Biography of Lord Herbert Kitchener (1850-1916)

Military and British politician, born on June 24, 1850 in Crotter House (County Kerry, Ireland) and died on June 5, 1916 in the Orkney Islands, after hitting the cruise which took him a mine. He was Minister de Guerra during the first world war, although during his long military and political career, he was assigned in Egypt, South Africa and the India, and participated, among others, at the battle of Omdurman, in the Fashoda incident, and in the anglo-boer war.


Kitchener studied at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich and his bright military career began to take shape in Palestine, Egypt and Sudan, where he was appointed captain in 1883 and Governor general in 1886; Subsequently, he was assigned in Egypt as general Deputy in the city of Cairo. In 1892 he was appointed sirdar (Commander in Chief) of the Egyptian army and directed from the August 24, 1898 the anglo-egipcia military campaign against the rebel mahdistas, which occupied part of Sudanese territory from 1881, and Khartoum campaign which ended with the victory at the battle of Omdurman on 2 September and the reconquest of the entire Sudanese territory that became an Anglo-Egyptian condominium, with Kitchener - named baron Kitchener of Kharthoum and Aspall - as Governor general. Immediately had to halt the advance of the French troops led by general Marchand who wanted to unite the colonies of East African (Somalia) with the Atlantic coast (Senegal). The meeting took place at Fashoda on September 18 and was the start of a tense waiting period, which gave the name of Fashoda incident, which involved parties (French, British and Egyptians) claimed possession of the site. The conflict ended on November 4, when Delcassé, Minister French, relented to pressure and ordered Marchand to leave Sudanese territory.

In 1899 he was replaced as Governor of Sudan by Sir Reginald Wingate, and was sent to the war of the Boers, where he acted as Commander in Chief from November 1900. From this time he fought guerrilla warfare with brutal and controversial methods, such as the burning of farms boers and confinement in concentration camps of children and women. The tactics employed by Kitchener had the desired effect and war was slowly decanted from the British side until May 31, 1902, by the Treaty of Vereenging, one of whose signatories was the own Kitchener, the boers accepted the loss of its independence and passed to become British citizens. After this triumph, Kitchener returned to England, where he was appointed Viscount in July 1902.

His next destination was in the India, the place where he served from 1902 as Commander of the British forces, with a mission to reorganize the army to avoid possible attacks external, more feared than an internal rebellion. During a first phase held a great controversy with Lord George Cuzon, Viceroy of India, on the control of the army stationed in India, dispute that ended on August 16, 1905, with the resignation of Cuzon, following the support of the British Cabinet to Kitchener. The fact of not being appointed Viceroy instead of Cuzon took place in Kitchener a great frustration, although he continued exercising his post until the year 1909. In September 1911, he accepted the position of proconsul for Egypt, which remained until the outbreak of the first world war in 1914.

Lord Kitchener with the general Joffre.

After the beginning of this conflict, Kitchener held the portfolio in the British war Ministry and was promoted to field marshal. Kitchener predicted a long war, against the opinion of the majority of the Cabinet who hoped that it would be short, in which a large number of fighters would be needed. Initially, efforts focused on recruiting the greatest possible number of volunteers and in the training of soldiers professionals who went on to form a group known as Kitchener's forces. Planned together with Winston Churchill the British attack on the Dardanelles and participated in the strategy to be followed within the so-called battle of Gallipoli, developed between the 25 April 1915 and on February 8, 1916, which marked a defeat for the British army. The failure of this offensive was the dismissal of Churchill and spread the idea of a certain military ineptitude of the Allied army. Kitchener died on June 5, 1916, when the boat that took him to Russia to fulfill a mission of his office, the Cruiser "HMS Hampshire", was sunk near the Orkney Islands by a German mine. Note that after his death, a Canadian city was renamed in 1916 as Kitchener in his honour.