Archibald Douglas (1883–1960)

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Archibald Douglas
Chief of the Army Archibald Douglas (1883–1960).jpg
Birth name Wilhelm Archibald Douglas
Nickname(s) Archie[1]
Born (1883-07-19)19 July 1883
Stjärnorp Castle, Sweden
Died 5 July 1960(1960-07-05) (aged 76)
Grensholm, Sweden
Allegiance Sweden
Service/branch Swedish Army
Years of service 1903–1948
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held Inspector of the Swedish Army
Chief of the Army

Finnish Civil War

Count Wilhelm Archibald Douglas (19 July 1883 – 5 July 1960) was a Swedish Army lieutenant general and nobleman who served as Chief of the Army from 1944 to 1948.

Early life and career[edit]

Douglas was born at Stjärnorp Castle, Östergötland County and was the second of three sons of Count Ludvig Douglas, Marshal of the Realm, and Countess Anna Louise Dorotea (née Ehrensvärd).[2] His younger brother, Count Carl Douglas (1888–1946), was a chamberlain,[3] and his elder brother Robert (1880–1955), a nobleman in Germany, married dowager Queen Augusta Victoria of Portugal, widow of King Manuel II. Archibald Douglas was cousin to general Carl August Ehrensvärd (his successor on the Chief of the Army post[1]), vice admiral Gösta Ehrensvärd and Deputy Director of the Ministry of Defence Augustin Ehrensvärd.

He became an officer in 1903 and was promoted to lieutenant in the Life Regiment Dragoons (Livregementets dragoner, K 2) in 1906. Douglas was lieutenant in the General Staff in 1913 and served as general staff officer in the staff of the 1st Army Division (I. arméfördelningen) from 1914 to 1917. He was promoted to captain in 1916 and did the same year a study trip to Galicia region in Central-Eastern Europe.[4] Back in Sweden, Douglas served as a military history teacher at the Royal Swedish Army Staff College in Stockholm from 1917 to 1918 and as general staff officer at the Finnish headquarters during the Finnish Civil War in 1918. During his time in Finland in 1918, he became captain and lieutenant colonel in the Finnish Army[4] and took part in the Battle of Länkipohja and Battle of Tampere. Back in Sweden, Douglas became ryttmästare and squadron commander in the Life Regiment Dragoons in 1919 and taught ground warfare at the Royal Swedish Naval Staff College on and off between 1919 and 1929.[4]

In 1922, Douglas returned to the General Staff as captain and became major there in 1924. He served as chief of staff of the 5th Army Division (V. arméfördelningen) from 1923 to 1927 when he became major in the Life Regiment Dragoons. Douglas became lieutenant colonel in the Life Regiment of Horse (Livregementet till häst, K 1) in 1928. He was promoted to colonel and appointed commanding officer of Norrland Dragoon Regiment (K 4) in 1930 and in 1935 Douglas was appointed executive officer of the Life Regiment of Horse.[4] In 1937 Douglas was promoted to major general and appointed commanding officer of Upper Norrland's Troops (Övre Norrlands trupper) and in 1940 he conducted a study trip to Germany and France. In 1942 he was appointed Inspector of the Swedish Army and the year after he was chairman of the Officer Training Investigation (Officersutbildningsutredningen). In 1944, Douglas was promoted to lieutenant general and was appointed Chief of the Army. During this time he also served as president of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences from 1945 to 1947. Douglas retired from the military in 1948.[4]

Beside his military career, Douglas was a member of the Stockholm City Council from 1921 to 1923 and served as aide-de-camp to King Gustaf V from 1920 to 1930 and as chief aide-de-camp (överadjutant) to King Gustaf V from 1931 to 1950.[5]

Personal life and death[edit]

In 1907 he married Astri Henschen (1883–1976) in Ronneby. She was the daughter of Professor Salomon Eberhard Henschen and Gerda (née Sandell).[2] Douglas lived in Villa Parkudden in Djurgården,[6] and also owned Stjärnorp Castle in Östergötland County from 1947. The ancestral Stjärnorp Castle, which his father had purchased back to the family some years before Archibald's birth, was designated as Archibald's family seat.

He was the father of the Ambassador Carl Ludvig Douglas (1908–1961) and company executive Gösta Archibald Douglas (1910–1992) and grandfather of financier Gustaf Douglas. Through his eldest son, Carl Ludvig, he is the grandfather of Princess Elisabeth, Duchess in Bavaria, wife of Prince Max, Duke in Bavaria. He is also the grandfather of Rosita Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, the third wife of John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough, they divorced in 2008.

Douglas wrote biographical literature and biographies of Marshal of Finland Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim (his Finnish contemporary),[7] and Swedish Field Marshal Robert Douglas, Count of Skenninge, his ancestor.[8]

Douglas died as a result of a car accident in Grensholm near Linköping in July 1960.[9]

Dates of rank[edit]

Awards and decorations[edit]


  • Douglas, Archibald (1925). Operationerna kring Tammerfors 1918 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Bonnier. LIBRIS 1471663. 
  • Douglas, Archibald (1950). Jag blev officer (in Swedish). Stockholm: Bonnier. LIBRIS 483957. 
  • Douglas, Archibald, ed. (1951). Prins Gustaf Adolf: en minnesbok (in Swedish). Stockholm: Norstedt. LIBRIS 1452035. 
  • Douglas, Archibald (1951). Mannerheim (in Swedish). [Uppsala]. LIBRIS 2992346. 
  • Douglas, Archibald (1957). Robert Douglas: en krigargestalt från vår storhetstid (in Swedish). Stockholm: Bonnier. LIBRIS 8224568. 


  1. ^ a b Övervakningen av nazister och högerextremister: forskarrapporter till Säkerhetstjänstkommissionen [The monitoring of Nazis and right-wing extremists: research reports to the Security Service Commission]. Statens offentliga utredningar, 0375-250X ; 2002:94 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Fritzes offentliga publikationer. 2002. pp. 20, 26. ISBN 91-38-21775-9. 
  2. ^ a b Sveriges dödbok 1947-2003 [Swedish death index 1947-2003] (in Swedish) (Version 3.0 ed.). Sundbyberg: Sveriges släktforskarförbund. 2005. LIBRIS 9854744. 
  3. ^ Harnesk, Paul, ed. (1948). Vem är vem?. D. 3, Götalandsdelen utom Skåne [Who's Who?. D. 3, Götaland part except Scania] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Vem är vem bokförlag. p. 225. LIBRIS 8198271. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Svensson, Stina; Ekstedt, Tage, eds. (1955). Vem är det: svensk biografisk handbok. 1955 [Who is it: Swedish biographical handbook. 1955] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Norstedt. p. 206. LIBRIS 3681511. 
  5. ^ Burling, Ingeborg, ed. (1956). Vem är det: svensk biografisk handbok. 1957 [Who is it: Swedish biographical handbook. 1957] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Norstedt. p. 214. 
  6. ^ Bonnier, Albert (1985). Personligt: sett, hört och tänkt (in Swedish). Stockholm: Bonnier. p. 18. ISBN 91-0-046725-1. 
  7. ^ Douglas, Archibald (1951). Mannerheim (in Swedish). [Uppsala]. LIBRIS 2992346. 
  8. ^ Douglas, Archibald (1957). Robert Douglas: en krigargestalt från vår storhetstid (in Swedish). Stockholm: Bonnier. LIBRIS 8224568. 
  9. ^ Svenska Dagbladets årsbok 1960 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Svenska Dagbladet. 1960. p. 281. LIBRIS 283647. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Sveriges statskalender för året 1955 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Fritzes offentliga publikationer. 1955. p. 352. 
  11. ^ a b Wallerfelt, Bengt, ed. (2001). K1 1928-2000: historieverk i två band. 1 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Kungl. Livgardets dragoners historiekommitté. p. 281. ISBN 91-631-0434-2. LIBRIS 8241078. 

Further reading[edit]

  • "Gen. Archibald Douglas", The Times (9 July 1960): 10.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Ivar Holmquist
Chief of the Army
Succeeded by
Carl August Ehrensvärd