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 Herbert Charles Onslow Plumer

Herbert Charles Onslow Plumer

Birth
Kensington, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Greater London, England
Death 16 Jul 1932 (aged 75)
Knightsbridge, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Greater London, England
Burial Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England
Plot St George's Chapel
Memorial ID 9566 · View Source
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Military Officer, Viscount. He received international notoriety for his military service, especially in World War I, where he became a highly-decorated senior British Army officer. He commanded V Corps at the Second Battle of Ypres, Belgium in April 1915 and took command of the Second Army in May 1915. He led the fought for an outstanding victory over the German Army at the Battle of Messines by launching an offensive attack on June 7, 1917. The British attack started with simultaneous explosion of a series of mines by the Royal Engineers, who tunneled beneath the German line, thus creating 19 to 21 huge craters after the explosions. Plumer's attack at Messines was nearly flawless in its execution and resulted in relatively few casualties by World War I standards. Although he was considered by most as a cautious, sparing commander with empathy with the common soldier, he led the British army to the Third Battle of Ypres or the Battle of Passchedaele. Plumer advocated continuing to attack immediately in to Passchendaele, arguing that the moral of the German troops were broken after Ypres, it would be a surprise move, and there was a shortage in replacements for the German forces. Others in command, Field Marshall Douglas Haig, and General Hubert Gough, did not agree with Plumer, who played a subsidiary role, thus this did not happened. At one point, all but twelve of Plumer's divisions of soldiers and half his artillery were ordered to be transferred to Gough for a period of time. Losing the advantage of a surprise attack, waiting for German reinforcements to be available for the battle, and with cold-rainy weather becoming an enemy, the British and Canadian Armies took Passchendaele in early November with the British Expeditionary Force receiving an unusual and expensive 310,000 casualties. Historians have not agreed on the complex events of the battle. After being sent to the Italian Front to restore order on the front lines in late November of 1917, he was not involved with the Fourth Battle of Ypres in April 1918 or the Fifth Battle of Ypres in the fall of 1918. Instead, he helped establish excellent relations with the Italian generals, who were working at a steady resolve as they rebuilt their armies. On December 3, 1917 in the Battle of Cambrai, his army of six French and five British divisions overpowered Germans at a sector of the Italian front. After serving in the Courtrai Offensive in October 1918, he and the Second Army conducted a defense against the great German push. Plumer's army was credited with crossing the German frontier and establishing the British zone of occupation in Germany. He was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal on July 31, 1919 and received a peerage of Baron Plumer. He later served as Commander-in-Chief of the British Army of Occupation on the Rhine. He was later appointed Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Malta for nearly four years, before becoming High Commissioner of the British Mandate of Palestine from 1925 to 1928 dealing with both Arabs and Zionists. On June 24, 1927 he unveiled the new Menin Gate at Ypres. He had become an active member of the House of Lords. On June 3, 1929, he was created Viscount Plumer for his “long and distinguished public services.” He married and was the father to one son and three daughters. With the 1944 death of his son and successor of his peerage as Second Viscount, the title became extinct. Other awards and honors that Plumer received for his service in World War I were the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Bath, the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, the night of Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, the Legion of Honor from France in 1917, the Croix de Guerre from Belgium in 1918, and the Distinguished Service Medal from the United States in 1919. Educated at Eton College and the Royal Military College, he commissioned as a lieutenant into the 65th Regiment on September 11, 1876, thus beginning his long military career. Before serving in the war in British Sudan, he was promoted to captain. On January 22, 1893, he was promoted to major. In 1896, he went to Southern Rhodesia and became deputy assistant adjutant-general with the promotion to brevet lieutenant colonel on May 8, 1897. He returned to Southern Rhodesia in 1899, served in the Second Boar War in South Africa and was promoted to colonel on November 28, 1900. In June 1902, he had an audience with King Edward VII for his “invariable displayed military qualifications of a very high order. Few officers have rendered better service.” Promoted to major general on August 22, 1902, he was appointed to Commander of the 4th Brigade with the Army Corp the following October. He was promoted to lieutenant general on November 4, 1906 and after World War I started, to the rank of full general on June 1, 1915.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 29 May 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9566
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Herbert Charles Onslow Plumer (13 Mar 1857–16 Jul 1932), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9566, citing Westminster Abbey, Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .