Lieutenant-General Sir Hew Dalrymple Fanshawe KCB KCMG


The photo shows Lieutenant-General Sir Hew Fanshawe, as Colonel of the regiment, unveiling the war memorial of the Queen's Bays at Colchester on 7 July 1927. The picture was published in the Daily Mirror, and an accompanying photo showed ex-officers of the regiment marching past the memorial.

Hew Dalrymple Fanshawe was born on 30 Oct 1860, the son of the Reverend Henry Leighton Fanshawe, of Chilworth, Oxfordshire. He was educated at Winchester College and then served in the militia, joining the 19th Hussars in 1882. He was the middle son of three brothers with significant military careers; Edward (b. 1859) joined the artillery and Robert (b. 1863) joined the infantry, all three rising to command corps or divisions during the First World War.

Hew served in Egypt with the 19th Hussars until 1884, when he was promoted to Captain. He was present at Kassasin and Tel-el-Kebir. He then served in the Sudan, again with the 19th Hussars and was present at El Teb and Tamai. On the Nile Expedition in 1884-85 he was at Abu Klea and Metammeh. After this Hew was appointed ADC to Sir Evelyn Wood, later marrying his eldest daughter, Anna Paulina Mary Wood, on 25 July 1894. They had two sons and a daughter. Both sons served in the Queen's Bays and commanded the regiment in the 1930s. Evelyn Dalrymple Fanshawe (b. 1895) commanded from 1934 to 39, and George Hew Fanshawe was CO from 1939 to 1940.

Hew Fanshawe returned to his regiment in 1893, with a promotion to Major, and stayed with them until 1897, when he was appointed to a two-year term as an assistant military secretary in India. He served throughout the Boer War, having been appointed second in command of the Queen's Bays on 23 June 1900. He received a brevet promotion to lieutenant-colonel and was mentioned in despatches twice; following the war, in 1903, he was confirmed in his promotion to lieutenant-colonel and given command of the Queen's Bays. He held command of the regiment until 1907, when he was promoted to take over the 2nd Cavalry Brigade. After three years as a brigadier in the home forces, he was transferred to India in 1910, to command the Presidency Brigade in the Indian Lucknow Division. In 1913, he was promoted to major-general, with command of the Jubbulpore Brigade in the Mhow Division.

Fanshawe was in India with his brigade on the outbreak of the First World War; whilst it remained in India, he was sent to France and given command of the 1st Indian Cavalry Division, a composite force drawn from the cavalry regiments of the various divisions, in December 1914. The following September he was transferred to command the Cavalry Corps, though by this point of the war, there was little role for cavalry in static trench warfare, and he moved to V Corps, a front-line corps, in October.

At V Corps, Fanshawe oversaw the initial attack on St. Eloi in late March 1916; the attack under his command by 3rd Division was at first successful, but terrible ground conditions made it hard for them, or for the relieving troops in the Canadian Corps, to hold ground, and after a month of heavy losses, the line stabilised at the original positions. Such a situation would normally result in the responsible divisional commanders being sacked and replaced; it was 2nd Canadian Division under Richard Turner which had failed to hold the ground, but, for political reasons, the high command felt it impossible to sack a Canadian commander. Instead, Aylmer Haldane, the commander of 3rd Division, was lined up as a scapegoat; Fanshawe tried to intervene with General Haig, but, as a result, was sacked himself on 4 July. His replacement at V Corps was, somewhat unusually, his elder brother Edward.

Later in 1916, he took over the 58th (2/1st London) Division on home service, and in 1917 was given command of the 18th Indian Division, serving in the Mesopotamian campaign. He commanded it through the end of the war, including at the Battle of Sharqat, the final engagement of the campaign in the Middle East.

After the Armistice, Fanshawe was given command of an administrative area in France. He retired from the Army in 1920, with a knighthood and the honorary rank of lieutenant-general. In retirement, he served as a justice of the peace in Oxfordshire, living near Thame, and was the Colonel of the Queen's Bays from 1921 to 1930.


Regimental details | Colonels | Commanding Officers




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by Stephen Luscombe