Archibald Wavell, 2nd Earl Wavell

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The Earl Wavell
Born 11 May 1916
Died 24 December 1953 (aged 37)
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1936–1953
Rank Major
Unit Black Watch
Battles/wars Second World War
Mau Mau Uprising
Awards MC
Winchester Cathedral, memorial plaques for the 2nd Earl Wavell (died 1953) and his father, Field Marshal 1st Earl Wavell (died 1950).

Major Archibald John Arthur Wavell, 2nd Earl Wavell MC (11 May 1916 – 24 December 1953) was the second and last Earl Wavell and Viscount Keren of Eritrea. He was educated at Winchester College and succeeded his father in 1950.

Military career[edit]

Commissioned a second lieutenant in the Black Watch on 30 January 1936,[1] Wavell's first posting was in the British Mandate for Palestine from 1936 to 1939. Promoted to lieutenant on 30 January 1939, he then fought in World War II.[2] He lost his left hand fighting the Japanese in Burma in June 1944 in Operation Thursday where he fought with the Chindits. Evacuated to India he served on his father's staff, his father Archibald Percival Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell being the then Viceroy of India.

He was promoted to captain on 28 January 1944[3] and was awarded the Military Cross on 23 January 1947.[4]

Wavell was promoted to major on 30 January 1949[5] and succeeded to the titles of his father with his death on 24 May 1950.


On 23 December 1953, Major Wavell led a patrol of the Black Watch and Kenyan police in pursuit of a sixty-strong Mau Mau gang that had beheaded a loyal Kikuyu tribesman and then fled. Twenty of them were surrounded in a copse at Thika, 25 miles north of Nairobi. Wavell was shot and killed in the first contact of a 10-hour battle.[6]

Earl Wavell is buried in the City Park Cemetery, Nairobi, Block 12, grave 10. His headstone is inscribed with the epitaph, 'He found the poetry of Man's endeavour'. He is also commemorated by an inscription in the War Cloister at Winchester College, next to the School Cadet Corps Armoury.

Extinction of titles[edit]

The 2nd Earl Wavell died unmarried and without issue. The earldom and the viscounty therefore became extinct on his death.


  1. ^ "No. 34251". The London Gazette. 31 January 1936. p. 671. 
  2. ^ "No. 34594". The London Gazette. 31 January 1939. p. 683. 
  3. ^ "No. 36353". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 January 1944. p. 571. 
  4. ^ "No. 37861". The London Gazette. 21 January 1947. p. 441. 
  5. ^ "No. 38557". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 March 1949. p. 1256. 
  6. ^ "Earl Wavell Dies In 10-Hour Fight With Terrorists". The Calgary Herald. 26 December 1953. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Archibald Wavell
Earl Wavell
Succeeded by
Viscount Keren