Charles Foulkes (British Army officer)

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Charles Foulkes
Charles Foulkes.jpg
Born 1 February 1875
Died 6 May 1969 (aged 94)
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1894-1930
Rank Major-General
Commands held Ordnance Survey of Scotland
31st (Fortress) Company
'L' Company
11th (Field) Company
Battles/wars World War I
Olympic medal record
Men's field hockey
Bronze medal – third place 1908 London Team

Major-General Charles Howard Foulkes CB CMG DSO (1 February 1875 – 6 May 1969) was a Royal Engineers officer in the British Army and also a British international field hockey player who competed in the 1908 Summer Olympics in the bronze medal-winning team. He saw service in World War I and, following the first German use of gas on 22 April 1915 at the Second Battle of Ypres, became Britain's chief advisor on gas warfare. He also advised on the use of gas to suppress the uprisings in Afghanistan (1919) and Waziristan (1920), but gas was never actually deployed in these conflicts.

Military career[edit]

Foulkes, who was educated at Bedford Modern School,[1] was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1894 and served in the Second Boer War.[2] He became Assistant Commissioner for the Anglo-French Boundary Commission in the East of Niger in 1902 and, after taking part in the Kano-Sokoto expedition which brought the Emirs in Nigeria under British control in 1903, he became Commander of the Ordnance Survey of Scotland in 1904.[2] He was a member of the bronze medal-winning team for the field hockey in the 1908 Summer Olympics.[3] He went on to be Commander of 31st (Fortress) Company in Ceylon in 1909 and Commander of 'L' Company at the Royal Engineers Depot in Chatham in 1913.[2]

Foulkes served in World War I as Commander of 11th (Field) Company, taking part in the First Battle of Ypres in 1914 before becoming Britain's chief advisor on gas warfare in 1915 and General Officer Commanding the Special Brigade responsible for Chemical Warfare and Director of Gas Services in 1917.[2]

He advised on the use of gas to suppress the uprisings in Afghanistan in 1919 and Waziristan in 1920, although gas was never actually deployed in these conflicts, before becoming Commander Royal Engineers in Fermoy and Director of Irish Propaganda in 1921.[2] He went on to be Commander, Royal Engineers in Northumbria in 1922, Deputy Chief Engineer at Southern Command in 1924 and Chief Engineer at Aldershot Command in 1926 before retiring in 1930.[2]


  • Foulkes, Charles Howard (2001) [First published Blackwood & Sons, 1934]. "Gas!" The Story of the Special Brigade. Published by Naval & Military Press. ISBN 1-84342-088-0. 
  • Foulkes, C.H., Commonsense and ARP, a practical guide for householders and business managers (C Arthur Pearson, London, 1939)


  1. ^ "Who's Who 1935", Published by A&C Black Limited 1935
  2. ^ a b c d e f Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  3. ^ Profile at Archived 10 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine.