Military Wiki
The Earl of Cavan
File:Frederic Rudoloph Lambart.jpg
Field Marshal Lord Cavan
Born (1865-10-16)16 October 1865
Died 28 August 1946(1946-08-28) (aged 80)
Place of birth Ayot St Lawrence, Hertfordshire, England, UK
Place of death London, England, UK
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1885 – 1913
1914 - 1926
Rank Field Marshal
Commands held 50th (Northumbrian) Division
Guards Division
XIV Corps
Aldershot Command
Chief of the Imperial General Staff
Battles/wars Second Boer War
First World War
Awards Knight of the Order of St Patrick
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
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire

Field Marshal Frederick Rudolph Lambart, 10th Earl of Cavan, KP, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, GBE, DL (16 October 1865 – 28 August 1946) was a British Army officer and Chief of the Imperial General Staff. He served in the Second Boer War, led XIV Corps during World War I and later advised the Government on the implementation of the Geddes report, which advocated a large reduction in defence expenditure, and consequentially he officiated over a major reduction in the size of the British Army.

Army career

Born the son of Frederick Lambart, 9th Earl of Cavan and Mary Sneade Lambart (née Olive) and educated at Eton College, Christ Church, Oxford and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst,[1] Lambart was commissioned into the Grenadier Guards on 29 August 1885.[2] He gained the courtesy title of Viscount Kilcoursie in 1887 when his father succeeded to the Earldom and was appointed Aide-de-Camp to the Governor General of Canada in 1891.[3] Having been promoted to captain on 16 October 1897, he saw action as a company commander in the Second Boer War at the Battle of Biddulphsberg in May 1900[3] and, having succeeded to his father's titles on 14 July 1900,[1] took part in operations against the Boers in 1901 and was mentioned in despatches.[4]

Lord Cavan as a young officer, n.d.

After promotion to major on 28 October 1902,[5] he became second-in-command of 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards in July 1905.[6] He was promoted again to lieutenant colonel[7] and appointed Commanding Officer of 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards on 14 February 1908.[6] Appointed LVO on 29 June 1910[8] and promoted to colonel on 4 October 1911,[9] he retired from the British Army on 8 November 1913[10] and became Master of Foxhounds for the Hertfordshire Hunt.[6] At that time he lived at Wheathampstead House in Wheathampstead.[11]

He was recalled at the start of World War I and was appointed commander of 4th Guards Brigade on 11 August 1914[12] and went on to lead the Brigade at the First Battle of Ypres in October 1914.[6] Appointed CB on 18 February 1915,[13] he also led the Brigade at the Battle of Festubert in May 1915.[6]

Cavan was promoted to major-general[14] and given command of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division on 29 June 1915; a mere two months later he was appointed the first commander of the Guards Division and, having been appointed Commander of the French Legion of Honour on 10 September 1915,[15] he led his Division at the Battle of Loos later that month.[6] He was elected a representative peer from Ireland on 24 September 1915 and as such was one of the last to be so elected before the creation of the Irish Free State.[16] In his role as Commander of the Guards Division he informed Major Winston Churchill of the latter's attachment to the 2nd Battalion of the Grenadiers in November 1915.[17]

The following January 1916, Cavan was placed at the head of XIV Corps and took part in the Battle of the Somme that Summer.[6] He was made a Grand Officer of the Belgian Order of the Crown on 2 November 1916[18] and appointed a Knight of the Order of St. Patrick on 18 November 1916.[19]

Promoted to Lieutenant General on 1 January 1917,[20] he led his Corps at the Battle of Passchendaele in Summer 1917.[6] He was awarded the rank of Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour on 25 September 1917[21] and was redeployed with his Corps to Italy on October 1917.[6] Advanced to KCB on 1 January 1918,[22] Cavan was appointed Commander-in-Chief of British forces on the Italian Front on 10 March 1918.[23] It was in this capacity that Cavan led the Tenth Army which struck a decisive blow at the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, the action that sounded the final death knell of the Austro-Hungarian Army towards the close of the war.[6]

Following the end of the War the King of Italy awarded him the Cross of War[24] and made him a Commander,[25] and subsequently a Grand Officer, of the Military Order of Savoy[26] as well as appointing him a Grand Officer of the Order of St Maurice and St Lazarus.[27] Cavan was also appointed GCMG for his contribution to operations in Italy,[28] awarded the American Distinguished Service Medal[29] and appointed to the Chinese Order of Wen-Hu (1st Class).[30]

His first appointment after the War was when he became Lieutenant of the Tower of London on 22 March 1920.[31] Appointed ADC to the King on 1 October 1920,[32] he became General Officer Commanding at Aldershot Command on 2 November 1920[33][34] before being promoted to full general on 2 November 1921.[35]

He was appointed Chief of the Imperial General Staff on 19 February 1922.[36] He may have been chosen as a steady man, the antithesis of his predecessor Henry Wilson, whose relations with the government had deteriorated, and who was in Wilson’s view more likely to agree to withdraw troops from Egypt and India.[37] As CIGS Cavan advised the Government on the implementation of the Geddes report, which advocated a large reduction in defence expenditure, and consequentially he officiated over a major reduction in the size of the British Army.[38] Advanced to GCB in the New Year Honours 1926,[39] he retired on 19 February 1926.[40] He was also Colonel of the Irish Guards from 23 May 1925[41] and Colonel of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment from 10 December 1928.[42]

In retirement he became Chairman of the National Playing Fields Association and Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire.[1] Appointed GBE on 8 July 1927,[43] he became Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms on 23 July 1929[44] and was promoted to field marshal on 31 October 1932.[45] He also took part in the procession for the funeral of King George V in January 1936[46] and commanded the troops at the procession for the coronation of King George VI on 12 May 1937.[47] During World War II he served as Commanding Officer of the Hertfordshire Local Defence Volunteers.[38] He died at the London Clinic in Devonshire Place in London on 28 August 1946.[38]

He was buried in the family plot at the churchyard in Ayot St Lawrence, where a seven-feet tall red granite cross is his headstone. His is the churchyard's only burial registered as Commonwealth war grave.[48][49]

Marriage and family

He married on 1 August 1893 to Caroline Inez Crawley (1870–1920), daughter of George Baden Crawley and Eliza Inez Hulbert, at Digswell Church in Digswell, Hertfordshire.[50][51] She predeceased her husband; they had no children.

He married, secondly, on 27 November 1922 to Lady Hester Joan Byng, daughter of Reverend Francis Edmund Cecil Byng, 5th Earl of Strafford and Emily Georgina Kerr, at St. Mark's Church in North Audley Street, Mayfair, London.[50][52] Joan, the Countess of Cavan, would, in 1927, be knighted as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. The couple had two daughters:

  • Lady Elizabeth Mary Lambart (born 16 October 1924), married in 1949 to Mark Frederic Kerr Longman, had issue. She was in 1947 one of the eight bridesmaids in Princess Elizabeth's marriage to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten.[50]
  • Lady Joanna Lambart (born 8 December 1929), (HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother stood sponsor) married in 1955 to Major Michael Godwin Plantagenet Stourton.[1]

Because he had no son, he was succeeded in his peerage by his brother, Horace.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Field Marshal Sir Frederick Rudolph Lambart, 10th Earl of the County of Cavan". The Retrieved 21 January 2011. 
  2. "No. 25506". 28 August 1885. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Heathcote, Anthony pg 197
  4. "No. 27353". 10 September 1901. 
  5. "No. 27505". 19 December 1902. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 Heathcote, Anthony pg 198
  7. "No. 28109". 14 February 1908. 
  8. "No. 28391". 1 July 1910. 
  9. "No. 28580". 13 February 1912. 
  10. "No. 28771". 7 November 1913. 
  11. "Wheathampstead Heritage Trail". Wheathampstead Heritage. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  12. "No. 28980". 17 November 1914. 
  13. "No. 29074". 16 February 1915. 
  14. "No. 29283". 3 September 1915. 
  15. "No. 29290". 10 September 1915. 
  16. "No. 29310". 28 September 1915. 
  17. Jenkins, Roy (2002). Churchill. Pan Books. ISBN 978-0-330-48805-1. 
  18. "No. 29943". 13 February 1917. 
  19. Rayment, Leigh (24 April 2008). "Leigh Rayment: Knights of St.Patrick". Leigh Rayment. Retrieved 2012-01-21. 
  20. "No. 29886". 29 December 1916. 
  21. "No. 30306". 25 September 1917. 
  22. "No. 30450". 28 August 1885. 
  23. "No. 30966". 18 October 1918. 
  24. "No. 31039". 26 November 1918. 
  25. "No. 31039". 26 November 1918. 
  26. "No. 31222". 7 March 1919. 
  27. "No. 31514". 19 August 1919. 
  28. "No. 31395". 6 June 1919. 
  29. "No. 31451". 11 July 1919. 
  30. "No. 31783". 13 February 1920. 
  31. "No. 31833". 23 March 1920. 
  32. "No. 32112". 2 November 1920. 
  33. "Frederick Lambart, 10th Earl of Cavan". Aldershot Military Museum. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  34. "No. 32117". 5 November 1920. 
  35. "No. 32505". 1 November 1921. 
  36. "No. 32615". 20 February 1922. 
  37. Jeffery 2006, p278
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 "Frederick Lambart, 10th Earl of Cavan". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  39. "No. 33119". 29 December 1925. 
  40. "No. 33134". 19 February 1926. 
  41. "No. 33058". 19 June 1925. 
  42. "No. 33468". 19 February 1929. 
  43. "No. 33292". 8 July 1927. 
  44. "No. 33519". 23 July 1929. 
  45. "No. 33886". 25 November 1932. 
  46. "No. 34279". 29 April 1936. 
  47. "No. 34453". 10 November 1937. 
  48. CWGC Cemetery Report
  49. CWGC Casualty Report
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 Mosley, p. 723
  51. Cokayne, p. 121
  52. Hammond, p. 161

Further reading

  • Cokayne, G.E. (2000). The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910–1959); reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K. volume III. Alan Sutton Publishing. ISBN 978-1247626390. 
  • Hammond, Peter (1998). The Complete Peerage or a History of the House of Lords and All its Members From the Earliest Times, Volume XIV: Addenda & Corrigenda, Stroud, Gloucestershire, U.K.. Sutton Publishing. ASIN B005VNDYRC. 
  • Heathcote, Tony (1999). The British Field Marshals 1736–1997. Barnsley (UK): Pen & Sword. ISBN 0-85052-696-5. 
  • Jeffery, Keith (2006). Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson: A Political Soldier. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-820358-2. 
  • Mosley, Charles (2003). Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition, volume 1. Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd. ISBN 978-0971196629. 

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
New Post
General Officer Commanding XIV Corps
Succeeded by
Post Disbanded
Preceded by
Lord Rawlinson
GOC-in-C Aldershot Command
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Morland
Preceded by
Sir Henry Wilson
Chief of the Imperial General Staff
Succeeded by
Sir George Milne
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Kilmorey
Representative peer for Ireland
Succeeded by
Office Lapsed
Preceded by
The Earl of Lucan
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms
Succeeded by
The Earl of Lucan
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Frederick Lambart
Earl of Cavan
Succeeded by
Horace Lambart

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