Lieutenant General Sir Walter Pipon Braithwaite
Lieutenant General Sir Walter Pipon Braithwaite
Sir Walter Pipon Braithwaite (11 November 1865 – 7 September 1945) was a British Army officer who held senior commands during the First World War. After being dismissed from his position as Chief of Staff for the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, he received some acclaim as a competent divisional commander on the Western Front. After the war, he was commissioned to produce a report analysing the performance of British staff officers during the conflict.
Braithwaite was born in Alne, the son of the Reverend William Braithwaite and Laura Elizabeth Pipon. He was the youngest of twelve children. He was educated at Victoria College between 1875 and 1880, and at Bedford School between 1880 and 1884.
Braithwaite studied at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Somerset Light Infantry on 3 January 1886. He was promoted to captain on 8 November 1894. He served in the Second Boer War, seeing action at Ladysmith, Spion Kop, Vaal Krantz and Tugela Heights. He was mentioned in despatches three times and in a South Africa honours list received the brevet rank of major on 29 November 1900. Staying in South Africa until the war ended, he only returned to the United Kingdom on the SS Briton three months later in September 1902. After his return he was on in early October posted to Southern Command as a deputy assistant quartermaster-general on the staff of Sir Evelyn Wood, General Officer in Command of the 2nd Army Corps. In 1906, Braithwaite was promoted to major, and transferred to The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was later promoted to lieutenant colonel, and served as an instructor at the Staff College, Camberley. In 1909, he was assigned to the staff of Douglas Haig at the War Office, and promoted to colonel. He was subsequently named commandant of the Staff College, Quetta, a position he still held at the outbreak of the First World War. At this point, the college was closed, and he was again transferred to the War Office, this time as Director of Staff Duties.
In 1915, during the First World War, he was appointed Chief of Staff for the Mediterranean Expedition, commanded by Ian Hamilton. He was regarded by many of the Australians involved in that effort as "arrogant and incompetent". After the failure of the Mediterranean expedition, Braithwaite was recalled to London. He was later assigned to command of the 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division, a Territorial Force (TF) formation, which was posted to France in January 1917. Here he experienced considerable success. Although the division struggled to make headway during the Battle of Arras, it proved a solid and reliable unit during the German Spring Offensive the following year. Following success in repelling German advances at Bullecourt and Cambrai, he was given command of IX Corps on 13 September 1918 and later XII Corps.
On 29 September 1918 Braithwaite's IX Corps was on the southern front line at the village of Bellenglise facing the canal, when the order came from Haig to attack through the Hindenburg Line. The assault was much more successful than earlier American efforts, encountering as they did, multiple gas attacks. The spearhead was led by the 46th (North Midland) Division. As Major H. J. C. Marshall, a divisional staff officer, recorded they were not expected to advance far, leaving that to the Americans and Australians to their left. If they could not get a foothold they were had orders to swim across the canal in ice cold water. But divisional HQ had spared no effort to find all necessary equipment to achieve the objective. They advanced one hour later than the Americans under a hail of machine gun bullets and "cyclone of shells". A thick fog came down helping to mask them from German sight. Pushing on through the dawn's early light, a battalion of the North Staffordshire Regiment overran the German machine gun positions; the bridge's defenders were shot and killed, as the infantry fixed bayonets and charged. 5,000 German prisoners of war (POWs) were taken. For almost the first time in the war the attack had been an outstanding success. Brathwaite received plaudits from Monash and Rawlinson. The 46th Division recovered over 1,000 machine guns. Weeks later King George V visited Bellenglise, the site where the Hindenburg Line was breached by a Territorial unit.
Braithwaite was devastated by his son's death on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Having no heir, he burnt all his family papers. As successes emerged in late 1918, Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) on the Western Front, was effusive in praise of his officer's and men's achievement, showing the friendship and esteem for which he was held by General Braithwaite all his life
Lieutenant General Sir Edward Bulfin
Lieutenant General Sir Edward Bulfin
General Sir Edward Stanislaus Bulfin KCB CVO (6 November 1862 – 20 August 1939) was a British general during World War I, where he established a reputation as an excellent commander at the brigade, divisional and corps levels. He was most noted for his actions during the First Battle of Ypres, when he organized impromptu forces to slow down the German assault.
In 1917–18 he commanded XXI Corps in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign.
Bulfin was born Woodtown Park, Rathfarnham, Co Dublin the second son of Patrick Bulfin and Teresa Clare Carroll. His father was a son of Edward Bulfin from Derrinlough, King's County (now County Offaly), and was elected Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1870. He was educated at Stonyhurst College, and then at Kensington Catholic Public School Although he attended Trinity College, Dublin, he did not take a degree, choosing a military career instead.
From Dublin University he entered the Armagh Militia from where he was commissioned into the Princess of Wales's Own (Yorkshire Regiment) in 1884, following militia service with the Royal Irish Fusiliers. He was dispatched to India on 31 December 1889, and first saw active service in Burma in that year. He was promoted to captain on 30 January 1895. In 1898 he was appointed Garrison Adjutant at Dover, and in November embarked for South Africa with his fellow Irishman General Sir William Butler, as Assistant Military Secretary. When the Second Boer War broke out, in 1899 he was appointed Brigade Major to the 9th Brigade. He saw action at several skirmishes in South Africa, and was promoted to a brevet major in November 1900. He was present at several battles including Belmont and Graspan, Modder River, Magersfontein, Rhenoster and Lindley. He returned to the regular rank of Captain in his regiment on 12 December 1901, and served in South Africa until the end of the war, when he left Cape Town on board the SS Walmer Castle in late June 1902, arriving at Southampton the following month. On his return to England he received a brevet promotion to lieutenant-colonel in the South Africa honours list published on 26 June 1902, and abandoned regimental soldiering in favour of a staff career. From 1902 to 1904, he served as deputy assistant adjutant-general with I Corps, and from 1906 to 1910 as assistant adjutant and quartermaster-general for Cape Colony. After returning to England, he was promoted to colonel and given command of the Essex Brigade, an unusual appointment as Bulfin had never commanded a battalion. In 1913, he was promoted again, and appointed to the prestigious command of the 2nd Infantry Brigade.
At the outbreak of World War I Bulfin and the 2nd Brigade were transported to the Western Front as part of the original British Expeditionary Force. During the fighting around Ypres at the end of October 1914, he organized an impromptu force of six battalions (known as "Bulfin's force") and led a counterattack to stem the German advance. This action won him considerable praise from 1st Corps commander Douglas Haig, as well as BEF commander John French. In December, he was promoted to command the newly formed 28th Division, and led this formation through the heavy German gas attacks at the 2nd Battle of Ypres, and also at the Battle of Loos.
Bulfin fell ill in October 1915, and spent the first half of 1916 recuperating in England, thus avoiding a transfer to Salonika. He returned to the Western Front in June 1916 to command the 60th Division during the Battle of the Somme, although the division did not play a significant role in the offensive.
Salonika and Palestine
In December 1916, 60th Division was transferred to Salonika, although they remained for only six months and took part in no serious fighting. Moving to Palestine in June 1917, Bulfin was promoted to lieutenant-general and given command of XXI Corps. He proved a capable corps commander, leading his formation through Ottoman defenses at the Third Battle of Gaza, opening the way for the capture of Jerusalem. He later commanded the corps in the overwhelming victory at the Battle of Megiddo in the waning days of the war.
Post warAfter the armistice, Bulfin remained in the army in a variety of staff positions, gaining a promotion to full general in 1925 and finally retiring in 1926. His first position was to remain in the Middle East and Egypt in particular. During the Egyptian revolution of 1919 he was known to be a very effective military leader in putting down the unrest especially through organising 'flying columns'. In the summer of 1920 he was offered the job of Chief of Police and Head of Secret Intelligence in Ireland based on his loyalty to the Crown, his Irish origins and his swift handling of the nationalist unrest in Egypt in 1919. Bulfin refused the appointment on the grounds that as a Catholic and an Irishman it would be distasteful to him to do any work which was not of a purely military character.[ He died in 1939 at his home in Boscombe, Bournemouth, Dorset.