The Lord Chetwode
A 1919 portrait of Sir Philip Chetwode by John St Helier Lander.
Born21 September 1869
Westminster, England
Died6 July 1950(1950-07-06) (aged 80)
Marylebone, England
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1889–1935
RankField Marshal
UnitOxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
19th Royal Hussars
Commands held19th Royal Hussars
London Mounted Brigade
5th Cavalry Brigade
2nd Cavalry Division
Desert Column
XX Corps
Aldershot Command
Commander-in-Chief, India
Battles/warsSecond Boer War

World War I

AwardsKnight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Member of the Order of Merit
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of India
Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order
Other workConstable of the Tower
President of the Royal Geographical Society

Field Marshal Philip Walhouse Chetwode, 1st Baron Chetwode, 7th Baronet of Oakley, GCB, OM, GCSI, KCMG, DSO (21 September 1869 – 6 July 1950), was a senior British Army officer. He saw action during the Second Boer War, during which he was present at the Siege of Ladysmith in December 1899. He saw action again during World War I on the Western Front, taking part in the First Battle of Ypres, and then in the Sinai and Palestine campaign during which he led his corps at the First Battle of Gaza in March 1917, at the Battle of Beersheba in October 1917 and the Battle of Jerusalem in November 1917.

After the War he held a series of senior military appointments including Adjutant-General to the Forces and then Commander in Chief Aldershot Command. He went on to be Chief of the General Staff in India in 1928 and Commander in Chief in India in 1930 and was much concerned with the modernisation and "Indianisation" of the army in India.

Early life and education

Born the son of Sir George Chetwode, 6th Baronet and Alice Jane Bass (daughter of Michael Thomas Bass the brewer), Chetwode was educated at Eton, where he was an athlete of some distinction, and entered the army through the Militia with his first commission being in the 3rd battalion the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on 11 April 1888.[1] He then received a regular commission with the 19th Hussars on 20 November 1889.[2]

War service

Chetwode (foreground) at El Arish, Egypt, January 1917
Chetwode (foreground) at El Arish, Egypt, January 1917

Promoted to lieutenant on 6 August 1890,[3] Chetwode first saw active service in the Chin Hills expedition in Burma from 1892 to 1893[2] and was promoted to captain on 7 February 1897.[4] He served in the Second Boer War where he took part in the actions at Reitfontein in October 1899, Ladysmith in December 1899, Laing's Nek in June 1900 and Belfast in August 1900: he was twice mentioned in despatches and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.[5] Promoted to major on 21 December 1901,[6] he stayed in South Africa until the end of hostilities. The war ended with the Peace of Vereeniging in late May 1902, and the following month Chetwode returned home in the SS Tagus, arriving at Southampton in July.[7] He succeeded as 7th Baronet in 1905.[2]

Philip Chetwode c. 1930s
Philip Chetwode c. 1930s

In 1906, Chetwode became assistant military secretary to Sir John French and on 3 January 1908 he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel[8] on appointment as commanding officer of the 19th Hussars.[2] Having been placed on half-pay list from 3 January 1912,[9] he was promoted to colonel on 1 April 1912[10] and appointed Commander of the London Mounted Brigade.[2]

During the Curragh incident in March 1914 Chetwode was offered command of the 3rd Cavalry Brigade when Hubert Gough threatened to resign.[2] He knew that he would be "looked upon by all his brother officers as a scab” but thought it "his duty as a soldier to do as he was ordered & not to meddle in politics".[11] In the event Gough kept his command and Chetwode remained with the London Mounted Brigade, but his willingness to replace Gough caused some ill feeling.[2] Promoted to temporary brigadier-general on 15 May 1914,[12] he was given command of the 5th Cavalry Brigade in August 1914.[2]

In World War I, Chetwode served on the Western Front: his brigade helped cover the retreat from the frontier, and checked the pursuing Germans at Cerizy on 29 August 1914.[2] After taking part in the First Battle of Ypres in October 1914, he was appointed General Officer Commanding 2nd Cavalry Division with promotion to temporary major-general on 15 July 1915[13] and to substantive major-general on 1 January 1916.[14] With the war in Europe become bogged down in trench warfare, Chetwode was lucky to be transferred to the Palestine where he was given command of the Desert Column and promoted to temporary lieutenant general with effect from 22 November 1916.[15] He led the corps at Rafa in January 1917 and at the First Battle of Gaza in March 1917.[16] When Edmund Allenby took command of the Allied forces in Palestine in June 1917, Chetwode was promoted to command of XX Corps.[16] He led his corps to military success at the Battle of Beersheba in October 1917 and at the Battle of Jerusalem in November 1917.[17] During the Sinai and Palestine campaign he was mentioned in despatches eight times.[16]

Service in India and after

After the war, and following promotion to the substantive rank of lieutenant-general on 1 January 1919,[18] Chetwode was appointed to a number of senior military appointments serving as Military Secretary from 1919, Deputy Chief of the Imperial General Staff from October 1920, Adjutant-General to the Forces from September 1922 and Commander in Chief Aldershot Command from early 1923.[16] He was promoted to full general on 1 June 1926.[19]

Chetwode became Chief of the General Staff in India in 1928 and Commander-in-Chief, India, in November 1930.[16] He was promoted to field marshal on 13 February 1933.[20] In his tenure as Commander-in-Chief, India, Chetwode was an opponent of replacing horses with tanks; he "made the surprising pronouncement that the Army in India would be unlikely to adopt tanks for a very long time, and then only to keep up the momentum of horsed cavalry."[21] He was much concerned with the modernisation and "Indianisation" of the army in India. The main building and its central hall at the Indian Military Academy is named after him. The credo of the Academy, engraved on the entrance to the central hall, is a passage from his address delivered at the formal inauguration of the Academy in 1932:

The safety, honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time.

The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next.

Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time.

This is known as the "Chetwode Motto" and is the motto of the officers passing out from the Academy.[22]

Chetwode returned from India in May 1934.[23] He was Constable of the Tower from 1943 to 1948 and also President of the Royal Geographical Society as well as the recipient of an Honorary DCL from Oxford University.[24] He had been appointed a deputy lieutenant of Buckinghamshire on 6 March 1919.[25] He was created Baron Chetwode, of Chetwode in the County of Buckingham, on 10 July 1945[26][27] and died in London on 6 June 1950.[23]


Chetwode married Hester (Star) Alice Camilla Stapleton Cotton and had a son Roger and a daughter Penelope.[23]

Chetwode's sister Florence was married to General Noel Birch.

Honours and awards




  1. ^ "No. 25808". The London Gazette. 17 April 1888. p. 2200.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Heathcote, p. 87
  3. ^ "No. 26076". The London Gazette. 5 August 1890. p. 4283.
  4. ^ "No. 26826". The London Gazette. 23 February 1897. p. 1097.
  5. ^ a b "No. 27359". The London Gazette. 27 September 1901. p. 6305.
  6. ^ "No. 27397". The London Gazette. 14 January 1902. p. 295.
  7. ^ "The Army in South Africa - Troops returning Home". The Times (36812). London. 5 July 1902. p. 8.
  8. ^ "No. 28111". The London Gazette. 21 February 1908. p. 1206.
  9. ^ "No. 28569". The London Gazette. 5 January 1912. p. 130.
  10. ^ "No. 28604". The London Gazette. 3 May 1912. p. 3181.
  11. ^ Jeffery 2006, p121, 124
  12. ^ "No. 28832". The London Gazette. 19 May 1914. p. 4006.
  13. ^ "No. 29267". The London Gazette (Supplement). 18 August 1915. p. 8247.
  14. ^ "No. 12894". The Edinburgh Gazette. 17 January 1916. p. 86.
  15. ^ "No. 29882". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 1916. p. 12647.
  16. ^ a b c d e Heathcote, p. 88
  17. ^ "Philip Chetwode". Hart Centre for Military Archives. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  18. ^ "No. 13379". The Edinburgh Gazette. 6 January 1919. p. 88.
  19. ^ "No. 33169". The London Gazette. 4 June 1926. p. 3654.
  20. ^ "No. 33917". The London Gazette. 3 March 1933. p. 1428.
  21. ^ Dixon, p. 117
  22. ^ "Servant-hood". Indus International Community School. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  23. ^ a b c Heathcote, p. 89
  24. ^ "Cardinal Seredi at Oxford". Catholic Herald. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  25. ^ "No. 31230". The London Gazette. 14 March 1919. p. 3483.
  26. ^ "No. 37119". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 1945. p. 2933.
  27. ^ "No. 37177". The London Gazette. 13 July 1945. p. 3629.
  28. ^ "No. 30111". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 June 1917. p. 5458.
  29. ^ "No. 33501". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 June 1929. p. 3668.
  30. ^ "No. 30471". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 January 1918. p. 721.
  31. ^ "No. 29086". The London Gazette. 18 February 1915. p. 2090.
  32. ^ "No. 33676". The London Gazette. 2 January 1931. p. 53.
  33. ^ "No. 34056". The London Gazette. 4 June 1934. p. 3559.
  34. ^ "No. 34238". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1936. p. 4.
  35. ^ "No. 30081". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 May 1917. p. 4920.
  36. ^ "No. 13350". The Edinburgh Gazette. 12 November 1918. p. 4176.


Military offices Preceded byNew post General Officer Commanding XX Corps 1917–1918 Succeeded byCorps disbanded Preceded bySir Francis Davies Military Secretary 1919–1920 Succeeded bySir Alexander Godley Preceded bySir Charles Harington Deputy Chief of the Imperial General Staff 1920–1922 Succeeded byPost abolished Preceded bySir George Macdonogh Adjutant General 1922–1923 Succeeded bySir Robert Whigham Preceded bySir Thomas Morland GOC-in-C Aldershot Command 1923–1927 Succeeded bySir David Campbell Preceded bySir Andrew Skeen Chief of the General Staff (India) 1928–1930 Succeeded bySir Cyril Deverell Preceded byThe Lord Birdwood Commander-in-Chief, India 1930–1935 Succeeded bySir Robert Cassels Honorary titles Preceded bySir William Robertson Colonel of the Royal Scots Greys 1925–1947 Succeeded byGeorge Todd Preceded bySir Claude Jacob Constable of the Tower of London 1943–1948 Succeeded byThe Earl Wavell Peerage of the United Kingdom New creation Baron Chetwode 1945–1950 Succeeded byPhilip Chetwode Baronetage of England Preceded byGeorge Chetwode Baronet(of Oakley) 1905–1950 Succeeded byPhilip Chetwode