Non-Australian ex-military Birdwood connections

02 April 2015 by Charis May

The writers in this Birdwood blog have retired from military service after serving in pre-First World War conflicts. If you have any further information about these people, or their descendants, the Memorial would love to talk to you. Please contact Charis May via

Other blogs relating to Birdwood correspondence can be found here : Australian military Birdwood connections, Unidentified Birdwood connections, Australian Birdwood connections, Non-Australian civilian Birdwood connections and Non-Australian military Birdwood connections


Sir Neville Francis Fitzgerald Chamberlain KCB KCVO KPM

Sir Neville Chamberlain (1856-1944) served as an officer in a number of pre-First World War conflicts from 1878 to 1900.  In 1900 he was appointed Inspector General of the Royal Irish Constabulary.  The letter, written from Dublin in February 1916, indicates a strong friendship with Birdwood.  Sir Neville is credited for inventing the game of snooker while serving in India in 1875. He was married to Mary Henrietta Hay and their daughter Nora Mary, married Clive Wigram, 1st Baron Wigram.

Lieutenant General Sir John Spencer Ewart KCB

Sir John Ewart (1961-1930) served with the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders in pre-First World War conflicts such as Egypt in 1882 and the Second Boer War. From 1910 to 1914, he was an Aide-de-Camp to King George V before retiring from the military and taking up the position of General Officer Commanding Scottish Command from 1914-1918. His only child Marion Francis married Alastair Seymour Hale Monro in 1919. Marion and Alastair had two children, Jean Marion Pamela and Hector Seymour Peter Monro, Baron Monro of Langholm.

Maurice Pascal Alers Hankey, 1st Baron Hankey KCB GCB GCMG GCVO PC FRS

Baron Hankey (1877-1963) served in the Royal Marine Artillery from 1895 to 1901 before moving to the Naval Intelligence Department.  He then entered politics and was the first holder of the Office of Secretary to the British Cabinet. In 1916 he was Secretary of the War Cabinet, then Secretary of the Imperial War Cabinet 1917 to 1918.  With his wife Adeline, he had three children: Ursula; Christopher and Henry.

Edward George Villiers Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby KG GCVO TK PC KGStJ JP

Lord Derby (1865-1948) was a British soldier, politician, diplomat and racehorse owner.  Even though he had entered parliament in 1892, he fought in the Second Boer War and was later appointed the private secretary to the Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in South Africa. When war broke out, he organised one of the most successful recruitment campaigns by recruiting 1500 men from Liverpool in just over two days. In October 1915 he was made Director General of Recruiting before returning to parliament in June 1916 as Under-Secretary of State for War, then Secretary of State for War in the December. After the Armistice, he was made Ambassador to France till 1920.  Lord Derby was married to Lady Alice Maude Olivia Montagu with whom he had three children. Their two sons Edward and Oliver both entered politics, while their daughter, Victoria married the Liberal politician Neil James.

John Charles Tarver

John Tarver wrote to Birdwood from his home at Brookside, Woburn Sands in March 1916.  He was a schoolmaster before enlisting in the army to serve in the Egypt War of 1882 and then in South Africa 1899-1902 (service number 6430).  He was born in 1855 to Joseph and Isabella along with numerous brothers and sisters.  He does not appear to have married as later census records show him living with his sister Helen at age 36.  In 1919 he was the chairman of the Woburn Sands Parish Council and passed away November 1926 leaving his money to his brother Matthew Arthur Joseph Tarver, a schoolmaster and author of a book on Trent College.

General Sir Josceline Heneage Wodehouse GCB CMG

Sir Josceline Wodehouse (1852-1930) was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1873, then went on to serve in the Anglo-Zulu  of 1879, the Frontier Field Force in Egypt, commanded the 3rd Brigade of the Malakand Field Force in 1897, and was appointed to General Officer Commanding the Presidency District of Bengal in 1898. He was later made the Governor of Bermuda in 1907 and General Officer Commanding the Northern Army in India in 1908. He firstly married Constance d’ Aquilar in 1885, then after her death, married Mary Joyce Wilmot-Sitwell with whom he one son, Armine George who did not appear to marry.

Admiral Sir Henry Felix Woods KCVO

Sir Henry Woods (1943-1929), otherwise known as Woods Pasha was a British-Ottoman admiral and a pasha in the Imperial Ottoman Naval Service. He married a lady from the Whittall family, and they had four children: Frederick, who died unmarried; Harold, (later Colonel Harold Woods OBE), a commercial secretary to HM Embassy Constantinople; Lucy who married Albertus Hotz; and Adeline (or Adela) Percy who married George Sherwin Hooke Pearson, the owner from Baynton House in Coulston, Whiltshire.  The letter to Birdwood was sent from Baynton House in May 1916 while Sir Henry was visiting his daughter.