13 Facts About War Office


War Office was a department of the British Government responsible for the administration of the British Army between 1857 and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the new Ministry of Defence .

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The name 'War Office' is given to the former home of the department, located at the junction of Horse Guards Avenue and Whitehall in central London.

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War Office developed from the Council of War, an ad hoc grouping of the King and his senior military commanders which managed the Kingdom of England's wars and campaigns.

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The management of the War Office was directed initially by the Secretary at War, whose role had originated during the reign of King Charles II as the secretary to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army.

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Department of the Secretary at War was referred to as the 'Warr Office' from as early as 1694; its foundation has traditionally been ascribed to William Blathwayt, who had accompanied King William III during the Nine Years' War and who, from his appointment as Secretary in 1684, had greatly expanded the remit of his office to cover general day-to-day administration of the Army.

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The disastrous campaigns of the Crimean War Office resulted in the consolidation of all administrative duties in 1855 as subordinate to the Secretary of State for War Office, a Cabinet job.

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War Office was not solely responsible for the Army; the Commander-in-Chief had a virtually equal degree of responsibility.

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Management of the War Office was hampered by persistent disputes between the civilian and military parts of the organisation.

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War Office decreased greatly in importance after the First World War, a fact illustrated by the drastic reductions of its staff numbers during the inter-war period.

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War Office's department had had several London homes, until it settled at Horse Guards in Whitehall during 1722, where it was to remain until 1858.

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Between 1906 and its abolition in 1964, the War Office was based in a large neo-Baroque building, designed by William Young and completed during 1906, located on Horse Guards Avenue at its junction with Whitehall in central London.

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The construction of the War Office building required five years to complete, at the cost of more than £1.

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On 13 December 2014, the Ministry of Defence confirmed that the War Office building would be sold to the Hinduja Group for an undisclosed amount.

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