Sir Colville Wemyss
General Sir Colville Wemyss
Born(1891-04-26)26 April 1891
Died2 April 1959(1959-04-02) (aged 67)
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1910–1946
UnitRoyal Engineers
Royal Corps of Signals
Commands held5th Divisional Signals (1933–35)
Battles/warsFirst World War
Second World War
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order
Military Cross
Mentioned in Despatches
Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States)

General Sir Henry Colville Barclay Wemyss, KCB, KBE, DSO, MC (26 April 1891 – 2 April 1959) was a senior British Army officer who served as Adjutant-General to the Forces from 1940 to 1941.

Military career

Colville Wemyss (pronounced weems) was born the son of Alexander Wemyss, he was educated at Bedford School and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, he was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1910. He served in the First World War, being awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Military Cross. In 1920 he transferred to the newly formed Royal Corps of Signals. After attending the Staff College, Camberley from 1923 to 1924,[1] in 1926 he became a General Staff Officer at the War Office[2] and then in 1929 he was appointed an instructor at the School of Signals at Catterick.[2] He left the School of Signals in 1932 to become a GSO at Northern Command at York.[2]

On 1 October 1935 he was promoted colonel and appointed an Assistant Adjutant General at the War Office in London.[2] He was a student at the Imperial Defence College between 18 January 1938 on January 1939. On completing the course, he was promoted major general and appointed as the Director of Mobilisation at the War Office on 9 January 1939.[2] On 19 February 1940 he transferred to the post of Deputy Adjutant General to the Forces at the War Office.

On 10 June 1940, he replaced General Robert Gordon-Finlayson as Adjutant-General to the Forces.[2] He was promoted Acting lieutenant general on assuming the role. The increasing importance of the role of the United States in the Second World War led to United Kingdom government establishing a military mission to Washington, D.C. On 3 June 1941 Wemyss was appointed the Head of the British Army Mission to Washington.[2] In January 1942, Prime Minister Winston Churchill decided to replace Wemyss in Washington with General Sir John Dill[3] so Wemyss returned to the United Kingdom. Wemyss was appointed Military Secretary to the Secretary of State for War on 16 June 1942.[2] Wemyss was to remain in this key post for the rest of the war. He was promoted general on 15 October 1945 and retired from Army service on 23 November 1946.[2]

Wemys was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath on 11 July 1940 and advanced to Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 14 June 1945. He was also made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 1 July 1941.

In recognition of his links to the United States, on 23 July 1948, he was also awarded the Legion of Merit in the degree of commander.


  1. ^ Smart, p. 328
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Sir Colville Wemyss at
  3. ^ War Diaries 1939–1945 Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke


Military offices Preceded bySir Robert Gordon-Finlayson Adjutant General 1940–1941 Succeeded bySir Ronald Adam Preceded byArthur Floyer-Acland Military Secretary 1942–1946 Succeeded bySir Frederick Browning