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20th Century Portraits Catalogue

William Riddell Birdwood, 1st Baron Birdwood (1865-1951), Field Marshal

Born in India but educated at Clifton College, Bristol and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst; first saw active service in the Black Mountain expedition in 1891; advanced to captain in 1896; travelled to South Africa as a special service officer in 1899; became major-general in 1911; in 1912 he became secretary to the government of India in the army department and a member of the governor-general’s legislative council; commanded the Australian and New Zealand forces (Anzacs) landing of Gallipoli; promoted general in 1917 and toured Australia in 1920 to great acclaim; after the First World War he commanded the northern army in India and was promoted field marshal in 1925; retired in 1930; elected to the mastership of Peterhouse, Cambridge until 1938; died in his apartments at Hampton Court Palace in May 1951.