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20th Century Portraits Catalogue

Julian Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy (1862-1935), Field Marshal

Born in Barnet, Hertfordshire and educated at Eton College; entered the army at seventeen through the 2nd Middlesex militia and became an excellent horseman; Byng was gazetted into the 10th Royal Hussars in 1883, the Prince of Wales’ own regiment, as a result of the Prince’s relationship with Byng’s father; he first experienced action in 1884 as his regiment attempted to suppress a rebellion in eastern Sudan; in 1886 he became adjutant of the regiment, serving for four years; in 1894 he graduated from the Staff College, Camberley and was major of his regiment by 1898; he commanded a new regiment in the second Boer War and became colonel in 1902; he served with distinction during World War I with the British Expeditionary Force in France, in the Battle of Gallipoli, as Commander of the Canadian Corps, and as Commander of the British Third Army; from 1921-1926 he was governor-general of Canada; in 1928 Byng became chief commissioner of the Metropolitan Police; he was awarded a field marshal’s baton in 1932 and died suddenly in June 1935 of an inoperable abdominal blockage.