32 Facts About Archibald Wavell


Archibald Wavell served in the Second Boer War, the Bazar Valley Campaign and the First World War, during which he was wounded in the Second Battle of Ypres.

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Archibald Wavell served as Commander-in-Chief, India, from July 1941 until June 1943 and then served as Viceroy of India until his retirement in February 1947.

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Archibald Wavell was one of only two in his class to graduate with an A grade.

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Archibald Wavell was working at the War Office during the Curragh incident.

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Archibald Wavell was working as a staff officer when the First World War began.

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Archibald Wavell was wounded in the Second Battle of Ypres of 1915, losing his left eye and winning the Military Cross.

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Archibald Wavell was promoted to the substantive rank of major on 8 May 1916.

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In October 1916 Archibald Wavell was graded General Staff Officer Grade 1 as an acting lieutenant-colonel, and was then assigned as a liaison officer to the Russian Army in the Caucasus.

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In March 1918 Archibald Wavell was made a temporary brigadier general and returned to Palestine where he served as the brigadier general of the General Staff with XX Corps, part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force.

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Archibald Wavell was given a number of assignments between the wars, though like many officers he had to accept a reduction in rank.

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Apart from a short period unemployed on half pay in 1926, Archibald Wavell continued to hold GSO1 appointments, latterly in the 3rd Infantry Division, until July 1930 when he was granted the rank of temporary brigadier and was given command of 6th Infantry Brigade.

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The Italian forces in North and East Africa greatly outnumbered the British and Archibald Wavell's policy was therefore one of "flexible containment" to buy time to build up adequate forces to take the offensive.

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Archibald Wavell disagreed with this decision but followed his orders.

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Archibald Wavell, hard pressed on his other fronts, was unwilling to divert precious resources to Iraq and so it fell to Claude Auchinleck's India Command to send troops to Basra.

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Archibald Wavell had the misfortune of being placed in charge of an undermanned theatre which became a war zone when the Japanese declared war on the United Kingdom in December 1941.

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Late at night on 10 February 1942, Archibald Wavell prepared to board a flying boat, to fly from Singapore to Java.

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Archibald Wavell stepped out of a staff car, not noticing that it was parked at the edge of a pier.

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Archibald Wavell broke two bones in his back when he fell, and this injury affected his temperament for some time.

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Archibald Wavell returned to India to resume his position as C-in-C India where his responsibilities now included the defence of Burma.

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Archibald Wavell relieved the Eastern Army commander, Noel Irwin, of his command and replaced him with George Giffard.

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In January 1943, Archibald Wavell was promoted to field marshal and on 22 April he returned to London.

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Archibald Wavell attempted with mixed success to increase the supplies of rice to reduce the prices.

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Archibald Wavell attempted to move the debate along, with the Wavell Plan and the Simla Conference, but received little support from Churchill, nor from Clement Attlee, Churchill's successor as prime minister.

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Archibald Wavell was hampered by the differences between the various Indian political factions.

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In 1947 Archibald Wavell returned to England and was made High Steward of Colchester.

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Archibald Wavell was a great lover of literature, and while Viceroy of India he compiled and annotated an anthology of great poetry, Other Men's Flowers, which was published in 1944.

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Archibald Wavell had a great memory for poetry and often quoted it at length.

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Archibald Wavell is depicted in Evelyn Waugh's novel Officers and Gentlemen, part of the Sword of Honour trilogy, reciting a translation of Callimachus' poetry in public.

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Archibald Wavell was a member of the Church of England and a deeply religious man.

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Archibald Wavell died on 24 May 1950 after a relapse following abdominal surgery on 5 May After his death, his body lay in state at the Tower of London where he had been Constable.

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Archibald Wavell is buried in the old mediaeval cloister at Winchester College, next to the Chantry Chapel.

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Archibald Wavell survived him and died, as Dowager Countess Wavell, on 11 October 1987, aged 100 years.

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