The Earl of Cavan

Contributed by Geoffrey Woollard (April 2006)

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Newspaper Cutting (The Times) 22/11/1922: 'Forthcoming Marriages.
General the Earl of Cavan and Lady Joan Mulholland.
  The Ven. the Hon. Horace Edward Lambart, Archdeacon of Salop, will officiate, assisted by the Rev. W. Pennyman, at the marriage of his brother, General the Earl of Cavan, at 2.30 p.m. on Monday, at St. Mark's, North Audley-street, with Lady Joan Mulholland, daughter of the late (fifth) Earl of Strafford and of Emily Countess of Strafford. The Earl of Strafford will give away his sister, and the bridegroom's brother, the Hon. Lionel Lambart, D.S.O., R.N., will be best man.

The bride, who will be dressed in silver-grey fulgurante beaded with blue steel, with a hat to match, will be unattended. There will be no reception and no invitations, but all friends will be welcome at the church.'

Newspaper Cutting (The Times) 28/11/1922: 'Marriages.
General the Earl of Cavan and Lady Joan Mulholland.
  The Prince of Wales, attended by Captain the Hon. Piers Legh, was present at the marriage yesterday, at St. Mark's, North Audley-street, of General the Earl of Cavan, K.P., Chief of the Imperial General Staff, of Primrose House, Roehampton, with Lady Joan Mulholland, daughter of the late (fifth) Earl of Strafford and of Emily Countess of Strafford, of 36, Seymour-street, W.1. The bridegroom's brother, the Ven. the Hon. Edward Lambart, Archdeacon of Shrewsbury, officiated, assisted by the Rev. W. Pennyman. Captain the Hon. Lionel Lambart, R.N (brother of the bridegroom), was best man.

There was no guard of honour, but twelve N.C.O.'s of the Grenadier Guards who had served under the bridegroom were present at the church. The bride, who was given away by her brother, the Earl of Strafford, wore a grey satin gown embroidered with steel beads, with a hat to match. There was no reception. The honeymoon will be spent in London.

The Prince of Wales signed the register as a witness. The large congregation included: -

The Spanish Ambassador and Mme. Merry del Val, the latter wearing a brown satin toque with a sable and brown satin cloak over a marocain dress, the Duchess of Sutherland in a toque of leaf brown satin and a sable over a dark silk dress, the Dowager Duchess of Abercorn, the Countess of Strafford with Lady Elizabeth and Lady Mary Byng, Emily Countess of Strafford in a broadtail coat and a black hat, the Earl and Countess Spencer, the latter in a black cloth coat and skirt bordered with Persian lamb and a black velvet hat, the Earl of Shaftesbury, Lady Mary Ashley-Cooper, the Countess of Dundonald, Miss Daphne Mulholland (the bride's daughter), in a bright red cloth coat bordered with black fur, the Earl of Derby, Lord Stanley, the Countess of Verulam in black velvet with a black ostrich feather in a small hat, the Countess of Bessborough in brown, Lady Evelyn Guinness, the Earl and Countess of Cromer, the Countess of Gosford, the Dowager Countess of Leicester, Lady Mabel Coke, the Earl of Clanwilliam, Countess Stanhope, who wore a seal coat with a black dress and a black velvet hat with a red feather, Viscountess Hampden, General the Vicomte de la Panouse, Lord and Lady Dunleath, Lady Rachel Byng, Lady Blanche Conyngham, Lady Violet Crawley, Lady Ellen Lambart, Lady Maud Barrett, Lord Leigh, Lord and Lady Hylton, Lady Glentanar in a small toque and a chinchilla coat over a dark dress, Lord Claud Hamilton, Lady Karen Agar, Lord Queensborough, Lady Farnham, Lady Elizabeth Dawson, Lady Bertha Dawkins, Lord and Lady Herbert Scott, Major-General the Hon. John and Lady Isobel Gathorne-Hardy, Lady Codrington, Lieutenant-General Sir Travers and Lady Clarke, Lady Bainbridge, the Hon. Sir George and Lady Murray.

Sir Robert Horne, Colonel Valentine and Lady Aline Vivian, Lieutenant-General Sir Noel and Lady Birch, the Hon. Thomas and Lady Cicely Vesey, Sir Herbert and Lady Creedy, Lady Baird, Lieutenant-General Sir John and Lady Du Cane, Major-General Sir Cecil and Lady Lowther, Lady Hewat, Lieutenant-General Sir William Peyton, Major the Hon. A.C. and Mrs Chichester, the Hon. Mrs Henry Loyd, the Hon. Mrs Lionel Lambart, the Hon. Mrs Schomberg Byng, the Hon. Mrs Bethell, the Hon. Arthur Lambart, the Hon. Mrs H. Lambart, the Hon. Mrs Ian Leslie-Melville, the Hon. Mrs Morrison Bell, the Hon. Mrs Rupert Beckett, the Hon. Mrs Piers Legh, the Hon. Mrs John Saunderson, the Hon. Mrs Edward Pratt, the Hon. Henry and Mrs Mulholland, the Hon. Mrs Anson, Mrs Chrichton, Mrs Euan Wallace, Captain Beaumont-Nesbit, Mr and Mrs Wyndham Bewes, Mrs Owen Pease, Mrs George Bucknill, Mrs Hibbert, Mrs Lancaster, Major-General Hugh Sutton, Mrs Huntington, Mrs Kenneth Lyon, the Hon. H.S. Littleton, Miss Dorothy Yorke, Mrs Nugent Allfrey, Mrs Ralph Bingham, Major and Mrs Hamilton Wedderburn, Mr and Mrs Wray, Mr and Mrs George Crawley, Mrs Ernest Crawley, Captain and Mrs Siltzer, Colonel and Mrs Erskine, Mrs Ravenhill, Mrs Gordon, Colonel and Mrs Heywood, Major and Mrs Frederick Drake, Mrs Weld Blundell, Mr Kenneth and Mr Stafford Crawley, Captain and Mrs Beckwith Smith, Mrs Harry Mulholland, Miss Wauchope, Mrs Arthur Flower, Captain and Mrs Fenwick, Mrs Sheppard, Mrs Ernest Hambro, Admiral and Mrs Mark Kerr, Mrs Miller Mundy, Captain Hargreaves, Major Bradford Atkinson, Mrs Percy Quilter, Mrs Millington Drake, Major Powell, Major Griffiths, and Mr and Mrs A. Hunter.'

Newspaper Cutting (The Times) 29/8/1946:  'Obituary
Field-Marshal Lord Cavan
  We announce with regret that Field-Marshal The Earl of Cavan, K.P., G.C.B., G.C.M.G., G.B.E., died in London yesterday after a short illness.

We also record with regret the deaths of Lord Kilmaine; Colonel Sir Richard Gethin, Bt., C.M.G., D.S.O., late R.A.; and Mr A.W. Rider, vice-chairman of the London Express Newspaper, Limited.

Memoirs of Lord Cavan, Lord Kilmaine, and Mr Rider will be found on page 6.'

Newspaper Cutting (The Times) 29/8/1946:  'Obituary
Field-Marshal Lord Cavan.  A Former C.I.G.S
  Field-Marshal Lord Cavan, who had a military career of great distinction, died in London yesterday after a short illness. He had retired before the outbreak of war in 1914, after having served in the South African war, and having commanded a battalion of the Grenadier Guards from 1908 to 1912. Recalled for service he proved an outstanding leader of the 1914-18 war, in the course of which he commanded the Guards Division in France and the British troops in Italy. After that war he became Chief of the Imperial General Staff, 1922-26, and in 1932 he was promoted field-marshal.

The Right Hon. Sir Frederic Rudolph Lambart, K.P., G.C.B., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., G.B.E., tenth Earl of Cavan, Viscount Kilcoursie, and Lord Lambart, Baron of Cavan, all in the peerage of Ireland, was born on October 16, 1865, at Ayot St. Lawrence Rectory, Hertfordshire, a benefice held by his mother's father. He was the eldest son of the ninth earl, and was descended from Oliver Lambart, son of a London goldsmith, who was knighted at the storming of Cadiz, was appointed Governor of Connaught in 1601, and received large grants of land for his share in reducing the Province of Ulster. Lord Cavan's father, the ninth earl, long Liberal M.P. for South Somerset, was a naval officer who had served at Sebastopol, at the bombardment of Canton, and at the storming of the Pei-Ho forts. The peer, who has now died, was educated at Eton and was gazetted to the Grenadier Guards on August 29, 1885. In 1887 on his father's succession he took the courtesy title of Viscount Kilcoursie. For 26 years he pursued a career which neither differed in any respect from that of a normal officer of Foot Guards, nor foreshadowed his eventual high destiny. In 1890 he went to Canada as A.D.C. to the Governor-General, Lord Stanley of Preston, afterwards sixteenth Earl of Derby. In August, 1897, he became regimental adjutant, and was promoted caption the next October.

When the South African War broke out he was desirous of leading his men on active service, so reverted to the command of a company in March, 1900. He embarked for the Cape with the 2nd Grenadier Guards, which was in the 16th Brigade of the 8th Division. Lord Kilcoursie thus missed Lord Roberts's earlier operations, but participated in the final stages of the march to Pretoria, and remained in the Orange Free State and was present at the actions of Biddulphsberg and Wittebergen in July, 1900. He went with his battalion into the Transvaal for a time in 1901, but returned to the Free State till the close of the war, his services being mentioned in dispatches.

On returning to England Lord Cavan, for he had succeeded to the peerage while on active service in 1900, continued serving with his regiment. Promoted major in October, 1902, he reached the rank of lieutenant-colonel in February, 1908, when he assumed command of the 1st Grenadier Guards. Four years later he went on half-pay, having reached the rank of colonel in October, 1911. In the summer of 1913 he held the temporary command of a Guards' Brigade for manoeuvres and training, a fact which may influenced his subsequent advancement; nevertheless, in 1913, prospects in the Army did not appear to him any too alluring; so in November of that year he retired to live on his estate at Wheathampstead, near St. Albans. He became Master of the Hertfordshire Hunt, and was a great fisherman and golfer.

After the outbreak of war in 1914 Lord Cavan's rise was rapid; at 49 years of age he was mentally and physically alert and inured to all forms of outdoor exercise. First he found himself in command of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st London Division of the Territorial Force, then being mobilized for home defence. After five weeks in that position, however, he was summoned to France to assume command of the 4th (Guards) Brigade, then vacant owing to the wounding in action of Brigadier-General Scott Ker during the retreat from Mons. Lord Cavan actually took over on September 19 during the last days on the Aisne. Then came the move to Flanders, when his brigade, with the remainder of the 2nd Division, bore a distinguished part in the great struggle of "First Ypres." He commanded a force of six battalions on the right of the I Corps after Brigadier-General Bulfin had been wounded, showing himself a resolute and skilful leader. His brigade was also heavily engaged at the Battle of Festubert in May, 1915.

In June he was promoted major-general for his services in the field and appointed to the command of the 50th Division, but was summoned home in August on selection to command the new Guards' Division. Of this appointment the historian of the "The Grenadier Guards in the Great War" writes as follows: -

He (Lord Cavan) had proved himself a great soldier, and his exceptional ability as a commander of men had rendered him eminently fitted for this command. Thoroughly acquainted with the methods of the enemy, he had shown himself to be resourceful in strategy and bold of decision in action. Upon several occasions he had extricated his brigade from situations of the utmost peril, and had turned a half-anticipated failure into hard-won victory. In the darkest hour at Ypres he never lost heart; the more hopeless the situation the greater the opportunity for a valiant fight and great achievement. His perfect confidence in his men was equalled only by their whole-hearted trust in him. His appointment, therefore, was hailed with enthusiasm by all ranks of the Brigade of Guards.

Lord Cavan's new division was assembled in France just in time to take part in the Battle of Loos. In January, 1916, he was given command of XIV Corps, "an appointment which caused a feeling akin to consternation throughout the Guards Division, so universal was the respect for him as a man and so implicit the confidence in him as a commander." His physical and mental stamina was now to stand him in good stead; not only did he show great self-possession in every situation of stress, but his personality also impressed his subordinates; he did not harass his staff, neither did he ever imagine vain dangers. So, in contrast with some others, he "wore well." The XIV Corps was not called upon to take part in the Battle of the Somme until well on in September. It was then that the Guards and Cavan's other divisions came in for the stubborn fighting between Flers and Morval at the time that tanks were first employed. After the close of the offensive the Corps was not heavily engaged until the opening of the third Battle of Ypres in the summer of 1917. Under Lord Cavan it fought on the northern flank next to the French and gained notable successes during the early stages of the struggle at Pilckem and Langemarke. Before the autumn campaign was over, however, Cavan was called from the Flanders mud to another front.

In November there befell the debacle of the Italian Army at Caporetto. Soon afterwards Sir Herbert Plumer took the XIV Corps, reconstituted for this new campaign, to Italy, and Lord Cavan - he had been promoted lieutenant-general at the beginning of the year - retained the command of his corps and went south. The winter and spring he spent in consolidating the section of front allotted to him, until, in March, Sir Herbert Plumer was recalled to Flanders to resume command of the Second Army. Lord Cavan succeeded him as head of the British contingent in Italy. In June some give-and-take fighting, chiefly about the Montello, on the Piave, took place, and ended with considerable advantage to the Italians, but it was not until October that the latter launched their decisive attack. Lord Cavan, who had now assumed the command of the Tenth Italian Army, a mixed allied force, which included two British divisions, forced the flooded Piave and thereby breached the enemy line between the Austrian Fifth and Sixth Armies. The resultant victory at Vittorio Veneto brought hostilities to an end.

There was to be yet a third act to his military career, for in November it was announced that Lord Cavan had been appointed Commander-in-Chief at Aldershot. It was but 10 years earlier that he had been seen riding about the Long Valley at the head of a battalion of Guards. In 1921, during the crisis provoked by the growing industrial unrest and by threats of great national strikes, Lord Cavan was appointed G.O.C.-in-C. for the command of the troops and the newly constituted Defence Force in the Metropolitan Area. He was promoted general in November, 1921. Then came further advancement. After visiting America as Chief Military Representative of the British delegation to the Washington conference he was appointed in February, 1922, Chief of the Imperial General Staff. His four years' tenure of this office was a period of retrenchment, and the Army has reason to be grateful for his single-minded devotion to its interests. He retired in February, 1926, and in 1927 accompanied his present Majesty, then Duke of York, on his Australian and New Zealand tour in the capacity of Chief of the Staff. He was promoted Field-Marshal in succession to the late Lord Methuen in October, 1932.

Lord Cavan became Colonel of the Irish Guards in May, 1925, and of The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment in December, 1928. From 1929 to 1931 he was Captain of the Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms, and commanded the troops at the coronation of King George VI. He married first, in 1893, Caroline Inez, daughter of Mr George Baden Crawley; she died in 1920. Secondly he married, in 1922, Lady Joan Mulholland, D.B.E., daughter of the 5th Earl of Strafford and the widow of Captain the Hon. Andrew Mulholland (eldest son of the 2nd Lord Dunleath), who was killed in action in 1914. He leaves two daughters, and is succeeded by his brother, the Ven. the Hon. Horace Lambart, whose wife died in 1942. The new peer has a son and two daughters.'

Newspaper Cutting (The Times) 3/9/1946:  'Obituary
Field-Marshal Lord Cavan.  An Appreciation
  Sir Fabian Ware, vice-chairman of the Imperial War Graves Commission, writes: -

There is one side of Lord Cavan's activities which will be remembered gratefully by thousands - his participation in the commemoration of those who fell under his command. He was chairman of the Anglo-Italian Mixed Committee of the Imperial War Graves Commission, which assisted the Commission in the care of the graves of the first world war situated on the Asiago Plateau, the Piave, and elsewhere in Italy. In 1938, under his leadership, this committee visited those graves, and Lord Cavan was hailed everywhere by crowds of Italian men, women, and children with cries of "Pace." The committee was accompanied by Marshal Caviglia, and was received most sympathetically by the King and Queen of Italy and by Mussolini. We all felt that the alliance of the past had been sanctified and firmly rooted by this visit; but Lord Cavan, trained in the observance of realities, constantly reminded us that the common commemoration of the comradeship of the past would not, in itself, prevent an outbreak of hostility.

The last letter we received from Lord Cavan asked that his thanks might be conveyed to one of his former Italian liaison officers, who had been in the service of the Commission since 1918, and who had ensured the respectful maintenance of British war cemeteries in Italy throughout the shattering years of the second world war.'

Newspaper Cutting (The Times) 6/9/1946:  'Obituary
Field-Marshal Lord Cavan.  A Further Tribute
  Mr J. Reginald Chichester writes: - 

As an old hunting friend I should like to write a few lines in memory of Field-Mashal Lord Cavan. He was always an exceptionally keen foxhunter and a first class man to hounds, like his brothers Lionel and Edward Lambart. For a great number of years he was the mainstay of Hertfordshire hunting, especially before 1914. He was a great upholder of the plough country, and in spite of difficulties many fine hunts took place there. I well remember his enthusiasm as he planned a day's hunting after he became master in 1912 - no meet was a bad one - and how he enjoyed discussing the good hunts again after dinner. He was in the front rank as a field master, like his contemporary the third Lord Annaly with the Pytchley. A strict but fair master, he never let his field down; he was always quick away and in the right place to control the field. He was very fond of racing, shooting, and fishing, and was keen on golf. Lord Cavan had a charming personality; he seldom forgot faces, and was the same to every one, no matter to what station of life he or she belonged. He inspired people with confidence which made him a great leader of men. By his death the country loses a great soldier and a fine type of English sportsman.'

Newspaper Cutting (The Times) 9/9/1946:  'Obituary
Field-Marshal Lord Cavan.  A Further Tribute
  C.-T. writes: - 

As one of his oldest friends I should like to say a few words about that very great gentleman and single-minded soldier, Field-Marshall the Earl of Cavan, K.P.

In the 1914-18 war I lunched with "K" (as he was called by his friends in later life) the day he arrived at Padua to take over the command of the British forces in Italy. As a matter of interest the Prince of Wales, at that time on his staff, was also at the lunch. The Caporetto retreat was in full spate and "K" told me that he had just been in conference with the commander-in-chief, General Cadorna, and other Italian generals and they seemed chiefly concerned about the line to which they should fall back. "K" said to them, "I arrived with my troops this morning and I do not propose to fall back anywhere." I believe the determined attitude of this sturdy British officer had a great effect upon the Italian generals. In the final offensive on the Piave British and Italian divisions under "K" were the first troops to gain their objective across the river. Other Italian divisions crossed over the river on to the British bridgehead. With his usual modesty "K" in his dispatch merely thanked the Italian generals for their courtesy in placing these troops under his command during the time they were passing over the British pontoons. I may add that "K" had a high opinion of General Cadorna, the Duke of Aosta (commanding the 3rd Army), and other Italian generals.'

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