(Last Updated on : 18-07-2012)
Field Marshal Archibald Percival Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell GCB, GCSI, GCIE, CMG, MC, PC was the penultimate Viceroy of India from the period 1943 to 1947. He was a British Field Marshal and the Commander of British Army Forces in the Middle East during World War II. Wavell also led the British forces to triumph over the Italians, but was overpowered by the German army.
Early Life of Archibald Wavell
Archibald Percival Wavell was born on 5th May 1883 in Colchester in Essex, England but was raised in India. Archibald Graham Wavell, his father was a Major General in the British Army. He initially studied at the preliminary boarding school Summer Fields. He also studied at Oxford, Winchester College, where he received a scholarship. He later joined the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS), usually known as Sandhurst, which was the British Army officer initial training centre.
Military Career of Archibald Wavell
Archibald Wavell was commissioned into the Black Watch on 8 May 1901 after he graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He participated in the Second Boer War. In the year 1903, he was relocated to India and fought in the Bazar Valley Campaign of February 1908. In August 1904 Wavell was promoted to the position of Lieutenant. He was seconded from his regiment to be a student at the Staff College in January 1909. Wavell also functioned as a military observer with the Russian Army in the year 1911. In April 1912 Archibald Percival Wavell became a Staff Officer Grade 3 (GSO3) in the War Office and in July, he was granted the temporary rank of captain and became GSO3 at the Directorate of Military Training. He was promoted to the position of Captain in March 1913.
During World War I, he was sent as a Captain to France to a posting at GHQ as General Staff Officer Grade 2 (GSO2). Later in November 1914, Archibald Wavell was appointed as Brigade Major of 9th Infantry Brigade. He got injured in the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915 and lost his left eye. He was rewarded with the Military Cross. Wavell was provided several assignments between the wars, although like other officers he also accepted a temporary reduction in rank.
During World War II, Archibald Percival Wavell mounted successful offensives into Libya in December 1940 and Ethiopia and Eritrea in January 1941. But later in February, he was ordered to stop the progress of his advance into Libya and send troops to Greece where the Italian and German forces were attacking. But the result of this was a catastrophic. Later he replaced Auchinleck and was transferred India, where he was appointed as the Commander-in-Chief, India and a member of the Executive Council of the Governor General. At first Wavell's command covered the countries of India and Iraq.
Archibald Wavell as Viceroy of India
Archibald Wavell was promoted to Field Marshal in January 1943. After the retirement of the Marquess of Linlithgow as the Viceroy in the year 1943, Wavell was selected to replace him. In June, he was replaced in his military post by Auchinleck, who had also experienced several hindrances in North Africa by this time. In the year 1943, Field Marshal Wavell was created a viscount and took the style Viscount Wavell of Cyrenaica and of Winchester, in the county of Southampton. He was officially appointed as the Governor General and Viceroy of India in September. Wavell was also appointed as a Privy Counsellor. His initial task in office was to address the Bengal famine of 1943
by employing the British Indian army
to distribute relief supplies to the starving rural people of Bengal. He also tried to raise the supplies of rice to reduce the prices in order to make it affordable, with mixed success.
Even though he was popular with Indian politicians
initially, tension mounted regarding the structure and timing of an independent nation. He attempted to move the debate but did not receive any support from Sir Winston Churchill or from his successor Clement Attlee. Field Marshal Archibald Percival Wavell also hindered by the disparity between the various Indian political groups and parties. At the culmination of the war, rising expectations of the Indians continued to be disappointed and inter-communal violence started to increase. Eventually Wavell was replaced by Lord Mountbatten
of Burma in the year 1947, as Attlee lost confidence in him.
Later Life of Archibald Wavell
After Field Marshal Archibald Percival Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell GCB, GCSI, GCIE, CMG, MC, PC returned to England in the year 1947. There he became the High Steward of Colchester. He was also appointed as the Earl Wavell in 1947 and was granted the additional title of Viscount Keren of Eritrea and Winchester. Archibald Wavell was a member of the Church of England and was a religious man.
Personal Life of Archibald Wavell
On 22 April 1915, Field Marshal Archibald Percival Wavell was married to Eugenie Marie Quirk, who was the daughter of Colonel J O Quirk CB DSO. The couple had 4 children, namely Archibald John Arthur Wavell (2nd Earl Wavell), Eugenie Pamela Wavell, Felicity Ann Wavell and Joan Patricia Quirk Wavell.
Wavell died as a result of a relapse following abdominal surgery on 24 May 1950. He was buried in at the Tower of London where he had been Constable.
Titles and Styles of Archibald Wavell
Field Marshal Archibald Percival Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell GCB, GCSI, GCIE, CMG, MC, PC held several titles and styles through his career. These are mentioned below-
* Archibald Percival Wavell (1883- 1901)
* Second Lieutenant Archibald Percival Wavell (1901- 1904)
* Lieutenant Archibald Percival Wavell (1904- 1912)
* Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) Archibald Percival Wavell (July 1912- 1913)
* Captain Archibald Percival Wavell (1913- 1915)
* Major Archibald Percival Wavell, MC (1915- 1916)
* Major (Actg. Lieutenant Colonel) Archibald Percival Wavell, MC (1916- 1917)
* Major (Bvt. Lieutenant Colonel) Archibald Percival Wavell, MC (1917- 1918)
* Major (Bvt. Brigadier General) Archibald Percival Wavell, MC (1918- 1919)
* Major (Bvt. Brigadier General) Archibald Percival Wavell, CMG, MC (1919- 1920)
* Major (Bvt. Lieutenant Colonel) Archibald Percival Wavell, CMG, MC (1920- 1922)
* Colonel Archibald Percival Wavell, CMG, MC (1922- 1930)
* Colonel (Temporary Brigadier) Archibald Percival Wavell, CMG, MC (1930- 1932)
* Colonel (Temporary Brigadier) Archibald Percival Wavell, CMG, MC, ADC (1932- 1933)
* Major General Archibald Percival Wavell, CMG, MC (1933- 1935)
* Major General Archibald Percival Wavell, CB, CMG, MC (1935- 1938)
* Lieutenant General Archibald Percival Wavell, CB, CMG, MC (1938- 1939)
* Lieutenant General Sir Archibald Percival Wavell, KCB, CMG, MC (January 1939- July 1939)
* Lieutenant General (Local General) Sir Archibald Percival Wavell, KCB, CMG, MC (1939- 1941)
* His Excellency General Sir Archibald Percival Wavell, GCB, CMG, MC (1941 - January 1943)
* His Excellency Field Marshal Sir Archibald Percival Wavell, GCB, CMG, MC (January 1943- July 1943)
* His Excellency Field Marshal The Right Honourable the Viscount Wavell, GCB, CMG, MC (July 1943- September 1943)
* His Excellency Field Marshal The Right Honourable the Viscount Wavell, GCB, GCSI, GCIE, CMG, MC (1943- 1947)
* Field Marshal The Right Honourable the Earl Wavell, GCB, GCSI, GCIE, CMG, MC (1947- 1950)
Honours and Awards of Archibald Wavell
Field Marshal Archibald Percival Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell GCB, GCSI, GCIE, CMG, MC, PC was honoured numerous times for his valiant services, which are discussed as follows-
* Privy Counsellor (1943)
* Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath 4 March 1941 (KCB 2 January 1939, CB 1 January 1935)
* Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India (1943)
* Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (1943)
* Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (1 January 1919)
* Military Cross (3 June 1915)
* Mention in Despatches (22 June 1915, 4 January 1917, 22 January 1919)
* Chief Commander, Legion of Merit- United States (23 July 1948)
* Grand Cross, Order of George I with Swords- Greece (9 May 1941)
* Order of the Cloud and Banner- China
* Order of the Star of Nepal
* Grand Cross, Order of Orange Nassau- Netherlands (15 January 1943)
* War Cross 1939- 1945- Czechoslovakia (23 July 1943)
* Commander, Order of the Seal of Solomon- Ethiopia (5 May 1942)
* War Cross, 1st Class- Greece (10 April 1942)
* Virtuti Militari, 5th Class- Poland (23 September 1941)
* Order of El Nahda, 2nd Class- Hejaz (30 September 1920)
* Order of the Nile, 3rd Class- Egypt
* Commandeur, L,gion d'honneur- France (7 May 1920)
* Order of St Stanislaus, 3rd class with Swords- Russia (15 February 1917)
* Order of St Vladimir- Russia (1917)
* Queen's South African Medal, Clasps: Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa (1901), South Africa (1902)
* NW Frontier of India 1908 Medal and Clasp
* 1914 Star
* British War Medal
* Victory Medal
* Palestine 1936- 1939 Medal and Clasp