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20th Century Portraits Catalogue

Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum (1850-1916), Field Marshal

Born at Gunsborough Villa, co. Kerry; educated at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich and the School of Military Engineering, Chatham until 1873; in 1874, he was seconded to the Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF) and surveyed in the country for four years; following this, he was seconded to the Foreign Office and given the responsibility of mapping Cyprus but he craved the opportunity to experience action; he was posted to Egypt in 1883 and was promoted captain; became brevet lieutenant-colonel in 1885 and returned to England; Kitchener was governor-general of the eastern Sudan and Red Sea littoral from 1886 and 1888, until he took up the post of adjutant-general of the Egyptian army; this promotion was resented by many and he was unpopular with British officers and the British community in Egypt; in 1892, he was made commander-in-chief of the Egyptian army and immediately set about reforming it; re-conquered the Sudan and achieved victory at the Battle of Omdurman in 1899; Kitchener was appointed chief of staff to Lord Roberts during the Boer War; upon his return to England in 1902, he was promoted full general and took command of the Indian army until 1909; during the First World War, he was Secretary of State for war and dramatically increased the size of the British army with programmes of recruitment, including the poser ‘Your Country Needs You’; his power was often restricted though, because he was mistrusted by Cabinet colleagues; Kitchener drowned when his cruiser HMS Hampshire struck a German mine whilst en route to Russia in 1916.