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Herbert Kitchener

Lapel pin of Lord Kitchener, lost at sea on June 5, 1916 when the ship on which he was traveling to Russia struck a mine.
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The work he began we must finish

Lapel pin of Lord Kitchener, lost at sea on June 5, 1916 when the ship on which he was traveling to Russia struck a mine.

Image text

The work he began we must finish

Herbert Lord Kitchener had a long military career in Britain colonial service. Prime Minister Asquith brought Kitchener into his government as Secretary of State for War on August 3, 1914. He held the post to June 1916.

Kitchener foresaw a long war - three years or more - requiring a massive army, and he began building it as Great Britain went to war. The flood of volunteers overwhelmed Britain's ability to absorb them. Those who signed on in 1914 in response to his appeal for volunteers were called Kitchener's Army. It suffered heavily in the Battle of Loos in the autumn of 1915.

In building his forces, Kitchener paid little attention to the reforms the British Army was implementing to overcome shortcomings exposed by the Boer War.

Kitchener approved the Gallipoli Campaign but limited reinforcements to it. With the failure of the campaign, and others on the Western Front, Kitchener's reputation suffered. After the failure of the August invasion at Suvla Bay, Kitchener traveled to Gallipoli to see the battle front for himself. He agreed to the decision of Munro, the new commander, to evacuate the Suvla Bay position.

With the ongoing demands for additional troops, Britain began building the British New Army, aided in part, by the introduction of conscription in England, Scotland, Wales, and northern Ireland in January, 1916.

His reputation badly damaged, Kitchener offered to resign in early 1916. On a mission to Tsar Nicholas, Lord Kitchener was lost at sea on June 5, 1916 when the ship on which he was traveling to Russia struck a mine.

June 5, 1916

Great Britain

Roles held by Herbert Kitchener

Role Start Date End Date
Minister of War

Books by or about Herbert Kitchener (2)