General Sir Charles Warren

General Sir Charles Warren, GCMG, KCB, FRS

Feb 7, 1840 to Jan 21, 1927

General Sir Charles Warren

Charles Warren was born in Bangor, Wales, the son of Major-General Sir Charles Warren and was educated at Bridgenorth Grammar school and Wern Grammar school in Shropshire. He attended Cheltenham College for one term before enrolling in the military college at Sandhurst and then the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. On December 27, 1857, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers and worked on the survey of Gibralter from 1861 to 1865.

During this time he married Fanny Margaretta Haydon and they had two sons and two daughters.

From 1865 to 1867 Warren was an assistant instructor in surveying at the School of Military Engineering in Chatham. In 1867 Warren went to Palestine with the Palestine Exploration Fund, an organization established “for the purpose of investigating the Archaeology, Geography, manners, customs and culture, Geology and Natural History of the Holy Land. He conducted the first major excavations of Jerusalem ushering in a new age of Biblical Archaeology. Ill health forced Warren to return to England in 1870.

After serving briefly at Dover and then the School of Gunnery at Shoeburyness he was appointed by the Colonial Office in 1876 special commissioner to survey the boundary between Griqualand West and the Orange Free State in South Africa. In the Transkei War (1877-78) he commanded the Diamonds Field force and was badly wounded at Perie Bush. For this service he was promoted to Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel and then appointed special commissioner to investigate “native questions” in Bechuanaland commanding troops in the rebellion there. In 1879 he became Administrator of Griqualand West The following year Warren returned to England to become Chief Instructor in Surveying at the School of Military Engineering, this service interrupted when the Admiralty sent him to Sinai to discover what happened to Palmer’s archaeological expedition. He discovered that the expedition members had all been robbed and murdered and brought the killers to justice. For this he received numerous rewards including being elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society.

In December, 1884, Warren by now a Major-General was sent to command a force of 4000 troops to Bechuanaland to assert British sovereignty in the face of encroachments from Germany and the Transvaal. The expedition achieved its aims without bloodshed and Warren was recalled in 1885 The following year Warren was appointed Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis of London where he was probably unfairly blamed for being unable to track down Jack the Ripper whereupon he eventually returned to military duties.

In 1889 Warren was sent to Singapore to command the garrison there returning to England to command the Thames district from 1895 to 1898 with a promotion to Lieutenant-General. At the outbreak of the Boer War in 1899, he was sent to command the 5th Division of the South African Field Force. After bungled attempts to relieve Ladysmith and the British disaster at Spion Kop, Warren was recalled to England, never again to command troops in the field. He was however promoted to General in 1904 and became Colonel-Commandant of the Royal Engineers in 1905.

In 1908 Warren became involved with Baden-Powell in the creation of the Boy Scout movement. He died of pneumonia in 1927 at his home in Weston-super-Mare in Somerset and was given a military funeral at Canterbury.

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