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Biographical Details of Royal Engineer Officers employed on the Sudan Railways (Part 2)

See Part 1 for Abbreviations, the Suakin-Berber Railway, the 1885 Dongola Campaign Relief of Khartoum, and References.

1896 Campaign – 1926

Blakeney, Robert Byron Drury, Brigadier-General C.M.G., D.S.O.
Robert Blakeney was born at Mitcham, Surrey, on the 18th April, 1872, the son of William Blakeney, Paymaster-in-Chief, RN, of Hillsborough, Westward Ho! He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, R.E., on the 24th July, 1891, and, after his Young Officers Course at the S.M.E., was posted to the Balloon Section at Aldershot in I893. He was promoted Lt on 24th July, 1894. In 1896 he was selected for service with the Dongola Expedition in Egypt. He arrived from Suakin at the railhead at Atkasaha, about seventy-five miles south of Wadi Halfa in June, 1896 but was immediately put into quarantine for cholera and was not available to work for about a month. After the battle of Hafir, he helped to extend the Dongola line to Kerma, which was reached in May, 1897. The entire railway staff then moved to Wadi Halfa to build the 230 miles of line from Wadi Halfa to Abu Hamed, reaching there in October, 1897. The building of this line is described by Sande’s in the “Royal Engineers in Egypt and the Sudan”. The railway had been extended another 155 miles to Berber and Fort Atbara by July, 1898. Blakeney was galloper to Major-General Lewis at Omdurman. He continued as Traffic Manager of the Sudan Railways after the campaign, but was transferred to Cairo at Girouard’s request to the Traffic Department of Egyptian State Railways in May, 1899. On 24th January, 1900 he was posted to command 3rd Balloon Section in South Africa. Balloons had limited use in a mobile war and after the Relief of Mafeking the Section was broken up. Blakeney then became Assistant Director of Railways at Lorenzo Marquez. 1st July 1900 to 17th June 1901; In 1901 he returned to the Traffic Department of the Egyptian Railways, becoming Deputy General Manager in 1906-1913 and General Manager 1919-3. He had been promoted to Major under the twenty years rule on 24th July 1911 and retired from the Army on 4th February, 1914. Major Blakeney served in the operations on the Suez Canal, 1914-15; He served in the Dardanelles Expedition as AD, Railway Transport, and Temporary Lieutenant Colonel, and served in the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, 1915, 1916, 1917 and 1918, as Deputy Director of Railway Traffic. During the First World War he became D.D.R.T. and Director of Railway Traffic in Egypt on 8th April, 1919, holding the rank of Brigadier-General. He rendered great assistance to the army in running the 627 miles of line from Kantara to the northern end of Palestine. He became General Manager, Egyptian State Railways, 1st April 1919 until 1923 During the Second World War he joined the Home Guard, A.R.P. and the N.F.S (medal). He died on the 13th February, 1952, at his home in Mont au Pretre, St. Helier, Jersey. Major Blakeney married 1st , 6th May 1903, Dorothy (d. 1920), daughter of Major Nelson Ellis, 101st Royal Munster Fusiliers, and they had two sons (one killed in action) and two daughter (dedc). M. 2nd 1921, Clara Isabel Henderson, of Merfield House, Rode, Somerset.

Honours, Awards and Decorations
Dongola Expeditionary Force, M.I.D., 4th Class Medjidie, British Medal, Khedive’s Medal with Clasp, then 1897 Clasp, 1898, M.I.D. D.S.O., Clasp.
South African War Queen’s Medal, 4 clasps.

WW1 services the C.M.G. in 1918, as well as the Legion of Honour and 2nd Class Order of the Nile.
Medjidie 3rd Class, 1903;
Third Class Osmanieh, 1905;
Second Class Medjidie, 1912;
Mentioned in Despatches
Order of the Nile, Second Class, 1916; Four times mentioned in Despatches; CMG, 3 June 1918;
Commander of the Order of the Crown of Belgium, 1923,
(Anon 1961)
REJ Dec 1952

Cator, Edmund Humphrey Style R.E
b. 13th, July, 1872 at Beckenham, Kent, s. of Mrs. B? Cator of Penshurst, Kent, commissioned 2nd Lt. 24th July 1891, Lt., 24th July 1894, died at Wadi Halfa of enteric fever 21st Feb, 1897 picture in (Trett 1990) In January, 1897 had been reconnoitring the route of the Desert Railway from Wadi Halfa. M.I.D.
(Conolly 1898)

He was born in Montreal on the 26th January, 1867, and died in London, at the age of 65, on the 26th September, I932. He was the second son of Hon. Desire Girouard, who was Senior Judge of the Court of Appeal of Canada. His mother Essie Cranwill belonged to the family of Cranwills in New Orleans, U.S.A. He was educated at the Royal Military College, Kingston, Canada. The Judge wished his son to join the legal profession, being particularly averse to an army career. The son had very different views. He wished to be an engineer. He considered being a Royal Engineer, but in consideration of his father's prejudices he did not apply for one of the commissions usually offered to graduates of Kingston College. Father and son had serious discussions on the son’s career, so that home had some drawbacks during the vacations from Kingston College. Because of this, many vacations were spent working in engineering particularly on railways. On leaving Kingston College in 1886, he took up a junior appointment as an engineer on survey and construction work on the Canadian Pacific Railway. This was formative experience which influenced his whole life. The best engineers in America and Canada were working on railways at that tine, and Girouard maintained a life-long interest in them.

In 1888 Girouard accepted an offer of a commission in the Royal Engineers that had been offered to graduates of Kingston College. His father was bitterly opposed to the decision and declined to help in any way. The pay of a very junior engineer on the C.P.R. had not permitted any saving, but an aunt came to the rescue with a cheque for £100 and with that he started for England and reported at Chatham 26th July, I888. It was immediately obvious that he was not ordinary Young Officer. He was two years older than his fellows and was already a practical engineer. On leaving Chatham his previous experience on the C.P.R. caused him to be posted on 1st July, I890, to be Traffic Manager of the Railways within the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, an appointment which he held for five years He took the opportunity, offered by the Arsenal to study all the aspects of engineering that surrounded him. More importantly still, he read voraciously every book he could find on the employment of railways in war, particularly of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. He developed a set of principles on how an army should use a railway in time of war however in 1890; Girouard was the only British officer who realised that certain definite principles and organization must be adhered to, in order to develop the full utility of railways in war. The British did not develop regulations on the subject for a very long time afterwards. Whilst at Woolwich, he brought to general attention the practicability of mounting the very heaviest guns on railway rolling stock.

When ordered to reoccupy the Sudan Kitchener needed to keep his forces within reasonable distance of the railhead. The progress of the railway would regulate the pace of the advance which would be made in bounds, followed by halts to bring up the railway. Kitchener was not going to be satisfied with a slowly advancing railway. Kitchener had heard of Girouard, and sent for him The 29 year old subaltern arrived at Wadi Halfa in March, 1896, to be appointed Director of Railways in the Egyptian Army and told to produce a railway at the minimum rate of a mile a day forthwith. It was a demand for "rabbits out of a hat." This was Kitcheners way and he got his rabbits, There was no field park of stores at Wadi Halfa The Egyptian Army were already at Akasheh 50 miles from Wadi Halfa and the railway was to arrive there at once if not sooner. The remains of the 1884-5 campaign railway were pressed into service and Egypt was combed for additional supplies. An Egyptian Railway Battalion completely innocent of any railway or other engineering experience was formed. Sapper officers and O.R.s were posted to help out. Overcoming all difficulties Girouard had extended the railway by 92 miles on 4th August. The army received it supplies which enabled it to make a rapid advance to Merowe. It was widely know that Girouard, through sheer hard work and perseverance had produced rabbits from the hat. Kitchener had reputation as a stern man, but found in Girouard a man who appealed to him and Girouard was not overawed by Kitchener. Kitchener was now authorised to advance on Berber. Kitchener wanted to take the railway straight across the desert, only 235 miles instead of several hundred following the loop of the Nile. Girouard’s task was t build that railway. It would outflank all the cataracts and give access to navigable water beyond Berber. There was no known water in that stretch and Girouard made it clear to Kitchener that rabbits could not be pulled out of a hat on this occasion. It would be necessary to halt the advance and prepare carefully. Girouard and his staff prepared the estimates of what material was needed. Egypt was financially straightened and the utmost economy was exercised. Cecil Rhodes realised the Girouard was working on his pet scheme of the Cape to Cairo Railway, and organised the release from the Cape & Natal Railways of 70-ton and 80-ton locomotives. These meet Girouard’s demands that the locomotives must be heavy and powerful to enable them to haul heavy loads including the water tanks. American and Canadian practice was to adopt a high ration between the axle load and weight of rail, despite some expert advice.

Girouard went to the UK to place the orders and arrange delivery. His staff of all ranks now knew their job, and were capable of laying track at rate of over a mile a day. In May, 1897, that the work on the desert railway began in real earnest. Two wells were sunk and water found. This speeded up the rate of construction as it reduced the number of trucks required to carry water and increase the useful trainload. The Atbara River, 385 miles from Wadi Halfa, was reached in May, I898; adding the 203 miles of the Kerma line, the total length of railway Girouard had constructed in 2 years and 2 months had been 588 miles. The Egyptians had guaranteed Kitchener 10,000 tons a day on the new railway they were building from Luxor to Assouan. Kitchener doubted that the Egyptians could deliver and ordered Girouard to report. Girouard reported that the line could not supply more than 5,000 tons per day. Lord Cromer called a conference and ordered Girouard to sort the problem in three months.

In June, 1898, Lord Cromer offered Girouard the appointment of “President of Egyptian State Railways and Alexandria Harbour." Kitchener urged Girouard to accept it in spite of the fact that it meant leaving the force about to advance on Khartoum. Girouard was still a subaltern at the age of 31, and Kitchener knew what he owed Girouard. When the battle of Khartoum had been fought, Girouard sent a telegram of congratulations. "Kitchener must have received thousands of such telegrams, but his reply to Girouard was telegraphed immediately: "Thank you my dear Girouard your good work in 1896 1897 and 1898 has borne fruit."

The Khedive Ismail Pasha had bankrupted Egypt and the bailiffs had been sent in. All the revenue from the railway Port of Alexandria had been taken to pay the debts. There had been no improvements and little minimum maintenance. The railway in many places was dangerous. Girouard examined the railway and ports and then saw Lord Cromer. Cromer backed Girouard and eventually got the money released. In the meantime Girouard and his staff worked out the renewals programme. Girouard stayed in Egypt long enough to work out the renewals programme and commence it. In May, 1899 Girouard travelled to the United Kingdom and America to order the equipment for the programme.

Before returning to Egypt in the late summer, Girouard was in London and meet Colonel the Hon. George Gough, Private Secretary to the C.-in-C., Lord Wolseley. The South African war was imminent and Girouard asked if the War Office had realised the railway problems that would be faced in South Africa. Girouard explained the problems and received a telephone call the next day to go and see the C.-in-C. Girouard explained the situation to Wolseley and was asked if he could to South Africa as Director of Railways. Cromer released Girouard for the duration.

The war establishment was two small railway companies and a batman for the Director of Railways. The War Establishment Committee lost the ensuring battle with Girouard. He was given eight R.E. officers and a proportion of other ranks, also four Fortress Companies, 6th, 8th, 20th and 42nd, to reinforce the two Railway Coys., 8th and 10th. Most of his staff had been subalterns under him in the Sudan. He asked for £100,000 to purchase railway and engineering stores and material. What seemed an outrageous demand for money had swollen to £1,000,000 by the time Girouard arrived in Cape Town. Girouard also organised the employment under himself of any British railwayman who had left his employment on the railways of Boer Republics. About 300 trained railwaymen were recruited in this way.

Girouard embarked in October, 1899 as a local Lt.-Col. Three months earlier he had been a subaltern. The Command Paymaster at Cape Town was so staggered by Girouard’s letter of credit for £1,000,000 that he burst into the Garrison Mess at lunch-time saying: "A hell of a fellow has arrived. He calls himself Jerrymo, and he's got a letter of credit for a million!"

Girouard raised the Railway Pioneer Regiment (R.P.R) from the mining engineers and artisans who had left the Rand. The R.P.R. added to his six R.E. Coys. and his 300 railwaymen from hostile railways gave him a useful force for the coming operations. Two large official history volumes have recorded it in considerable detail. As expected, the enemy blew up practically every bridge and culvert and several miles of railway, and left 1,800 miles of line denuded of any employees. But Girouard's had foreseen this and the actions he took enabled the troops to be supplied. Equally, he established friendly relations with the management of the British controlled railways. His organisation worked so well in repairing the permanent way and destroyed bridges that the operations of the army were never delayed for lack of railways. The principles which he laid down were afterwards adhered to in Movement Regulations. It took some time to educate the Army Staff in how railways should be operated in times of war.

When the campaign started drawing to a close, Lord Milner, the High Commissioner for South Africa, knew he needed a Commissioner of Railways to co-ordinate the Boer and British railways, and to expand them. He asked Girouard to accept this post. Girouard had been away from the Sudan for nearly three years and his substitute was carrying out the policies Girouard had laid down. Girouard accepted Milner’s offer, and carried on working in South Africa.

He had to create a new civilian railway administration, as most military personnel left on conclusion of the campaign, and to arrange terms of working and traffic within the adjoining railway systems. South Africa on conclusion of the war went through a boom period of about 18 months, where money was freely available for all sorts of projects. This was followed by a sharp recession, where those who had been the greatest supporters of the expansion, were now its greatest critics. A change of government in the United Kingdom meant that Milner’s administration was coming to and end and Girouard resigned in December, 1904, returning to England with his wife.

He had married Mary Gwendolen Solomon, the only daughter of the Hon. Sir Richard Solomon, Attorney-General in Lord Milner’s Government in Pretoria on 10th Sept. 1903. They divorced in 1914 on the grounds of his adultery and desertion, he having failed to restore her conjugal rights. He was now a Regimental Captain and a Brevet Lieut.-Colonel, and as such was posted to be Staff Officer to the Chief Engineer, Eastern Command. After 21 months' chafing in this employment, he was appointed in September, I906, to be A.Q.M.G., Western Command. But the routine duties of a "Q" office were even less to his taste than the routine of an engineering office. He did not enjoy this period of his life, after having been given so much responsibility, but possibly a period of rest and normal routine was very good for his health.

In January, I907, Mr. Winston Churchill, Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, had to decide upon a railway for Northern Nigeria which did not have railway. Churchill had mountains of advice and proposals, all conflicting. He called for Girouard and told him he wanted one opinion, Girouard’s, which he was prepared to back. Girouard came back to Churchill, very shortly thereafter. He declined to offer advice on the route until he had seen the country. He pointed out that the engineering problems were probably the easiest part; the advent of a railway in a country devoid of railways raised a whole host of legal and economic problems. Churchill realised that the post of High Commissioner of Northern Nigeria had just become vacant and offered Girouard the appointment, giving him a free had to deal with the railway and find the money. In February, 1907, the new High Commissioner and C.-in-C. of Northern Nigeria embarked to take over his kingdom. The following year the title was changed to Governor and C.-in-C.

Although at first his primary concern was building the railway, he settled the problems holding up the construction of the railways, and turned his attention to developing the country. He appointed Mr. (later Sir John) Eaglesome, Director of Public Works of Northern Nigeria, as Director of Railways, to whom he was soon able to hand over entire responsibility for that work. Girouard himself took part in the reconnaissance for the route and settled it. Mr. Eaglesome was given the authority to collect the necessary staff of civil engineers, and Girouard also arranged for a valuable detachment of three officers and 30 N.C.O's and men of the Royal Engineers to work under Mr. Eaglesome. Girouard enthused all the colonial officials about the railway. It became “our railway” and that contributed greatly to the speed and low cost of construction. It was reported that the construction drivers nearly all Sappers would have worked themselves to a standstill for Girouard.

Girouard’s problem was how to organise a vast country which once combined with Southern Nigeria was one-third the size of India, to raise and equip an army, open communications and establish medical service, post and telegraphs on a small budget. Girouard used to say to his Staff: ' The greatest asset you possess is that invaluable spirit of economy, not to say meanness, which has been left behind by Sir Frederick Lugard. Much of his success was in his choice of his staff; he lived in the mess with them so he was always available to speak with them. The Colonial staff found many of his ideas radical. The cost of the Baro-Kano Railway was about £3,000 per mile. It was in his administrative role that he gained a greater reputation than he had as a builder of railways. He followed the Lugard policy of governing the country through its chiefs. Slavery was universal throughout Northern Nigeria in 1900 and Girouard continued Lugard’s work in abolishing it. He allowed native rule and customs to continue, as long as their ideas were not repugnant to British ideals. Girouard felt that there needed to be increased knowledge of native custom before traditional institutions which had the support of the people were dislocated. Girouard wrote: 'There are not wanting advocates of more direct rule, but even if it were possible to support that policy -which I am not prepared to do-it is quite out of the question on financial grounds. Direct personal rule of British officers would not be acceptable to the people who look to their natural leaders for guidance and control. It is not from the present generation of rulers that we must look for much advancement, and what is required on our part in our dealings with them is great and enduring patience. Exasperating it may be to witness slow progress, but this will not be hastened or accomplished by upsetting ideals and customs but little understood.'

Girouard carried out a comprehensive investigation into land tenure in Northern Nigeria, a subject which was pressing as the railway was being built. This not only affected the African population but also Europeans, especially traders. An expert committee was set up in London under Sir Kenelm Digby, G.C.B., to consider the whole question. To-day Nigeria is reaping the benefit of Girouard's labours in this respect. Incidentally Girouard was the first to introduce the motor-car to Northern Nigeria. Girouard's governorship of Northern Nigeria, although it continued only two and a half years up to September, I909, was a great success and conferred lasting benefits on the country. He was a very popular Governor who did not stand on ceremony, and earned the respect of his staff and the population through hard work.

In September, I909, he was promoted to be Governor and C.-in-C. East Africa Protectorate. On arrival he found that the Imperial Treasury had a controlling hand over how the Protectorate was run. To balance the budget there was grant-in-aid, and all financial matters had to be referred to both the Imperial Treasury and the colonial Office. This meant that long delays occurred in receiving approval. By the time Girouard left in 1912, he had gone through the books and was able to present a balanced budget and abolish grant-in-aid.

He organised the move of the Masai from Laikipia and the Northern Reserve to the Southern Masai Reserve. This benefited the Masai by bringing them together and strengthened the authority of the tribal chiefs, but also opened up large areas of agricultural land.

The announcement of his retirement was met with consternation in East Africa and a mass meeting in Nairobi asked the Colonial Office to reconsider. His work in East Africa brought considerable progress to both European and African inhabitants alike. Sir Percy was a keen supporter of athletic clubs in East Africa, especially of the Mombasa Sports Club and the Nairobi Gymkhana. He gave a trophy to be competed for in Association football, and the struggle for the ' Girouard Cup ' was a feature of the sporting life of the Colony.

Armstrong-Whitworths offered him the appointment of Managing Director on their Board and he accepted, retiring from the Army as a Brevet Colonel in July, 1912. He had two private reasons for doing this; Lady Girouard's health had prevented her from spending much time in East Africa. His own health also required attention. He had spent many years working very hard in parts of the world which were not noted for their healthy climate. He had little private income to supplement the pay which barely sufficed to meet the heavy expenses of the important posts which he had held. At Armstrong’s he would have a chance to build up some provision for his family.

Although there was talk on the outbreak of the First World War in recalling him to be Director of Railways to the British Forces in France, there had been early recognition of the importance of munitions, a problem which was to lead to the resignation of Cabinet Ministers and even the fall of Governments in every belligerent country. It was felt that Girouard would be better used in the supply of munitions than building railways, although it is possible that the breakdown of French Railways in 1916 would not have occurred if he had been in charge.

In April, 1915, the supply of munitions had become of immediate importance, Lord Kitchener sent for Girouard who could now advise him about the capacity of the United Kingdom’s armaments firms. A few large expert firms could no longer supply the quantities demanded. The whole country had to be turned into a workshop and the Trade Unions had to accept the dilution of labour. On the 22nd April Girouard was established in the War Office with the local rank of Major-General. He created a branch under the orders of the Master-General of Ordnance, who, however, gave him an entirely free hand. Girouard was Director of the War Office Munitions Department. He was to act as liaison between the War Office and the munitions firms. The issue of munitions became a primary cause, though not the main cause, of the dissolution of the Liberal Cabinet and the formation of a Coalition Government. Mr. Lloyd George was appointed to create a Munitions Ministry. Girouard's branch at the War Office was transferred complete to the new Ministry. Mr. Lloyd George appointed him to be his right-hand man as Director-General of Munitions. Girouard and Lloyd George were not temperamentally suited to working together and Girouard returned to Armstrong’s. Here he played a full part in that firms war efforts. A few years after the war Girouard found himself in disagreement with the Board, and when the crash came, Girouard was unable to carry the board with him on the policies he wished to implement to drastically reconstruct the firms business. He resigned.

Girouard had been interested in the manufacture of Portland Cement and he now formed a small company at Snodland, near Chatham. He produced a model factory which produced cement at very low prices. A powerful cement company made an offer which his fellow investors could not resist and the company was sold. Girouard immediately set up another factory where the geological conditions seemed even more favourable, the small scale tests misled him and the factory failed, there was no money to remedy matters and the factory was disposed of.

In September, 1932, he was suddenly attacked with serious illness that necessitated an immediate operation from which he could not recover. He died in London on the 26th September.

(Pritchard 1933)
REJ 1933 June

Gorringe, George Frederick, Lieut.-Gen. Sir K.C.B., K.C.M.G., D.S.O., Late Colonel Commandant, Royal Engineers
George Gorringe was born on 10th February, 1868 at Southwick, Sussex, the second son of Hugh Gorringe, Esq., J.P., of Kingston-by-Sea, Sussex. Educ. Lee's School, Brighton, and Wellington College, entered R.M.A., Woolwich, in 1886, where he gained the riding prize, and obtained his commission in the R.E. on 17th February, 1888. His first posting was to 11th Field Company, Aldershot where he proved to be a first class horseman and capable amateur vet. Kitchener took Gorringe as his first choice to help in the reconquest of the Sudan. In 1895 Gorringe was posted to the Military Works Branch at Suakin. He constructed the causeway from Trinkitat to the mainland, which was later used as the bed for the railway to Tokar, a piped water supply for Suakin, and various civil and military buildings. Kitchener thought highly of him, as he acquired a reputation for obtaining the maximum output for minimum cost from Egyptian and Arab labour. Gorringe was appointed D.A.A.G on Kitchener’s headquarters staff in March, 1896 in the time for the Dongola campaign. He was the only officer employed on “Q” duties, and was responsible for superintending the movement of all stores and supplies by river, rail and camel transport. He organised all boat transport on the Nile, arranged the transport of water for a desert march, and liaised with the Navy over the building and servicing of gunboats. Kitchener authorised him to issue orders to all depot commanders on the lines of communication north of Wadi Halfa to control what stores were sent to the front.

With Girouard’s absence in England in early 1897, Gorringe supervised the laying of the first 25 miles of the desert railway from Wadi Halfa to Abu Hamed. On Girouard’s return Gorringe built a bridge, and sank a well on the Kerma railway and one on the desert railway. He handed this work over to Micklem and resumed his staff duties. Gorringe acted as provost marshal to General Hunter during his advance on Abu Hamed. He constructed a fort at Abu Hamed. He also designed and constructed the fort at the junction of the Atbara River and the Nile. He once again became a D.A.A.G during the advance on Omdurman, and accompanied Kitchener through out the day of the battle. In October, 1898 he accompanied General Rundle to relieve the British forces at Gedaref and clear the dervishes out of the Eastern Sudan. He was ordered to undertake the reconstruction of Khartoum by Kitchener. Gorringe had a “Works Battalion” about 1,000 strong, under Egyptian officers and about 2,000 Jehadia (former followers of the Khalifa). They were employed in road-making, brick making, lime-burning and wood cutting. Such rapid progress was made that all the roads had been laid out and 7,000 trees ordered for the avenues by 6th February, 1899. Construction of the Government offices had also begun. Gorringe designed the new palace himself, obtaining books on Italian and other architecture. It was ready for occupation by Kitchener in the autumn of 1899.

Gorringe was promoted Captain in February, 1899 and on the following day was gazetted brevet major in accordance with the promise made after the Atbara campaign. Gorringe was given the command of the Irregular Sudanese Battalion, composed of Jehadia from Khartoum, when operations resumed against the Khalifa in November, 1899. Gorringe commanded the Battalion at the actions of Abu Aadel and Umm Debeikerat. He was awarded two more clasps to the Egyptian medal and on 14th March, 1900, he was promoted brevet Lieut.-Col., having been advanced to this rank from that of lieut. R.E. in thirteen months.

When Kitchener went to South Africa in December, 1899, he took Gorringe with him as his A.D.C. Shortly afterwards he was appointed D.A.A.G on the headquarters Staff. Early in 1900 Kitchener ordered him to organise and command the Colonial Defence Corps, a body of Cape loyalists formed for the purpose of preventing the invasion of Cape Colony by enemy commandos and of preventing uprisings of Boer sympathizers within the Colony. Gorringe used this force to chase down a Boer leader called Kritzinger, who had been stirring up disaffection in the northern Cape. Following the break up of the Colonial Defence Force in June, 1901, Gorringe continued the pursuit using a new force he had raised. Having chased Kritzinger north of the Orange River, he then began to trail Smuts when he moved south-west through the Cape Province. Gorringe tracked Smuts from Dordrecht to the Prince Albert area. He had been offered the appointment of Mudir (Governor) of Sennar Province by Sir Reginald Wingate, who had succeeded Kitchener as Governor-General of Sudan. However, questions were asked in both the Cape Parliament and the House of Commons about his actions as commander of the isolated columns when he had found it necessary to take action against espionage and evasion of requisitions. The allegation were not sustained, but undoubtedly affected his career and relations with Kitchener.

Returning as Governor of Sennar Province in early 1902 he organised the civil administration of the province and at the start of 1904, commanded an expedition against a notorious slave trader Ibrahim Wad Mohamed. He captured and hung the slave trader himself. For these services he received a clasp "Jerok" to the Egyptian medal, the Egyptian order of the Osmanieh, 3rd Class, and the brevet of colonel.

A British officer was only allowed to serve for 10 years in the Egyptian Army at that time and Gorringe returned to England in September, 1904. Long service in the Sudan had affected his health and he needed rest. Although he was brevet Colonel, on his return home the War Office felt that he could not be employed in any thing else than at his regimental rank of Captain and he was appointed Division Officer, Lands, Aldershot. He continued in this occupation till April, 1906, when he became Staff Officer to the Chief Engineer, Aldershot. Gorringe was appointed Director of Movements and Quarterings at the War Office in June 1906, promoted to the substantive rank of colonel, and shortly after to the temporary rank of brigadier-general. He continued in this post until 1909 when he took command of 18th Infantry Brigade at Lichfield. He was promoted major-general in September, 1911, and three months later was placed on the unemployed list.

In May, 1912, he took command of the Bombay Brigade. He was awarded the C.B. in June, 1912. The Bombay Brigade had a small military garrison and mainly dealt with administrative duties, mainly despatching troops and stores up country or overseas. In March, 1915 Gorringe was sent to take command of 33rd Infantry Brigade to reinforce the Indian Force “D " under Gen. Barrett, which was engaged in driving the Turks and their Arab allies out of Lower Mesopotamia.

12th Division was formed in April, 1915 and Gorringe took command. In May he was ordered to reopen communications with Ahwaz on the Karun river and clearing Arabistan of the enemy. The operations he carried out greatly assisted the advance of General Townsend up the Tigris. The division also guarded the Anglo-Persian oilfields. He was then ordered to capture Nasiriya at the junction of the Euphrates and the Shatt-al-Hai. It was very difficult opposed advance not helped by the intense heat. The force captured Nasiriya a month after it had started taking 950 prisoners, 17 guns and much booty. This striking success elicited from H.M. the King the following message: “The splendid achievement of General Gorringe's column, in spite of many hardships and intense heat, fills me with admiration."

From September, 1915 to January 1916, Gorringe took over the command of the Line of Communications Defence Troops with his headquarters at Amara, when he was then appointed Chief of Staff to General Aylmer, commanding the Tigris Corps, which was engaged in operations for the relief of Kut. He was wounded in February, while carrying out a personal reconnaissance, and since he was still unable to ride on account of his wound, in March, during the major operation, early in March, for the capture of the Dujaila Redoubt and the Ess Sinn position, he carried on the duties of Chief of Staff, being carried about in an ambulance tonga,

He succeeded to command of the Tigris Corps and immediately set about planning another attempt to relieve Kut where the garrison food supplies were running dangerously low. 5th April, 1916 saw the start of operations, some initial success was gained, but severe flooding of the Tigris hampered operations and on 22nd April Gorringe had to admit that his troops had reached the limit of their offensive capabilities. This was the end of the operations to relieve Kut which surrendered on 29th April. The appreciation of H.M. the King was expressed in the following telegram to Gen. Gorringe: - “Although your brave troops have not had the satisfaction of relieving their beleaguered comrades in Kut, they have, under the able leadership of yourself and subordinate commanders, fought with great gallantry and determination under the most trying conditions. The achievement of relief was denied you by floods and bad weather and not by the enemy whom you have resolutely pressed back. I have watched your efforts with admiration and am satisfied that you have done all that was humanly possible and will continue to do so in future encounters with the enemy." Gorringe was relieved of his command of the Tigris Corps by the Army Commander following a serious difference of opinion in July. The Army Commander had wanted to undertake a limited offensive in June up the Tigris, but Gorringe did not believe that his troops were fit to carry out such an operation. He had wanted tentage for the troops and for railway to be built up the Tigris. A light line had been begun from Sheikh Saad, the advanced landing point on the river, towards Ess Sinn had been begun, but was progressing slowly owing to delays in supply of materials; the projected line from Basra to Amara had not been begun. The Army Commander and Gorringe had irreconcilable differences and Gorringe fed up with the impasse and appealed directly to higher authority. He was thus sent home.

Gorringe was appointed to command the 47th (London) Division on the Western Front. He then took part in all the Divisions major actions until the Armistice. He laid down command of the division on 6th, April, 1919 when it was demobilised. From July, 1919 he took command of 10th Division in Egypt, during a period of political unrest, and continued there until 17th December, 1921. He was promoted Lt.-General in August, 1921. He was placed on the unemployed list after Egypt and retired on 18th December, 1924.

He took over his father’s farm at Kingston Buci, Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, where he was engaged for many years in dairy farming with a large herd of Jerseys. He also hunted and played polo which had been his recreations throughout his life. In 1936 he moved to a farm in Norfolk, but moved back to Sussex in 1939 when part of his Norfolk farm was requisitioned for an airfield. He continued farming about 50 acres until his health failed and in July, 1943 he had to go into a nursing home as gangrene had set in on foot owing to a blocked artery. He never married and died in the nursing home in October, 1945.

Honours Awards and Decorations
For his services in this 1896 campaign Gorringe received the Egyptian medal, with two clasps for the battles of Firket and Hafir, and the D.S.O.

For his services during the above operations Gorringe received the promise of a brevet majority, which came to him on his promotion to captain some eighteen months later, also clasps "1897," Abu Hamed" and " Atbara," to the Egyptian medal which he had received after the Dongola campaign.

For his services in the operations leading up to the capture of Khartum, Gorringe received a clasp for Khartum to the Egyptian medal, also the British medal and the Egyptian order of the Medjidieh, 4th Class. for which he subsequently received the Gedaref clasp to the Egyptian medal,

He left South Africa in the middle of October, 1901. For his services there he received the Queen's medal with three clasps and the C.M.G. He also at the time of leaving received telegrams from all the commanders under whom he had served from his immediate commander, General Haig; also from General French, Lord Kitchener, and Lord Roberts (who at that time was in England) warm expressions of their appreciation of the many successes gained by his column.

1915 awarded the K.C.B.

For his services on the Western Front he received the British War Medal, the Victory Medal, the K.C.M.G., the French War Cross with palms, and the order of the Star of Rumania with swords, 2nd Class.

(Anon 1952)
H.F.T. REJ June 1946

Hall, Lt.-Col., George Clifford, Millar, C.M.G., C.B.E., D.S.O., R.E.
b, 26th Jan, 1872, Southsea, Portsmouth, son of Capt. W.R. Hall R.N., 2nd Lt 12th Feb 1892, Lt 12th Feb, 1895, Capt., 19th Dec, 1902, Sudan 1897-98, resigned 15th April, 1914 Traffic Manager Egyptian State Railways. Director of Anglo-Egyptian Local Board of Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas). During World War One he served on the Suez Canal Defences and during 1916-19 as Assistant Director Rail Transportation Egyptian Expeditionary Force. (Keown-Boyd 1996) m 1st Genevieve d of J.R. Stickney of St Augustine, Florida in 1901, she died 1902, m 2nd 1906, Annie E.M. d of Fitzroy Kelly M.A., of Lincoln’s Inn, 2s and 2 d. d. 11th December, 1930

Honours, Awards and Decorations.
1897 Egyptian Medal with clasp, 4th Class Medjidie 1898 MID, 9th Dec, 1898, DSO 16th Dec 1898, order of the Nile and 3rd Class Osmanieh,

(Anon 1941)
(Creagh and Humphris 1978)
(Keown-Boyd 1996)

Longfield, William Elrington
b. 4th June, 1874, the sixth and youngest son of the Rev. Canon Richard Longfield, of Curraglass, Tallow, County Cork. educ. at Clifton College and Royal Military Academy; Commissioned Second Lieutenant, Royal Engineers, 25th July 1893, having graduated in 3rd place out of all the cadets of that year. Promoted Lieutenant, 25th July 1896. From 10th December 1898 to 1st December, 1899, was posted to Hong Kong, Attached to Egyptian Army, 25th December 1899. Transferred to Sudan Government in 1901 with rank of Bimbashi. Promoted to qa’ immaqam in 1905. Promoted to miralai (Colonel) in 1914. In 1901, Lieutenant, Longfield with Lieutenant, S.F. Newcombe R.E. conducted a complicated survey of the Suakin, Berber, and Atbara districts of the Sudan, with the object of establishing whether or not a branch of the railway line could be constructed to serve the cotton and grain trade in that area. Largely due to their survey, instructions were given in 1904 for the work to be carried out, with the Royal Engineers, rather than civilian contractors, selected to build the line. A further survey was carried out later in 1901 and Longfield and S.F. Newcombe were selected to lay out the route of the new line in November, 1902. Their survey was completed through to Atbara in April, 1903. Not a tunnel or viaduct was needed and the maximum gradient did not exceed 1 in 100.

When it was decided the Sappers should build the railway Captain Longfield, having been promoted Captain on 1st April 1904, became heavily involved with the construction and for this work he was appointed Third Class of the Order of the Medjidieh, 1906, and made Deputy General Manager of Sudan Railways.

When Macauley became Director of the Egyptian State Railways in 1906, Captain E.C. Midwinter became Director of Railways and Captain W.E. Longfield Assistant Director; but two years later, the titles of their appointments were changed to “General Manager” and “Deputy General Manager” respectively.

On the return journey from leave after being married in the UK Longfield met and became a life long friend of Stephane Derville, President du Conseil d’Administration de la Chemins de fer de Paris a Lyon et a’la Mediterranie of 37 Rue Fortuny, Paris. Deville presented Longfield with a French Medal engraved 'Le President Stephane Derville au Captaine Longfield en Souvenir du Voyage au Soudan Janvier 1908', in red leather case, the front embossed 'Captaine Longfield'.

Longfield transferred to the Reserve of Officers on 15th December 1909, to become Assistant Director of Works in the Sudan Government. On the outbreak of the Great War Captain Longfield was lent temporarily by H.E. The Sirdar for employment with the British Forces in Egypt from 6th May 1915. The force in Egypt was organised administratively into Cairo and Alexandria districts, whose, Engineer Officers were respectively Lieutenant Colonel’s E.M. Blair and W.E. Longfield who’s responsibilities also included, Chief Railway Engineer, Alexandria.

Promoted Temporary Major 22.1.1916. Local Lieutenant Colonel, (R of O) 1.6.1917. An inter-office minute dated 6th June 1917 states “It is noted for your information that Lieutenant Colonel Longfield R.E. A.D.W. Alexandria, has been returned to duty with the Sudan Government, with effect from 1st May 1917”. After the war he reverted to his position of Deputy Manager of the Sudan Railways. Appointed Third Class of the Order of the Nile on his retirement, 1922, after serving the railways for 22 years. He retired to Gloucestershire, where in 1936 where he wrote Sudan Railways, served in the Special Constabulary, and in 1933 was appointed Justice of the Peace. At the outbreak of the Second World War he was Chairman of Gloucestershire County Council Public Assistance Committee. Longfield died at Bibury on 17th October 1942. His funeral was held on 22nd October 1942.

m. 14th July, 1908, Maud Kirkby, daughter of R. B. Bagnall Wild, Esq., Costock Manse, Nottinghamshire.

Honours, Awards and Decorations
- 1914-15 Star, - British War Medal, Silver issue – Interallied Victory Medal with M.I.D. Oak leaves - Special Constabulary Long Service Medal. - Turkey: Order of the Medjidie 3rd Class - Turkey Order of Osmanieh: Fourth Class 1912 - Egypt: Order of the Nile, Third Class neck Badge
Served with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force from March 1916 to May 1917, and was thrice Mentioned in Despatches. M.I.D. London Gazette 6.7.1917 Longfield, Local Lt.-Col. W.E. (Capt., Res. of Off.), Special List. M.I.D. London Gazette 16.1.1918 Longfield, Temp. Maj. W.E. (Capt., Res. of Off.), Special List. M.I.D. London Gazette 5.6.1919 Longfield, Maj. W.E., R. of O., R.E.,


Lord, Percy Calvert, Major, OBE
b. 20th August, 1880. joined Egyptian Army April, 2nd, 1901 and posted to Sudan Govt Railway. Left railway in May, 1926 as Chief Engineer. Active Service Gallipoli with Egyptian Works Battalion. d. 19th July, 1960. 2nd Lt, 22nd November, 1899, Lt 7th October, 1902, Capt, 22nd November, 1908. d. 19th July, 1960,

(Conolly 1898)
(Keown-Boyd 1996)

Macauley, George Bohun, Brigadier-General Sir K.C.M.G., K.B.E., C.B., C.M.G., C.B.E.
Born on August 25th, 1869 in London, his father Lieut.-Colonel G. W. Macauley had played a conspicuously valuable part during the stormy decade which comprised the Indian Mutiny. Macauley’s early education was by private tutors, as weak eyesight made it desirable that he should not work by gaslight. Therefore, he missed out on the life of a boarder at a British Public school, and this set a seal on his subsequent life. He thought for himself and was naturally secretive. This aloofness greatly helped Macauley exercise power and influence over both his superiors and subordinates. He also spent a year in Brussels at the age of eleven becoming fluent in French. This fluency in French helped greatly during his time in Egypt as French was the official language.

Macauley entered the “Shop” in 1887, and spent 18 months there. He was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1889. His course at S.M.E was also shortened as in October, 1890; he was one of the first two young Sapper officers to attend a years course of instruction on the London and North Western Railway. Then he spent 30 months on the Upnor and Chattenden Railway, followed by a year in the Training Battalion. A further 18 months was spent in the Intelligence Department at the War Office. Macauley was a natural for intelligence work. The habits he learnt here, were often trying for his staff, as they did not want to take a decision that might commit their chief to an undesired line of action. His term at the War office had not finished, when he was offered the chance to decide his whole career. He was offered the chance to serve on the Sudan Military Railway. He arrived at Wadi Halfa by the end of 1896, when the new line to Abu Hamed had been started by Gorringe. Macauley was in charge at railhead until Girouard returned from the UK, and sent Macauley as 2i/c of railway headquarters at Wadi Halfa. Macauley had charge of receiving, sorting and transmitting all the stores that arrived for the campaign. The task was complicated by the fact that the Department of Stores in Cairo re-invoiced in Arabic and Arabic is not well provided with technical terms. The clerks in Cairo therefore, lumped together steel products, such as fire-bars, parts of lathes etc., as “bits of iron.” The Superintendent of Stores at Wadi Halfa had a difficult task anyway, but Macauley over came all difficulties.

For example, on a summer afternoon, say at 2 p.m., while the fierce heat of 112° in the shade would make most mortals think of what a siesta in hell would do to alleviate their discomfort, when Hanna Effendi, his chief store-keeper, would come to the mess and say, after looking at his vocabulary, " Sare, ze barges have arrived and are now lying in ze offal." Macauley would sally forth and restore order from chaos. Many guest nights in Wadi Halfa mess were enlivened by Macauley playing his banjo. He could repeat the words and tune of any spicy music hall song he or other officers had heard.

Macauley succeeded Girouard as Director of the Sudan Military Railway, and it was taken for granted that he would take over as head of the civil railway after the campaign had ended. He was rewarded with the C.M.G, in 1906 for the building of the Port Sudan – Atbara railway. He served as General Manager, Sudan Government Railways 1898-1906. the General Manager of the Egyptian State Railways and Telegraphs, Major J. H. L'E. Johnstone, M.v.o., R.E., died unexpectedly, and Macauley was the man best fitted for the post. He severed his connection with the Sudan, retired from the Egyptian Army, and took up his new appointment on October 23rd, I906.

Girouard had found the Egypt State Railways in state of acute disrepair in 1898 and had laid down plans to rectify that situation. Some money had been voted, but not nearly enough. Girouard was ordered to South Africa, but never retuned and Johnstone, who had been Inspector of Iron and Steel Structures, at the War Office, had been posted in temporarily. Johnstone had done his best and after seven years money was granted. A Supreme Railway Board was instituted with all the powers of the Council of Ministers and the railway were freed from ministerial influence. The General Manager was granted powers far exceeding any other official. Johnstone died before he could use the powers granted.

Macauley arrived unobtrusively and set up home in a suburb some miles out of Cairo. He had intended to live undisturbed by children. However, the story is told that he was seen hurrying back to his flat, pursued by a small child with a spade, calling out, “Daddy, daddy”. The increased pace had almost got to a run, when a lady neighbour called out, " Hullo, Major, what's this?-Don't they say that a wise child knows its own father?" Macauley soon transferred his residence to central Cairo. Bringing his personnel staff from the Sudan, he soon got a grip on the situation. Every morning a crowd of petitioners awaiting Macauley’s arrival at his office. All complaints and petitions were dealt with by his staff and occasionally Macauley dealt with the matter directly. Macauley demanded that all incoming papers were submitted to him in the first instance, and although this often saved labour, occasionally his decisions caused his staff to advise Macauley that he should revise his decision. Macauley’s sense of humour served him well in a country where deviousness was second nature. Macauley loved all aspects of his job, save one, the social aspect. He was basically, shy, and this showed in his attitude towards women.

1906 saw a financial crash and political unrest that continued for 5 years. The Egyptians had believed that the British might leave following the death of Lord Cromer, but Kitchener has appointed in 1911 and unrest died away. Macauley had been active on two fronts since 1906; he improved the conditions of the employees and had gained the confidence of the ministries. He retired from the Army in 1912. So when Kitchener arrived he was an autocrat in his own administration, being supported by an absolutely trustworthy staff and a very efficient audit. The railway was in a privileged position which lead to a certain amount of jealousy. Kitchener’s regime lead to three very good years for Egypt, and the country and railway were well placed to meet the outbreak of war in 1914.

The three most senior officials of the ESR were British reserve officers, and years before they had been told that in the event of mobilisation they should report to the G.O.C. Egypt. This was done in August, 1914 and they were told to carry on as usual and not to wear uniform until told to do so. It was obvious that Turkey would not enter the war on Britain’s side and various precautions were taken. General Sir John Maxwell, returned to Egypt as G.O.C., and his methods were the same as Macauley’s. Macauley enjoyed himself to the full; he had an officer who had commanded an armoured train in South Africa, which had been built out of scrap. Two were constructed in Egypt out of scrap, and the staff just pocketed the extra pay earned on war work. Little aid could be given to the Dardanelles campaign; the beaches were under direct artillery fire. It was when the advance into Palestine was decided upon that Macauley’s real war work started. He became a Brigadier-General at G.H.Q., and continued to act as General Manager, State Railways, with the rank of Under-Secretary of State. He was Director of Railways Egyptian Expeditionary Force, 1915-19.

Lt.-Col Sowerby, Macauley’s greatest friend and trusted subordinate from the Sudan, had returned to Egypt and was placed in charge of the military railway to be built from the Suez Canal to Palestine, and the two worked in a manner dear to Macauley's heart. Little on paper and ultra secrecy. Free from obstruction they made remarkable progress. Macauley was present at the preliminary bombardment of Gaza in October, 1917. When he carried out his last inspection in March, 1919, he found on his return that his successor had been appointed, and that he would be Adviser to the newly-formed Ministry of Communications. The war had brought great advances in motor transport and aviation, and a marked change in public opinion. Egypt did not want to English pupils much longer. Macauley’s autocratic manner could not be tolerated under Egypt rule. So the problem was to retain his knowledge without losing his services. The railway board was abolished. However, there was general strike of Government officials, including most railway staff and no ministers were in office. Macauley was temporarily made Inspector-General of Communications, modified by the Turf Club into “Suspector-General”. Macauley was lucky in his first minister, Ahmed Ziwer Pasha, and Macauley initiated many useful schemes. He did, however, make one big mistake. At the end of 1919, an outbreak of labour troubles, including coal strikes, meant that little if any coal could be obtained from Britain. Coal was often obtained at ruinous prices. Macauley thought that the situation would continue and ordered a three-year supply, without regard to cost. The cost worked out at £10 per ton instead of £1 a ton, also a million tons of very indifferent coal had been ordered. Fares and tariffs had to be doubled for the next four years.

The home authorities gave up on the government of Egypt and within five years British officials were being pensioned off in large numbers. In 1924 the railways had an Egyptian General Manager, and luckily the costly coal had been used up and he inaugurated his term of office by an all-round reduction of tariffs and greatly improved facilities. Macauley left the railways in October, 1922. His sight had deteriorated and he could not further serve his country. He did what he could by lecturing to the blind, and aiding in the compilation of historical material. He died on 6th Jan. 1940

K.C.M.G, Egypt

He obtained a second well-earned Knighthood-the Military K.B.E.-for his services as Director of Railway Traffic, and had also been made a C.B. in 1916. The King of Egypt conferred on him the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Nile. He met a quick and merciful end on January 6th, I940, after a week's unconsciousness resulting from a stroke. A tablet was erected to his memory in Rochester Cathedral. During life he held Stall No. 8 in the Chapel of St. Michael and St. George in St. Paul's Cathedral.

Who was Who (Anon 1941)
REJ June 1940 (Blakeney 1940)

Micklem, Henry Andrew William, CB, CMG, DSO
Micklem was born at Farnborough (Aldershot in record of service), on 29 June 1872, the eldest son of Major-General Edward Micklem, late RE and Eva, daughter of T M Weguelin, M.P. He was educated at Winchester College and R.M.A. Woolwich. He was commissioned into the Corps on 1 August 1891. He was employed with the Egyptian Army 25th June 1897 to 3rd October 1899. He served in the Sudan Expedition of 1897 and was wounded, mentioned in despatches and received the DSO. In the South African War he served with the railway troops under Lieut-Colonel Sir Percy Girouard, RE, Director of Railways. 1 January 1900 to 30 June 1902, as Superintendent of Works, and on the Staff, and took part in the operations in the Orange Free State, February to May 1900; operations in the Transvaal, east of Pretoria, July to 29 November 1900; operations in Orange River Colony, June 1900; operations in Cape Colony, south of Orange River, 1899-1900; operations in Cape Colony, north of Orange River; operations in the Transvaal, 30 November 1900 to 31 May 1902. He was severely wounded; was mentioned in Despatches. After this war he became Chief Engineer of the Central South African Railways 1 July 1902 to 18 April 1903, among his duties being the organization of the repairs to the many railway bridges damaged during hostilities. The 10th Railway Company RE was placed at his disposal for this purpose and the unit gained valuable experience. He was then employed under the Chinese Mining and Engineering Company from 16th June 1904. He retired from the Royal Engineers 2 June 1909.

Micklem who had retired before the First World War joined the Directorate of Railways, Light Railways and Roads at the War Office. He was then responsible for purchasing railway, light railway and road materials and stores for all theatres of war. He was rewarded the C.M.G., and C.B. and made a brevet Lt.-Col. for his services. He followed his father into the City becoming Director, and in several cases Chairman, of Investment Trust and other Companies.

He never married; he lived at his country home near Henley when he could get away from his work in London. He died on 9 March 1963. A Service of Remembrance was held for him in St Michael's Church, Cornhill on 5 April 1963.

(Anon 1971)
H.O.M. REJ June 1963

Micklem, Ralph, C.M.G. C.B.E.
b. 30th January, 1884. s. of Leonard Micklem, m. Eva May y.d. of Commander Sir Trevor Dawson, R.N., one s. (and one s killed on active service, Educ Eton (scholar) R.M.A. Woolwich, commissioned R.E. in 1902. joined Sudan Railway May, 1907 last officer of RE to join. In charge of the Kosti – El Obeid Railway construction in 1911. (Keown-Boyd 1996) Captain, 1913, Major, 1917. Lt.-Col R of O, 1927, Left Sudan Railway May, 1915 and retired 1919 During WW1 served in the Dardanelles campaign where he was wounded. MID and CMG. Recalled during WW2 served in the War Office and received CBE. Last rank brigadier. d. 21st March, 1977

(Keown-Boyd 1996)
(Anon 1981)

Other Awards
4th Medjidieh, 1912
4th Nile, 1917

Born 1st November 1872 at Odiham, son of Reverend E A Midwinter. Educated at St Paul’s School and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He was gazetted to the Royal Engineers 22 July 1892; became Lieutenant 22 July 1895; was employed with the Egyptian Army from 13 January 1897, He served in the Nile Expedition including the Battle of Omdurman, being mentioned in despatches and awarded a D.S.O. The Insignia were presented to him by the Duke of Connaught at Atbara 27 February 1899, the British and Sudan medals, and the 4th Class Medjidi. He also held the rank of El Lewa Pasha in the Egyptian Army, and his decorations included the order of the Nile (2nd Class), the Osmanich (3rd Class) and the Egyptian Medal with clasp. In 1906 he was appointed General Manager of the Sudan Government Railway and was largely responsible for the development of the railway and steamer systems which took place. He retired from the Royal Engineers 12th January, 1907. He was member of the Governor-General’s Council from 1913-1925, when he returned to England to become Controller of the Sudan Government Railway’s London Office 1925-1932. GM SGR 1906-1925. For his services to the Sudan he was given a C.M.G. in 1911, a C.B. in 1912, and C.B.E. 1919 and received his K.B.E in 1927. d 3rd June 1944,

Who was Who (Anon 1952)

NEWCOMBE, Major, Edward Osborn Armstrong, D.S.O.
Newcombe was born in Mount Street, Brecon, in the County of Brecknock, Mid Wales, on 9 July 1878, the third of four sons of Edward Newcombe (1842 – 1886), a civil engineer, and his wife Maria Louisa, née Prangley (1844 – 1901). His father had helped to construct the first railway in Japan before he had returned to the UK with his wife and two sons in 1878. His grandfather had been acting General Manger of the Midland Railway in the 1850s. His father was employed by the Midland Railway to help build the lines associated with the industrialisation of South Wales. His father died early and Newcombe was sent to board at Christ’s Hospital, Newgate Street, London, a charitable ‘Bluecoat’ school, before completing his general education at Felsted School.

He passed first into the R.M.A. Woolwich, with the very rare distinction of 100 per cent marks in mathematics. On passing out he was awarded the Sword of Honour and commissioned in the Royal Engineers on 23rd June, 1898. Following his course at the School of Military Engineering at Brompton Barracks he was sent to the 29th Fortress Company joining them in Cape Town in February, 1900. This enabled him to see action during the Second Boer War in the Orange Free State, seeing action at Dreifontein and Karee Siding, and during the Relief of Kimberley. He was awarded the Queen’s Medal with four clasps.

He joined the Egyptian Army on 2nd April, 1901 and served in it until 1911. He was posted to the Sudan Government Railway. Working with Lt. W.E. Longfield on the recommendations of an Arab guide Abdulla Amran Gaharid, they began to carry out a survey of a possible railway line from Atbara to Suakin some 240 miles. After months of arduous work on camels through inhospitable terrain they finally proved that an easily graded route could be built without any serious engineering problems beyond a deep cutting in hard rock at Kamob Sanha. In September 1901 Newcombe carried out a final trace of the line reaching Suakin on 15 October. Although Suakin was an obvious railhead its tendency too silt meant that it was discarded in favour of a more northerly approach to Sheikh Barghut, now Port Sudan was decided upon.

In December 1901, he had switched his attentions to a proposed railway west of the Nile from Omdurman to El Obaid. He also carried out surveys to delineate the provisional frontier between Abyssinia and the Sudan, finally signing off the maps on 19 January 1904. Later in his Sudan service he carried out surveys in the Congo Lakes area and accompanied the Lado Enclave Commission. Whilst returning on leave to the UK his trips took him through Greater Syria, and he was able to send intelligence reports back on the Berlin to Baghdad railway and the Damascus to Medina line through the Hejaz Desert.

He had a short spell in the War Office but was quickly bored. He had met Rudyard Kipling in South Africa at the Battle of Karee Siding, his advice to Kipling had led to Kipling being pinned down by Boer rifle fire. Nether the less, Newcombe approached Kipling for help to return to Africa and Kipling wrote a letter to the Under Secretary of State for War, Colonel E.D. Ward. Kipling was well connected within military circles and in a cleverly crafted and humorous letter, this master of the short story put forward a request for assistance in securing for Newcombe a return to overseas service. ‘Isn’t there any way by which you could set him on his return to Africa?’ he wrote to Ward. ‘If he dies there, I shall be revenged for his attempt on my life at Karree Siding. If he lives, I fancy the service will be richer by his work.’ The appeal resulted in him working during 1911 – 1913 on survey work in the Sinai Peninsula, Palestine and the Belgian Congo Boundary Commission., whilst on secondment from 10th Railway Company at Longmoor. This work was secret and had been started by Lt’s Kitchener and Condor. There was one unmapped area of the Sinai Peninsula, the area known as the Wilderness of Zin. A triangle of land south of Beersheba down to the Gulf of Aqaba. Working under the cover of the Palestinian Exploration Fund, accompanied by CL Woolley and TE Lawrence to provide the archaeological cover story.

During W.W.1 Newcombe spent two short periods in France in 1914 and 1915, he took 8th (Railway) Company, R.E. in August 1914. . On 9th December, 1914 he joined Lawrence in the War Office to complete the maps and reports on Southern Palestine and the Sinai Peninsula. Both men were ordered to Cairo with Newcombe being tasked with setting up a Military Intelligence Branch.

He was then posted to Gallipoli, becoming C.R.E. 2nd Australian Division and earning the D.S.O. for a rescue attempt in a tunnel where his men were overwhelmed by an ammonal gas explosion. It soon became necessary to adopt a fixed set of place-names and it fell to experienced mapmakers including Newcombe to supervise the creation of a definitive and annotated map of the peninsula to include an ever-enlarging trench system. Further service followed with the Anzacs at the Battle for Pozières Ridge in France on the Somme.

After Gallipoli he joined T.E. Lawrence in Egypt and headed the British Mission to the King of Hejaz after the Arab Revolt. Lawrence had preceded Newcombe and established good relations, so Newcombe waived his own seniority and asked how he could help.

Following the capture of Wejh, Newcombe mastered minded the raids on the Hejaz Railway, which were intended to badly damage the railway and keep large numbers of Turkish troops tied down defending and repairing the line. Newcombe became G.S.O.1, E.E.F in June, 1917 and in the September of that year proposed that he should take a small raiding party through the desert east of Beersheba, to raise the Bedouin and cut the Hebron Road after Beersheba was captured. He took about 70 cavalry and cut the telegraph line to Jerusalem and blocked the main road to Dhahriye for forty hours at a critical time. His party suffered severe casualties and was forced to surrender. His actions had forced the Turks to move a large force east. His forceful leadership made him a legendary figure and the Arabs to complain that 'Newcombe is like fire, he burns friend and enemy’.

In early 1918 whilst being held as a prisoner of war in Constantinople he met Mlle. Elsie Chaki (1897-1973). He was moved to a P.O.W. camp at Bursa about 75 miles way and she arranged for a fishing boat to wait at a nearby port. Newcombe made his escape and found the boat. In daylight the Greek fishermen realised that not only did they have an unusually large Arab passenger, but a blue eyed Arab! Newcombe went into hiding in Constantinople and drafted peace proposals at the request of the New Party in Turkey. Newcombe along with Raouf Orbay, a future Turkish Ambassador in London and Turkish Prime Minister, were picked up by H.M.S. Liverpool.

Following the First World War he was posted to Syria, Ireland, Palestine, England, the British Army of the Rhine, and Egypt. He was tasked with delineating The bunadries newteen the British Mandate of Palestine and the French Mandate of Syria. Whilst in Syria, he carried out what was probably the first aerial survey and received the Montgomerie Prize for an article published in the R.E. Journal in 1921 on "Contouring by the Stereoscope on air photos".

In 1929 he was posted to Malta as Chief Engineer and retired in 1932. During his retirement he conducted research into domestic heating and insulation systems and developed recommenadations that have long been adopted.

Because of his contacts with the Anzacs during WW1 he promoted the emigration of British ex-servicemen to Australia. He revisited this idea in 1938 as a possible destination for refugees fleeing the Sudetenland. Until the day he died he was friend to both Jew and Arab in the Middle East. In 1940 and in 1943, when well over 60, he undertook two successful political missions to Baghdad. For much of his retirement he was a member or official of the Palestine Exploration Fund and of the Royal Central Asian Society. He was also active in supporting the Arab side in the ever-thorny problem of Palestine.

He was the Honorary Secretary of the Palestine Information Centre in London in 1937, and following the earthquake that destroyed the Turkish town of Erzincan with the loss of over 30,000 lives on 27 December 1939 he lobbied the British Government for support. He also helped create the first permanent mosque in East London, the East London Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre, which opened its doors in 1941 with Newcombe as its non-Muslim Honorary Secretary at the time of its inauguration.

m 16 April 1919 in St. Margaret’s, a small church nestling in the shadow of Westminster Abbey, London. Elsie, d of M. and Mme. Chaki of Nice, one s, one d, Died in Oxford on the 18th July, 1956.

Honours, Awards and Decorations
South African War 1899-1900 Queen’s Medal and four clasps, WW1 France, Gallipoli,, Hejaz, (MID, D.S.O., Bt. Lt-Col,) foreign orders, late Hon Sec Royal Central Asian Society,

Heat Insulation of Building, Journal of R.I.B.A. Aug, 1944

Who was Who (Anon 1961)
REJ Dec 1956

See also

Polwhele, Reginald. Lt., R.E.
b. 11th August, 1872 at Polwhele, Truro. s. of J.R. Polwhele, Sandes reports that Lt Polwhele died on 29th July 1896 from enteric fever, working on construction he had been ill for some weeks, but had refused to be relieved for 3 weeks until the railhead reached the 100 mile mark, and was only then evacuated to Wadi Halfa where he died on arrival. He had been sent to the Sudan at Kitchener’s special request. Commissioned 2nd Lt, 24th July, 1891, Lt 24th July 1894, M.I.D.

(Conolly 1898)
(Sandes 1937)

Pritchard, Harry Lionel, Major-General, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O.
Harry Pritchard, the son of Colonel Hurlock G. Pritchard, C.S.I., Indian Staff Corps, was born at Madras on the 16th November, 1871. He was educated at Charterhouse, and entered the "Shop" in 1889, being commissioned on the 13th February, 1891. On completion of his Young Officers course at the S.M.E. he joined a field company at Aldershot, and was selected as a Special Service officer with the Ashanti Expedition in November, 1895 his responsibilities being bridging, water-supply and hutting.

The Ashanti Expedition was quickly over and on his return to England he was selected for railway construction in the Sudan in March, 1896. For the next 30 months he was employed on the survey and construction of the railway from Wadi Halfa to Kerma and then Wadi Halfa to Atbara. He took part in the advance on Dongola in 1896 and the Battle of Omdurman on 2nd September, 1898. By the end of the Sudan campaign, he had collected a series of awards rarely achieved before by a subaltern. These were the D.S.O., three mentions in despatches, the Queen's Medal, the Khedive's Medal with two clasps, and the 4th Class of the Medjidieh. He was then posted to Cyprus for five months, working under the Colonial Office in surveying a proposed railway route from Famagusta to Nicosia. This was followed by a short tour at Cork as Divisional Officer.

In October, 1899 when the South African War broke out, he was ordered to the Cape to work under Lt.-Col Girouard on the railways. He spent the next thirty months gaining a variety of railway experience mostly in the workshops. He was promoted Captain in February, 1902, and after leave in England he retuned to South Africa as Assistant to the Chief Engineer, Central South African Railways, and in July, I903, became Secretary to the International Railway Council (Transvaal and Orange River Colony), a post which he held until November, I904.

Due to his large experience of railway work under active service conditions he was appointed a D.A.Q.M.G. at the War Office, with the responsibility of establishing an entirely new branch, Q.M.G.3. Q.M.G.3 was responsible for the general organization of the Railway Services for War, including the technical training of the three regular R.E. Railway Companies and the compilation of the necessary training manuals. This also resulted in the setting up of the R.E. Railway Training Centre at Longmoor.

In March, 1907, Captain Pritchard was posted to a similar appointment-D.A.Q.M.G. for Mobilization-at Army Headquarters, India. He disagreed with his Director on the scope and organisation of the branch and was transferred to Military Works as Garrison Engineer at Abbottabad. He spent five years mainly on frontier garrison posts. In 1910, whilst at Bannu, he lost the sight of his right eye as the result of an accident. However, he never let this hinder him in any way.

Promoted to Major in 1912 he returned to England and took command of 26th Field Company, 1st Division and led them to France in August, 1914. He subsequently took part in all of 1st Divisions battles from Mons to the First Battle of Ypres and the subsequent winter trench warfare. He gained a mention in one of Sir John French’s earliest despatches. He was severely wounded near Givenchy in January, 1915 and was invalided home for nine months. He was made a brevet Lt.-Col at this time. After recovering he was Assistant Commander of the new R.E. Training Centre at Newark for three months, and then was posted to Egypt as C.R.E. on a sector of the Suez Canal Defences, following which, he became Chief Engineer of XVIth Corps in the British Salonika Force. He was first employed on the defence of Salonika, then on operations in the Struma Valley, and finally on the advance from Macedonia through Bulgaria to Adrianople.

On his return from Salonika, he was appointed C.R.E. Isle of Wight for a year before being transferred to the South Aldershot District. Pritchard was promoted substantive Colonel in November, 1921 and appointed Chief Engineer, Northern Command. He then spent two years as A.D.F.W at the War Office and from 1925-28 was Chief Engineer, Eastern Command. The C.I.G.S, Field Marshal Lord Milne appointed a committee in 1926 to report on the employment of Royal Engineers. Pritchard, now a Brigadier was asked to submit his ideas. Amongst his proposals was the mechanisation of all R.E units, as soon as possible. The proposal was shelved, but Pritchard; himself carried it out when he became Inspector of R.E. He considered this his greatest work for the Corps.

From February, 1929 until January, 1931 he was G.O.C. Malaya, becoming Commandant S.M.E. on his return, an office which was also coupled with that of Inspector of R.E. and G.O.C. Chatham Area. He retired in February, 1933 at then age of 62. Shortly after retirement he became a member of the Home Office A.R.P. committee, and would have been Air Raid Commandant, London in the event of war, but resigned in 1935 as the views he held on preparations were not acceptable.

In 1937 it was proposed to issue two new volumes of the Corps history to cover 1914 – 1939 and Pritchard accepted the post of Editor-in-Chief. He organised a large number of volunteers to assist, but the outbreak of war in 1939 interrupted the flow of contributions. Pritchard joined the Home Guard as a private and took part in organising local war work. He resumed work on the Corps History in 1942, and even when his eyesight failed completely at the end of 1946, he continued his editorship with the aid of a secretary. He was awarded the Institution of Royal Engineers Silver Medal.

In I902 he married Elizabeth Gilbert, the daughter of E. Furze, Esq., of Alphington, Surrey, and they had two daughters. He died on the 14th May, I953, at Speldhurst, Kent.

Honours Awards and Decorations
Ashanti Campaign, Ashanti Star and MID.
Sudan campaign: D.S.O., 3 M.I.D., the Queen's Medal, the Khedive's Medal with two clasps, and the 4th Class of the Medjidieh
South African war: M.I.D. the Queen's Medal with four clasps and the King's Medal with two clasps.
Salonika Campaign: brevet Colonelcy, the C.M.G., three more mentions in despatches, the Greek Order of the Redeemer, and the Greek Medal for Military Merit.
The New Year Honours of 1923 C.B.
He was appointed A.D.C. to the King, 1926-9, Colonel Commandant R.E. I932-41, and Representative Colonel Commandant, I937-9.

The Sudan Campaign,
Army Organisation and Administration
A.R.P and High Explosive
A.R.P. organisation and its relation to Imperial Defence

(Anon 1961)
REJ Sept 1953

Scott, Albert Charles
b. 4th, August, 1871. commissioned 13th February, 1891 served on Sudan railway from 2nd April, 1899 – 31st March, 1901. Saw active service in Tirah 1897-98, 2nd Boer War and World War One. Finished career as Lt.-Col. d. 29th October, 1947.

(Keown-Boyd 1996)

Russell, Reginald Edmund Maghlin, Col., C.V.O., C.B.E. D.S.O.
RUSSELL was born on 2nd September, 1879, the son of E. M. Russell of Limerick. Educ., at Cheltenham College and commissioned into the Royal Engineers from Woolwich in 23rd June, 1898. Following his Young Officers course at S.M.E he was posted to 46th Field Company who were building Tidworth Camp and went with them to South Africa in 1899. He contracted enteric fever in May, 1902 and was invalided home. After his sick leave he was posted to 1st Field Company in Cork but shortly returned to South Africa to join 38th Field Company until 1905. On April, 2nd, 1905 he was posted to the Sudan Government Railways and employed on building the Port Sudan – Khartoum line, and after that was opened in building the railway headquarters at Atbara. He also surveyed the Kassala line with S.F. Newcombe. In February, 1907 Russell was sent to Suakin as District Engineer and Railway Agent. In 1908 Russell was sent as Sudan Railway Agent in Alexandria. In 1910 he became Assistant Director of Intelligence in Cairo. In 1912 he served on the Anuak Expedition in the Sudan and became Assistant Director of Intelligence, Khartoum in 1913. He was promoted Major shortly after the beginning of W.W.1 and appointed as G.S.O.11 of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. He stayed in Palestine and Egypt throughout the war and held appointments successively as C.R.E. Canal Defences, G.S.O.I Western Frontier Force, C.R.E. 52nd Lowland Division, Chief Engineer Desert Column, with the temporary rank of Brigadier- General, and C.R.E. Cavalry Corps in Palestine. In April, 1918 her obtained a temporary commission in the Royal Air Force as a Lt.-Col and qualified as a pilot. He then became G.S.O.1 at R.A.F. Headquarters Middle East and in July 1919, he was appointed G.S.O.I. R.A.F. H.Q. at South-Eastern Area, U.K., with rank of Wing-Commander. Later that year he became commander of the new R.A.F. Depot at Uxbridge. He resigned from the R.A.F in 1920 and returned to the Army attending the Senior Officers School at Woking. He was posted to South Dublin in 1921 and later that year went to Chile for special duty with the Chilean army. In August, 1922 he was posted to the War Office to join M.I.2 and became second in command of the Training Battalion at Chatham in December 1922. He was promoted Lt.-Col in June, 1924 and took over as Commanding Officer of the Training Battalion on 1st January, 1925. Russell retuned to Chile in 1927 holding the joint appointment of Military Attaché at Santiago and Rio de Janeiro. This posting lasted for four years and he accompanied the Prince of Wales on his South American tour during the last few weeks of his tour of duty. He asked to be allowed to resign in 1931 and was then appointed a Member of H.M. Body Guard and made a C.V.O.

On the outbreak of war in 1939 he was re-employed as Military Attaché in Buenos Aires, which appointment he held till 1943. He then volunteered for service with the Admiralty in the Yachtsmen's Emergency Service as a deck-hand on a motor fishing vessel No. 124 stationed at Cowes in attendance on the invasion fleet in May and June, I944, and subsequently as deck-hand, stoker, bosun and mate on several coastward voyages until October, 1944.

In 1918 he married Dorothy, the twin daughter of the late Major R. B. Clarke of the Rifle Brigade. They had one son and one daughter. Their only son was killed in action in North Africa in I943. d. 24th November, 1950 at Church Crookham

(Anon 1952)
(C.C.P 1951)
(Conolly 1898)

Honours, Awards and Decorations
For his services in the Boer War he was Mentioned in Despatches and received the Queen's Medal with five Clasps.
In 1912 he went on the Anuak Expedition in the Sudan. For his services in this expedition he received the Sudan General Service Medal and the Order of the Medjidieh 4th Class.
He was awarded the D.S.O. in 1915, was six times Mentioned in Despatches, promoted Brevet Lieut.-Colonel and, in I919, and was made a C.B.E. He was also awarded the Order of the Nile (4th Class) and the Italian Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus.

Sowerby, Maurice Eden
b. 15th December, 1874 at Gainford. s of Mrs Sowerby of Co. Durham, after leaving S.M.E. served in Inspector General of Fortifications Office 9th Nov, 1896- 30th December, 1897, joined Egyptian Army 16th December, 1898, SGR start 1899 later Lt-Col, Chief Engineer SGR from 1906-1915, went to Dardanelles in 1915, built military railway to Palestine in 1915, died on 28th January, 1920 while employed by Egyptian State Railways as Under Secretary Egyptian Ministry of Communications. 2nd Lt, 17th August 1894, Lt, 17th August 1897, Capt. 1st April, 1904

(Conolly 1898)
(Keown-Boyd 1996)

Stevenson, Alexander Gavin, Major-General C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., Colonel Commandant Royal Engineers
Stevenson, s. of Archibald Stevenson of South Shields, b. 15th October, I871. educ. Chanonry School, Old Aberdeen, The Royal Military Academy; Woolwich, and was commissioned on 13th February, 1891. At the "Shop" he had gained prizes for Drawing and Fortification; and at the S.M.E. he was awarded the Fowke Medal of his year. He remained at Chatham for some months in the Training Battalion after his S.M.E. course; and then spent a year at the Elswick Works, Newcastle-on-Tyne, followed by a year with the 10th Railway Company at Woolwich Arsenal.

In the autumn of 1895, Lieutenants Stevenson and Polwhele, at the special request of Kitchener, were posted to the Egyptian Army. They were ordered to Korosko above the 1st Cataract of the Nile to begin a railway to Murat Wells, whence the line was to be extended later to Abu Hamed. The training that the Egyptian Railway Battalion undertook here was of the greatest value when the Dongola campaign started. The railway started from Wadi Halfa rather than Korosko. Girouard expanded the Railway Battalion and used it to lay a railway 203 miles to Kerma.

He was the Locomotive Superintendent of the Sudan railways from 1895 to 1899, including charge of the workshops, which were continuously being expanded. He also accompanied Major the Hon. M. G. Talbot, R.E., on the original reconnaissance from Korosko via Murat Wells to Wadi Halfa; which decided Kitchener to alter the route of the railway, and to construct it from Wadi Halfa to Abu Hamed, instead of from Korosko. He then fixed the general line of the railway and indicated two locations where water might be found. Stevenson also saw action several times. At the battle of Firket, in June, 1896, and in the advance on Dongola in September, he was orderly officer to a brigade commander. He commanded the gunboat Metemnneh during the advance to Khartoum in August and September, 1898, and also at the Battle of Omdurman. In 1899 after Omdurman, Stevenson reconnoitred the route for an extension of the railway from Atbara to Halfiya, opposite Khartoum; and then resumed his post of Locomotive Superintendent.

When the South African War broke out in October, 1899, Stevenson was still in the Sudan. Girouard had arrived in Cape Town as Director of Railways. Very soon he had a telegram sent to the War Office to ask the D.A.G., R.E., for a Locomotive Superintendent to be sent out urgently. Both Stevenson and Newcombe were sent. When the Orange Free State and Transvaal were occupied and the British took over their railways, Stevenson took up the post of Locomotive Superintendent of the "Imperial Military Railways”. He organised a constantly expanding locomotive department along with engine running arrangements and the workshops. He had a small nucleus of technical staff lent by the Cape Government Railways, and tradesmen found amongst the troops. Stevenson’s knowledge, experience and tact enabled him to control a system 1,800 miles in extend. His workshops regularly repaired engines damaged by the Boers. He was seriously injured, in July, 1901, in an accident near Komatipoort. This was a head-on collision in a section where line-clear could not be obtained. Stevenson has pinned on the verandah of the inspection coach, and although badly injured directed the rescue operations to lift the wagon off his thighs. He was then invalided home.

He was then employed in the Colonial Office on administrative railway work, from September, 1901, until 1904. This was largely inspectional work and he visited many construction and mechanical engineering firms in the Midlands and Northern Britain. In October, 1904 he was sent with Capt. Denison and four other ranks to Somaliland to survey an alignment from Berbera to Harrar. The party was recalled to England in March, 1905. On his return he was posted to Aldershot in charge on Machinery and Electric Lighting. In May, 1907 he proceeded to East Africa. In Kenya he had to survey three branch lines and investigate the possibility of producing waterpower from the various water falls between Nairobi and Fort Hall. In Uganda he carried out a topographical survey of the country N.E. of the Nile, a survey of an area between Lake Victoria, the Nile, Lake Albert and a line running from Mount Ruwenzori to Entebbe to see it was suitable for a railway. He was reported on potential of Ripon Falls at Jinga for waterpower and a telegraphic line between Entebbe and Butirba on Lake Albert. The surveys were expected to take a year, but lasted nearly two years. The country was unhealthy and the work took its toll on the party. Stevenson was partially paralysed by a clot, which fortunately dissolved in a few days, but he was invalided home. Luckily, the work was almost complete, and Stevenson wrote up his report whilst on leave. As an example of his work the cost of the 60-mile line from Jinga to Lake Kioga was 3% less than his estimate.

Returning home in 1909 Stevenson married Elizabeth Nicoll, e.d. of Surgeon-Major Jobson 3 s. 1 d. He was posted to Dover for a few months and then became Inspector of Iron Structures at the War Office. He held this position from 1909 until 1913. He also advised the War Office Mechanical Transport Committee, taking a keen interest in the development of lorries and tractors for military purposes. Field-Marshal Kitchener consulted him over technical problems over the restoration of Kitchener’s house at Broome.

In late 1913 he was promoted to Major and took command of 20th Fortress Company, R.E. at Devonport. In August, 1914 he mobilised the company and proceeded to France. 20th Company constructed semi-permanent heavy bridge over the river Aisne at Bourg whilst under fire. There was an acute shortage of field companies and 20th Company was often employed on front line work and at other times in the rear areas during the first year of the war.

He was appointed C.R.E of 6th Division in August, 1915, but in December, 1915 he was appointed Controller of Mines Second Army. He was responsible for the mining of Messines Ridge which detonated on the 7th, June, 1916 using a million pounds of explosives. He gained the admiration of all ranks due to his leadership. From November, 1917 until April, 1918 he was Deputy Engineer-in-Chief to the British Force to Italy, returning to France to be Chief Engineer, Fifth Corps, Third Army. Following the Armistice he served in the Army of Occupation as Chief Engineer, IVth Corps until September, 1919. He had been promoted Lt.-Col in September, 1918.

He then went on to command the Railway Training Centre at Longmoor. He became President of the newly created Royal Engineer Board, in August, 1920, and dealt with the many changes of design to engineer equipment brought on by the lessons of the war. He secured the services of eminent civil engineers and scientists as honorary members. Before his tenure of the Board could expire he was ordered in the autumn of 1922 to proceed to Constantinople as Chief Engineer to the British Force. He arrived at a time of crisis as the Turks, under Mustapha Kemal Pasha, were threatening the allied troops on the Bosphorus and Dardanelles. The British had to maintain a force at Chanak, across the Narrows, from an advanced base at Gallipoli. Stevenson had to build Kilia Base out of nothing. Piers, roads, camps, airfields, hospitals, power plant, workshops and water supply had to be provided. The civilian labour was mainly unskilled Armenians and a few Greek artisans. The Royal Engineers received much praise from the rest of the army. Besides Kilia Base, Stevenson also worked on the Constantinople Defence Area.

From April, 1923 until August, 1926 Stevenson was Chief Engineer, Aldershot Command. He was appointed A.D.C. to The King in 1925, promoted to Major-General in May, 1926, and gazetted Colonel Commandant R.E. in December, I935. Whilst at Aldershot, he was Vice-Chairman of the Tattoo Committee and practically artistic director. Although he had never been in India before he became Engineer-in-Chief at Army Headquarters, India, in November 1927, holding that appointment until he retired in June, 1932. He toured the country to gain an understanding of what was happening. It was a time much construction, not least of which was the almost complete reconstruction of barracks for the Indian Troops. There was also much work on the Frontier. The end of his tour was time of financial stringency and this put him under considerable strain.

He retired to Sandhurst whilst his three sons went to Wellington College. During retirement he was elected to the Rural District Council of Easthampstead, where his engineering experience was of great value. He designed the layout of the electric lighting for Sandhurst Parish Church. He became President of the Tunnellers Old Comrades Association in 1937 and President of the Sandhurst Branch of the British Legion. He enjoyed horse riding, swimming and walking. He was friends with S.T. Aveling, of Rochester and they tramped Kent and Sussex to sketch and paint landscapes and architectural beauty. He had a motor-cycle from 1900 and a fleet of cars, including a Thornycroft well known in Aldershot Command for 17 years. He served for several years on the Races Committee of the RAC and as a timekeeper at the “Gordon Bennett” Races in Ireland in 1903. He was one of the supervising officials for the “Prince Henry Motor Tour” in 1911, a gathering of senior officers from Britain and Germany which toured both countries.

He became ill in 1937 and died in his sleep at Sandhurst on 13th March, 1939.

3 sons, 1 daughter

For his services in the Sudan campaigns Lieutenant Stevenson was twice mentioned in dispatches, and was awarded the Khedive's medal with three clasps, 4th Class Medjidie, the British Sudan medal and the D.S.O.

In South Africa he was mentioned in dispatches, and awarded the Queen's South African Medal and three clasps.

For his services during the Great War, Colonel Stevenson was seven times mentioned in dispatches, promoted Brevet Lieut.- Colonel and Brevet Colonel and awarded the C.M.G. (I9I7), the C.B. (1919), and the Italian Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus 4th Class.

REJ June 1939
(Anon 1941)

Wollen, William Russell Grant
b. 21st November, 1874 Wolverhampton s of W.R. Wollen of Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire. 2nd Lt, 17th August, 1894, Lt 17th August, 1897, spent 3rd Nov, 1896 – 2nd Jan, 1898 in I.G.F. office, joined Egyptian Army 6th May, 1898, worked on Sudan Railway from 1898 – 1901, died at Shendy, 7th April, 1901 of fever, first European officer to be buried in European Cemetry, Khartoum.

(Keown-Boyd 1996)

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