 1878-1879 and in Sudan 1885. He was promoted from Sub-Lieutenant to Lieutenant on 9 August 1873.
Graduating subsequently from the General Staff College 1887, he took up a position in the War Office's Intelligence Department.
On 22 August 1902 he was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB).
Lake started his military career as an officer of infantry (1873), then promoted Brigadier-General, Major-General, Lieutenant-General (1911) and General.
Prior to the outbreak of war in 1914, Lake served mainly in India and in Canada. He is known as the first Chief of the Canadian General Staff (1904–1908), then acting as chief military advisor to the Canadian government (1908–1910). In 1911, he was appointed to command the 7th Indian Division and then served as Chief of the General Staff in India (1912–1915).
World War I
In 1915, Lake was dispatched by the War Office to Mesopotamia to protect Britain's all-important oil pipelines, which were critical in supplying the Royal Navy. With Sir John Nixon's illness and subsequent retirement as Commander-in-Chief of British operations in Mespotoamia in January 1916, Lake was assigned as his replacement.
Lake was afforded no honeymoon period in his new command: he was promptly ordered to launch a second operation directed at relieving Sir Charles Townshend's besieged forces at Kut.
Lake dispatched the relief force, under the command of General Aylmer, then General George Gorringe in three attempts to relieve General Townshend. However, all failed, and finally General Townshend - who was subsequently accused of inactivity during the relief attempts - surrendered to the Turks in late April 1916, in what was perhaps the greatest humiliation to befall the British army to that date.
Following the failure to relieve the siege at Kut, Lake was recalled to London to testify before the newly-established Mesopotamia Commission of Inquiry set-up to investigate the problems in the region. He was replaced as Commander-in-Chief by General Maude.
He was created Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) on 1 January 1916. At the time he was Colonel, The East Lancashire Regiment and Chief of the General Staff, India.
Holding no further active command in the war, he was assigned to the Ministry of Munitions in May 1917.
Following the war he formally retired in November 1919. He died on 17 November 1940 in Victoria, British Columbia.