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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0099 KCLMA Townshend
TOWNSHEND, Maj Gen Sir Charles Vere Ferrers (1861- 1924)
Created 1899-1937, 1964-1966
Level of description
collection level
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
2 boxes or 0.02 cubic metres


Administrative / Biographical history

Born 1861; educated at Cranleigh School, Kent and Royal Military College, Sandhurst; commissioned into the Royal Marine Light Infantry, 1881; Sudan Expedition, 1884-1886; transferred to Indian Army, 1886; Hunza Naga Expedition, India, 1891-1892; Capt, 1892; garrison commander during siege of Chitral Fort, North West Frontier, India, 1895; Maj, 1895; awarded CB, 1895; transferred to Egyptian Army, 1896; Lt Col, 1896; Dongola Expedition, Sudan, 1896; Commanding Officer, 12 Sudanese Bn, Egypt, 1896-1898; Nile Expedition, Sudan, 1898; Battles of Atbara and Khartoum, Sudan, 1898; awarded DSO, 1898; Second Boer War, South Africa, 1899-1902; Assistant Adjutant General on staff of Military Governor, Orange Free State, South Africa, 1900; transferred to Royal Fusiliers, 1900; Col, 1904; Military Attaché, Paris, France, 1905; transferred to King's Shropshire Light Infantry, 1906; Assistant Adjutant General, 9 Div, India, 1907-1908; command of Orange River Colony District, South Africa, 1908-1911; Brig Gen, 1909; Maj Gen, 1911; General Officer Commanding East Anglian Div, Territorial Force, 1911-1913; command of Jhanzi Bde, India, 1913; Rawal Pindi Bde, India, 1913-1915; served World War One, 1914-1918; General Officer Commanding 6 Indian Div, Mesopotamia, 1915-1916; commanded 6 Indian Div at Battles of Kurna, Kut el Amara, Ctesiphon and the defence and siege of Kut el Amara, 1915-1916; POW, 1916-1918; created KCB, 1917; resigned, 1920; Independent Conservative MP for the Wrekin, Shropshire, 1920-1922; died 1924. Publications: The military life of Field Marshal George, first Marquess Townshend, 1724-1807 (John Murray, London, 1901); My Campaign in Mesopotamia (Thornton Butterworth, London, 1920).

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The military life of Field Marshal George, first Marquess Townshend, 1724-1807 (John Murray, London, 1901); My Campaign in Mesopotamia (Thornton Butterworth, London, 1920).

Placed in the Centre in 1979 by Lt Col Arthur James Barker.

Content & structure

Scope and content

Papers, 1899-1937, and 1964-1966, including personal letters to Alice Townshend, Lady Townshend, and to Comtesse Cahen d'Anvers from FM Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and Broome, 1906-1911, also single personal letters from Frederick Edward Grey Ponsonby, Assistant Private Secretary to Queen Victoria, 1899, FM Garnet Joseph Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley, 1901, Brig Gen Sir William Riddell Birdwood, Bt, 1906, Christian Rudolf de Wet, Minister of Agriculture, Orange River Colony, South Africa, 1909, FM Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts of Kandahar, Pretoria and Waterford, 1911-1912, Rt Hon George Nathanial Curzon, Lord Privy Seal, 1915, Rt Hon Herbert Henry Asquith, Prime Minister, 1916, Paul Cambon, French Ambassador to Court of St James's, 1916, Lt Gen Sir Philip Walhouse Chetwode, 7th Bt, Military Secretary, War Office, 1919, and others; letter from Alice Townshend, Lady Townshend, dated 1916, to Mrs Morland, mother of Capt Walter Edward Thomson Morland, Aide de Camp to Townshend and captured with him at Kut el Amara, Mesopotamia, with information on the safety of her son, with three photographs of Townshend and the POW accomodation in Constantinople, 1916; scrapbook of newspaper cuttings, 1916, on the Mesopotamian campaign and the defence and siege of Kut el Amara, with signed printed portrait of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, 1937; file of research correspondence by Lt Col Arthur James Barker for The neglected war (Faber, London, 1967) and Townshend of Kut (Cassell, London, 1967), 1964-1966, including correspondence with Capt Sir (Thomas) Noël Arkell, FM Sir Claude John Eyre Auchinleck, Maj Gen George Osborne de Renzy Channer, Sir Reader (William) Bullard, Brig Kenneth Bredin Shakespear Crawford, Sir Ernest (William) Goodale, Capt Basil Henry Liddell Hart, Maj Gen Henry Hampden Rich, Col Clive Woodes Rogers, Col Eric Lechmere Stephenson, Countess Audrey de Borchgrave-Townshend, Brig Louis James Woodhouse.

System of arrangement

2 files, 1 volume

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, attention of the Director of Archive Services.

Language/scripts of material
Finding aids

This Summary Guide

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals
King's College London College Archives
Related units of description

Cambridge University Library: the papers of Charles Hardinge, 1st Baron Hardinge of Penshurst, include correspondence with Townshend, 1915-1916 (ref: Hardinge); Centre for Kentish Studies: one volume of Townshend's communiques as General Officer Commanding 6 Indian Div, Mesopotamia, 1914-1915 (ref: BZ/ZTO); National Army Museum: papers comprising dispatches from Kut el Amara, 1915-1916 (ref: 6012-299), notebook and copies of communiques to his troops, 1916 (ref: 6012-399), order of the day for 4 Dec 1915, the day following Townshend's retreat to Kut el Amara (ref: 6012-288), Townshend's letter of surrender, 29 Apr 1916 (ref: 8008-47), casualty list and press cuttings relating to the siege of Kut el Amara (ref: 6009-17); British Library: Townshend papers (ref: Add MSS 63082, 63102); Liddle Collection, University of Leeds: collection of press cuttings.

Publication note

Papers relating to Major General C V F Townshend's appreciation of the position after the Battle of Kut-el-Amara, etc (Parliamentary Papers. House of Commons. Session 1916, vol 21, London, 1916); Townshend of Chitral and Kut by Erroll Sherson (Heinemann, London, 1928); Townshend of Kut. A biography of Major General Sir Charles Townshend, KCB, DSO by Arthur James Barker (Cassell, London, 1967).



Decorations: KCB, DSO

Description control

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

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  • Armed forces
  • International conflicts
  • International relations
  • Military engineering
  • Military operations
  • Military organizations
  • Organizations
  • State security
  • War
  • War prisoners
  • War victims
  • Warfare
  • Wars (events)
  • World War One (1914-1918)
  • World wars (events)

Personal names

  • Arkell, Thomas Noel, 1893-1981, Captain, brewer
  • Asquith, Herbert Henry, 1852-1928, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, statesman
  • Ataturk, Mustafa Kemal, 1881-1938, President of Turkey
  • Auchinleck, Sir, Claude John Eyre, 1884-1981, Knight, Field Marshal
  • Barker, Arthur James, 1918-1981, Lieutenant Colonel and author
  • Birdwood, William Riddell, 1865-1951, 1st Baron Birdwood of Anzac and Totnes, Field Marshal
  • Bullard, Sir, Reader William, 1885-1976, Knight, British Ambassador to Iran
  • Cambon, Paul, 1843-1924, French Ambassador to Great Britain
  • Channer, George Osborne de Renzy, 1890-1969, Major General
  • Chetwode, Philip Walhouse, 1869-1950, 1st Baron Chetwode of Chetwode, Field Marshal
  • Crawford, Kenneth Bredin Shakespear, fl 1964-1966, Brigadier
  • Curzon, George Nathaniel, 1859-1925, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston
  • Goodale, Sir, Ernest William, 1896-1984, Knight, textile manufacturer and civil servant
  • Kitchener, Horatio Herbert, 1850-1916, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and Broome, Field Marshal
  • Liddell Hart, Sir, Basil Henry, 1895-1970, Knight, Captain, military historian
  • Morland, Walter Edward Thomson, fl 1916, Captain
  • Ponsonby, Frederick Edward Grey, 1867-1935, Assistant Private Secretary to Queen Victoria
  • Rich, Henry Hampden, 1891-1976, Major General
  • Roberts, Frederick Sleigh, 1832-1914, 1st Earl Roberts of Kandahar, Pretoria and Waterford, Field Marshal
  • Rogers, Clive Woodes, fl 1964-1966, Colonel
  • Stephenson, Eric Lechmere, 1892-1978, Colonel
  • Townshend, Alice, fl 1898-1916, wife of Sir Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend
  • Townshend, Audrey, de Borchgrave-, fl 1964-1966, Countess
  • Victoria, 1819-1901, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland
  • Wet, Christian Rudolf, De, 1854-1922, South African General and politician
  • Wolseley, Garnet Joseph, 1833-1913, Field Marshal, 1st Viscount Wolseley
  • Woodhouse, Louis James, fl 1964-1966, Brigadier
  • d'Anvers, Cahen, fl 1906-1911, Comtesse Cahen d'Anvers

Corporate names

  • British Army


  • Constantinople
  • Kut el Amara, Iraq, Middle East
  • London, England
  • Mesopotamia, Middle East
  • Turkey, Middle East

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