William Furse

Lieutenant General Sir William Furse
Born(1865-04-21)21 April 1865
Staines, Middlesex, England[1]
Died31 May 1953(1953-05-31) (aged 88)
Buckinghamshire, England
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1884–1920
RankLieutenant General
Commands held9th (Scottish) Division
Battles/warsSecond Boer War
First World War
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order
Spouse(s)Jean Adelaide Furse
Children4, including Judith Furse and Roger Furse

Lieutenant General Sir William Thomas Furse, KCB, KCMG, DSO (21 April 1865 – 31 May 1953) was a senior British Army officer who served as Master-General of the Ordnance during the First World War.[2]

Early life and family

Furse was born in Staines, Middlesex, the second son of the Ven. Charles Furse (born Johnson), Archdeacon of Westminster, and Jane Diana Monsell, second daughter of John Samuel Bewley Monsell, vicar of Egham. He was educated at Eton College and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. The artist Charles Wellington Furse and Rt. Rev. Michael Furse were his younger brothers.[2][1]

Furse was the father of the artist and designer Roger Furse and the actress Judith Furse.[3]

Military career

Furse was commissioned into the Royal Artillery as a lieutenant on 5 July 1884.[4][5] He was aide-de-camp to Lord Roberts from 1891 to 1893,[4] and was promoted to captain on 30 May 1893.[6]

Furse served during the Second Boer War as a Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General (DAQMG) at Army Headquarters,[4] and was promoted to major on 15 March 1900.[7] Following the end of the war in June 1902, Furse was on 15 October appointed DAQMG to the 2nd Army Corps based at Salisbury Plain.[8][9] In 1911 he was appointed commander of the 12th (Howitzer) Brigade Royal Field Artillery.[4]

Furse served in the First World War, initially as a General Staff Officer on the British Expeditionary Force and then as General Officer Commanding 9th (Scottish) Division from 1915.[4] He was made Master-General of the Ordnance in 1916; in this capacity he opposed the introduction of the Madsen machine gun, preferring the Lewis gun.[10] He retired in 1920.[4]


  1. ^ a b 1871 England Census
  2. ^ a b "Obituary: Lt.-Gen. Sir William Furse". The Times. 1 June 1953. p. 8.
  3. ^ "Judith Furse – A Gay Nun?". Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Sir William Thomas Furse Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  5. ^ "No. 25376". The London Gazette. 15 July 1884. p. 3226.
  6. ^ Hart′s Army list, 1903
  7. ^ "No. 27177". The London Gazette. 27 March 1900. p. 2040.
  8. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence – The Second Army Corps". The Times. No. 36903. London. 20 October 1902. p. 8.
  9. ^ "No. 27487". The London Gazette. 24 October 1902. p. 6739.
  10. ^ Hansard 29 May 1918
Military offices Preceded byGeorge Thesiger GOC 9th (Scottish) Division 1915–1916 Succeeded byHenry Lukin Preceded bySir Stanley von Donop Master-General of the Ordnance 1916–1919 Succeeded bySir John Du Cane