Allenby, a Study in Greatness: The Biography of Field-Marshal Viscount Allenby of Megiddo and Felixstowe, G.C.B., G.C.M.G

By Archibald Wavell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
PREPARATION FOR ARMAGEDDON (1902-14)

I
COMMAND OF THE 5TH LANCERS (August 1902-October 1905)

Allenby Was quartered in England during the whole twelve years between the South African War and the Great War. He never soldiered in India. These were quiet, peaceful years, but years of hard work and thought for soldiers who had the efficiency of the Army at heart. The South African conflict had revealed our complete lack of organization for any war larger than an expedition against a savage tribe, and had shown how far behind the times was much of our equipment and training. Allenby, as regimental and brigade commander, and later as Inspector-General, had a large part in the reorganization and training of the cavalry arm, a greater share in which, however (as in all our preparations up to 1914), must be credited to his single-minded fellow-student at the Staff College, Douglas Haig.1

Allenby took over command of the 5th Lancers at Colchester, to which station they had proceeded on their return from South Africa. He quickly proved that he could train a regiment in barracks and on the manœuvre ground as ably as he could lead one in the field: the two faculties by no means always go together. The root of Allenby's method in peace

____________________
1
Haig after the South African War took over the command of his regiment, the 17th Lancers, but in 1903 Kitchener, now Commander-in-Chief in India, asked for him as Inspector-General of Cavalry. He accordingly went to India, and was promoted Major-General in 1904, five years before Allenby, though both had received BrevetColonelcies in the same Gazette at the end of the South African War. In 1906 he returned to the War Office, as Director of Staff Duties, to assist Haldane in his reorganization of the Army.

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