Military Wiki
The Lord Methuen
Lord Methuen, circa 1902.
Born (1846-12-14)December 14, 1846
Died October 30, 1932(1932-10-30) (aged 85)
Place of birth Corsham Court, Wiltshire
Place of death Corsham Court, Wiltshire
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1865–1912
Rank Field Marshal
Unit Third Anglo-Ashanti War
Second Boer War
Commands held Home District
Eastern Command
South Africa
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order

Field Marshal Paul Sanford Methuen, 3rd Baron Methuen GCB, GCMG, GCVO, DL (1 September 1845 – 30 October 1932) was a British Army officer. He served in the Third Anglo-Ashanti War in 1873 and then in the expedition of Sir Charles Warren to Bechuanaland in the mid 1880s. He took a prominent role as General Officer Commanding the 1st Division in the Second Boer War. He suffered a serious defeat at the Battle of Magersfontein, during which he failed to carry out adequate reconnaissance and accordingly his artillery bombarded the wrong place leading to the Highland Brigade taking heavy casulties. He was later captured by the Boers at Tweebosch. After the War he became general officer commanding-in-chief in South Africa in 1908, Natal in 1910 and then governor and commander-in-chief of Malta in 1915.

Early life

Paul Sanford Methuen was born at Corsham Court, Wiltshire, the eldest of three sons of Frederick Methuen, 2nd Baron Methuen and his wife Anna Horatia Caroline Methuen (née Sanford).[1]

Early military career

Educated at Eton College, Methuen served two years as a cornet in the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry and then joined the Scots Fusilier Guards as an ensign in the regiment and lieutenant in the Army on 22 November 1864.[2] He was promoted to lieutenant in the regiment and captain in the Army on 25 December 1867[3] and became adjutant of the 1st battalion in 1868.[4] He became brigade major, Home District in 1871 and saw active duty on the staff of Sir Garnet Wolseley at Amoaful in 1873 during the Third Anglo-Ashanti War.[4] Promoted to captain in the regiment and lieutenant-colonel in the Army on 15 July 1876,[5] he became assistant military secretary in Ireland in 1877, military attaché in Berlin in 1878 and quartermaster-general at the Home District in April 1881[6] before being promoted to colonel on 1 July 1881.[7] He was the commandant of headquarters in Egypt for three months in 1882,[8] being present at the Battle of Tel el-Kebir.[4] On return to the UK he became assistant-adjutant and quartermaster-general for the Home District again.[9] He was promoted to major in the regiment on 25 October 1882.[10]

Methuen served in the expedition of Sir Charles Warren to Bechuanaland in 1884 to 1885, where he commanded Methuen's Horse, a corps of mounted rifles.[4] He became deputy adjutant-general, in South Africa in 1888, and having been promoted to major-general on 21 May 1890,[11] he succeeded his father as 3rd baron in 1891.[12] He became Major-General commanding the Brigade of Guards and General Officer Commanding the Home District in April 1892[13] and then served as press censor at headquarters on the Tirah expedition in 1897.[12] Promoted to lieutenant-general on 1 April 1898,[14] he was given the command of the 1st Division on the outbreak of the Second Boer War.[15]

Fighting in South Africa

Field Marshal Lord Methuen by Leslie Ward.

Methuen was a perfect Christian knight – there could not be a nobler gentleman

Methuen reached South Africa in November 1899 with orders to relieve Kimberley but initially just expelled the Boers from Belmont and Graspan.[12] He was slightly wounded at the Battle of Modder River.[17] He suffered both defeats and successes during the war. His greatest defeat was at the Battle of Magersfontein, during which he failed to carry out adequate reconnaissance and accordingly his artillery bombarded the wrong place leading to the Highland Brigade taking heavy casulties.[1] The battle was regarded as one of the three British disasters in "Black Week" that led to the despatch of Lord Roberts to South Africa.[12]

After Magersfontein, Methuen remained in the Kimberley–Boshof area trying to capture Boer General Christiaan de Wet.[1] Methuen was himself captured by the Boers at Tweebosch on 7 March 1902.[18] He had been wounded in the battle as well as breaking his leg after his horse fell on him. Boer General Koos de la Rey released him due to the severity of his injuries, providing his personal cart to take Methuen to hospital in Klerksdorp. The two allegedly became lifelong friends as a result of this action.[19]

Despite these visible setbacks, Methuen continued to be well regarded, and was given more responsibilities. Appointed colonel of the Scots Guards on 1 May 1904[20] and promoted to full general on 26 May 1904,[21] he was given the command of the IV Army Corps in June 1904,[22] before it was reconstituted as Eastern Command in June 1905.[23] He was alkso invited to become a board member of the Royal Patriotic Fund Corporation in August 1905.[24] He became general officer commanding-in-chief in South Africa in April 1908[25] and Natal in January 1910[26] before being promoted to field marshal on 19 June 1911.[27]

Methuen helped raise the standards of training of the British Expeditionary Force in 1914[1] and was appointed governor and commander-in-chief of Malta in February 1915, a post he held until he retired in May 1919.[28]

In retirement Methuen was appointed Constable of the Tower late in 1919 and Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire in 1921.[29] He devoted himself to the interests of the Brigade of Guards and died at Corsham Court on 30 October 1932.[1]


Lord Methuen was married twice, first to Evelyn, the eldest daughter of Sir Frederick Hervey-Bathurst, of Clarendon Park, Wiltshire.[4] They were married in 1878 until her death in 1879.[4] He then married in 1884, his cousin Mary Ethel, the second daughter of William Ayshford Sanford, of Nynehead Court: they had three sons and two daughters.[1]





  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 "Methuen, Paul Sanford". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  2. "No. 22914". 22 November 1864. 
  3. "No. 23336". 24 December 1867. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Heathcote, p. 205
  5. "No. 24353". 11 August 1876.. 
  6. "No. 24943". 1 March 1881. 
  7. "No. 24999". 26 July 1881. 
  8. "No. 25134". 1 August 1882. 
  9. "No. 25168". 17 November 1882. 
  10. "No. 25168". 17 November 1882. 
  11. "No. 26057". 30 May 1890. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Heathcote, p. 206
  13. "No. 26268". 15 March 1892. 
  14. "No. 26958". 19 April 1898. 
  15. "No. 27126". 13 October 1899. 
  16. Spender, p. 85
  17. Wills, p. 35
  18. Cheswicke, p. 185
  19. Jeppe, p. 243
  20. "No. 27672". 2 May 1904. 
  21. "No. 27680". 27 May 1904. 
  22. "No. 27684". 10 June 1904. 
  23. "No. 27822". 28 July 1905. 
  24. "No. 27830". 25 August 1905. 
  25. "No. 28127". 10 April 1908. 
  26. "No. 28326". 7 January 1910. 
  27. "No. 28505". 16 June 1911. 
  28. Heathcote, p.207
  29. "No. 32515". 11 November 1921. 
  30. "No. 27490". 31 October 1902. 
  31. "No. 27306". 19 April 1901. 
  32. "No. 25169". 17 November 1882. 
  33. "No. 31597". 10 October 1919. 
  34. "No. 26871". 9 July 1897. 
  35. "No. 30263". 31 August 1917. 
  36. "No. 30848". 16 August 1918. 


Further reading

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Philip Smith
GOC Home District
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Trotter
Preceded by
The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Colonel of the Scots Guards
Succeeded by
The Duke of York
New title
New Post
GOC-in-C Eastern Command
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur Paget
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Leslie Rundle
Governor of Malta
Succeeded by
Lord Plumer
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Evelyn Wood
Constable of the Tower of London
Succeeded by
Lord Milne
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Frederick Henry Paul Methuen
Baron Methuen
Succeeded by
Paul Ayshford Methuen

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