James Wolfe-Murray

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Sir James Murray
James Murray Vanity Fair 4 May 1905.jpg
General Sir James Murray as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, May 1905
Born (1853-03-13)13 March 1853
Ireland
Died 17 October 1919(1919-10-17) (aged 66)
Cringletie, Peebleshire
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1872–1917
Rank General
Commands held Eastern Command
Battles/wars Fourth Anglo-Ashanti War
Second Boer War
World War I
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath

General Sir James (Wolfe) Murray KCB (13 March 1853 – 17 October 1919) was a British Army officer who served in the Fourth Anglo-Ashanti War, Second Boer War and World War I. He became Chief of the Imperial General Staff three months after the start of World War I, but was ineffectual and was replaced in September 1915 following the failure of the Dardanelles campaign.

Military career[edit]

Born the son of James Wolfe Murray (1814–1890) and Elizabeth Charlotte Murray (née Whyte-Melville) and educated at Trinity College, Glenalmond, Harrow School and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich,[1] Murray was commissioned into the Royal Artillery on 12 September 1872.[2] He was promoted to captain on 1 November 1881.[3] After attending Staff College, Camberley he became Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster-General in Northern England January 1884.[1]

Negotiations following the end of the Fourth Anglo-Ashanti War, in which Murray took part

He went on to be Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster-General in the Intelligence Branch at Headquarters of the Army on 1 June 1884,[4] Deputy Assistant-Quartermaster General in the Intelligence Branch on 31 August 1884[5] and Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General (with responsibility for intelligence on Russia, Central and South Asia and the Far East) on 1 June 1887.[6] Promoted to major in January 1889[1] he was appointed a special service officer at Headquarters in April 1892 and then Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General for Instruction at Aldershot on 10 January 1894.[7]

He saw action in the Fourth Anglo-Ashanti War in West Africa between November 1895 and February 1896 and was then transferred to India where he became Assistant Adjutant-General on 25 January 1898,[8] receiving promotion to lieutenant colonel on 31 March 1898.[9] He was appointed Assistant Quartermaster General (in charge of intelligence) at Indian Headquarters on 25 March 1899.[10]

Cringletie House, Murray's home in Peeblesshire

He served in the Second Boer War on the staff of the Commander, Lines of Communication in Natal with the local rank of colonel from 21 September 1899,[11] of brigadier-general from 9 October 1899[12] and of major-general on 1 May 1900.[13] He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 19 April 1901 in recognition of his services during the war.[14]

In May 1901 he returned to India to command a brigade, and received the temporary rank of brigadier-general whilst so employed.[15] Promoted to the substantive rank of major-general on 1 January 1903,[1] he was made Quartermaster-General in India on 2 May 1903[16] and Master-General of the Ordnance at Army Headquarters in London on 12 February 1904.[17] At this time the Esher Committee chaired by Lord Esher was proposing far reaching changes to the structure of the British Army including the creation of a "blue ribbon" elite drawn strictly from the General Staff to the exclusion of Administrative Staff:[18] Murray strongly opposed this aspect of the proposals.[1]

Appointed a deputy lieutenant of the County of Peebles on 25 February 1907,[19] he became General Officer Commanding, 9th (Secunderabad) Division in India on 1 March 1907[20] and was promoted to lieutenant general on 1 April 1909.[21]

After serving as an army representative on a British delegation to Russia set up by Parliament in 1912,[22] he was appointed Commander-in-Chief at Scottish Command on 9 December 1913[23] and Commander-in-Chief in South Africa on 18 May 1914.[24]

World War I[edit]

Following the sudden death of General Sir Charles Douglas in October 1914, Murray was appointed his replacement as Chief of the Imperial General Staff on 30 October 1914.[1] However Murray attended meetings of the war council without making any real contribution, leaving strategy entirely to Field-Marshal Lord Kitchener as War Minister.[1] For this lack of any personal conviction Winston Churchill gave Murray the nickname of "Sheep".[1] Following the failure of the Dardanelles campaign, Murray was replaced by General Sir Archibald Murray on 26 September 1915.[25]

After undertaking a special mission to Russia in Spring 1916, he was made General Officer Commanding of Eastern Command on 5 May 1916[1] and awarded the Russian Order of St. Anna (1st Class, with Swords) on 16 May 1916.[26] He was awarded the Russian Order of the White Eagle on 14 January 1918[27] and the Grand Cordon of the Japanese Order of the Sacred Treasure on 9 November 1918.[28]

He was also colonel-commandant of the Royal Artillery from 9 April 1917[1] and wrote two handbooks on the Russian Army.[1] He died from a heart attack at his home at Cringletie in Peeblesshire on 17 October 1919.[1]

Family[edit]

In 1875 he married Arabella Bray; they had two sons and three daughters.[1] Following the death of his first wife he married Fanny Macfarlane (née Robson) in 1913.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Sir James Wolfe-Murray". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 2004. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24062. p. 491. 3 February 1874. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 25042. p. 6212. 29 November 1881. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 25361. p. 2439. 3 June 1884. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 25387. p. 3680. 15 August 1884. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 25727. p. 4242. 5 August 1887. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26478. p. 440. 23 January 1894. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26961. p. 2594. 26 April 1898. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26956. p. 2350. 12 April 1898. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27085. p. 3521. 2 June 1899. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27122. p. 6008. 3 October 1899. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27538. p. 2062. 27 March 1903. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  13. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27285. p. 1155. 15 February 1901. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  14. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27306. p. 2696. 19 April 1901. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  15. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27351. p. 5812. 3 September 1901.
  16. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27632. p. 28. 1 January 1904. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  17. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 27646. p. 1011. 12 February 1904. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  18. ^ Samuels, Martin. Command or Control – Command, Training and Tactics in the British and German Armies 1888–1918" p. 40. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  19. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28001. p. 1579. 5 March 1907. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  20. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28028. p. 3937. 7 June 1907. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  21. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28238. p. 2591. 2 April 1909. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  22. ^ "Sir James Wolfe-Murray". School of Slavonic and East European Studies Library, Imperial College, London. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  23. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28782. p. 9254. 16 December 1913. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  24. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28826. p. 3553. 1 May 1914. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  25. ^ The London Gazette: no. 29353. p. 10912. 5 November 1915. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  26. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29584. p. 4935. 16 May 1916. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  27. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30476. p. 828. 11 January 1918. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  28. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31002. p. 13276. 8 November 1918. Retrieved 2012-01-30.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Vacant
Master-General of the Ordnance
1904–1907
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Hadden
Preceded by
Sir Bruce Hamilton
GOC-in-C Scottish Command
1913–1914
Succeeded by
Sir Spencer Ewart
Preceded by
Sir Charles Douglas
Chief of the Imperial General Staff
1914–1915
Succeeded by
Sir Archibald Murray
Preceded by
Sir Leslie Rundle
GOC-in-C Eastern Command
1916–1917
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Wilson