|Sir James Willcocks|
Sir James Willcocks
|Years of service||1878-1922|
Northern Army, India|
Second Afghan War
Second Boer War
First World War
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath|
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India
Distinguished Service Order
General Sir James Willcocks GCB GCMG KCSI DSO (1 April 1857–18 December 1926) was a British Army officer who spent most of his career in India and Africa and held high command during the First World War.
Willcocks was born in Baraut, Meerut District, United Provinces, India, the son of an officer in the East India Company's army. He was educated in England and passed out from the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, in January 1878 (having only got in on the third attempt), being commissioned into the 100th Foot in the Punjab.
Military career as a company and field officer
In late 1879, shortly after being promoted Lieutenant, he persuaded his superiors to send him to the Second Afghan War (although his regiment was not engaged there), where he served as a transport officer. In 1881 he again served as a transport officer in the Mahsud Waziri expedition, rejoining his regiment the following year. In 1884 he was seconded to the newly formed Army Transport Department and posted to Assam. He was promoted Captain in August 1884. He served in the Sudan in 1885–1886 and then returned to Assam before serving in Burma in 1886, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). In December 1887 he was offered a permanent transfer to the Commissariat and Transport Department, but declined in favour of the adjutantcy of the 1st Battalion of his regiment (now the Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment).
In 1889 he served as an intelligence officer in the Chin-Lushai expedition and in 1891 in the Manipur expedition. In June 1897 he was appointed assistant adjutant-general of the Baluchistan field force and in November 1897 second-in-command of the new West African Frontier Force as a Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel. He was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 1899 New Year Honours. In November 1899 he was promoted substantive Lieutenant-Colonel (having received his Brevet in May) and became Colonel-Commandant of the Frontier Force, being granted the local rank of Colonel in January 1900. For his relief of Kumasi during the Ashanti War of 1900 he was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) and promoted to Brevet Colonel.
Military career as a general officer
After briefly serving in the South African War in 1902, he returned to India. He was promoted substantive Colonel in March 1902, although at this time he was serving as a Brigadier-General. He was promoted Major-General and given a brigade in 1906, commanded the Bazar Valley Field Force in February and March 1908, was given command a division in March 1908 and promoted Lieutenant-General for distinguished service in the field following his command of the Mohmand Field Force in July 1908. He was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the 1907 Birthday Honours. In October 1910 he was appointed to the command of the Northern Army. In the 1913 New Year Honours he was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India (KCSI). He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in 1914.
In 1914 he was given command of the Indian Corps in France. He was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) in the 1915 Birthday Honours and was promoted General in May 1915, but resigned in September 1915 after friction with Sir Douglas Haig, who commanded the First Army.
Governor of Bermuda, retirement and death
In May 1917 Willcocks was appointed Governor of Bermuda, a post in which he served until 1922. He was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) in the 1921 Birthday Honours. He later returned to India and died at Bharatpur in 1926.
- "No. 24547". 29 January 1878. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/24547/page/
- "No. 24798". 6 January 1880. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/24798/page/
- "No. 25401". 3 October 1884. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/25401/page/
- "No. 25761". 25 November 1887. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/25761/page/
- "No. 25789". 21 February 1888. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/25789/page/
- "No. 26931". 21 January 1898. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/26931/page/
- "No. 27038". 2 January 1899. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/27038/page/
- "No. 27132". 3 November 1899. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/27132/page/
- "No. 27094". 30 June 1899. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/27094/page/
- "No. 27156". 23 January 1900. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/27156/page/
- "No. 27214". 27 July 1900. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/27214/page/
- "No. 27486". 21 October 1902. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/27486/page/
- "No. 27974". 7 December 1906. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/27974/page/
- "No. 228121". 20 March 1908. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/228121/page/
- "No. 28168". 14 August 1908. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/28168/page/
- "No. 28034". 25 June 1907. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/28034/page/
- "No. 28437". 15 November 1910. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/28437/page/
- "No. 28677". 31 December 1912. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/28677/page/
- "No. 29202". 22 June 1915. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29202/page/
- "No. 29459". 1 February 1916. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29459/page/
- "No. 30069". 15 May 1917. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30069/page/
- "No. 32346". 4 June 1921. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/32346/page/
- Biography, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- Willcocks, James (1920). With the Indians in France. Constable. http://www.archive.org/details/withindiansinfra00will.
- Willcocks, General Sir James. The Romance of Soldiering & Sport. London: Cassell and Company, Ltd. 1925.
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