Edmund Hakewill-Smith

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Sir Edmund Hakewill-Smith
Born17 March 1896
Kimberley, Northern Cape, South Africa
Died15 April 1986 (aged 90)
Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, England
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1915–1949
Service number13379
UnitRoyal Scots Fusiliers
Commands held5th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment
4th/5th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers
157th Infantry Brigade
155th Infantry Brigade
52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division
Battles/warsWorld War I
Russian Civil War
World War II
AwardsKnight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Commander with Star of the Royal Order of St. Olav
Grand Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau

Major-General Sir Edmund Hakewill-Smith KCVO CB CBE MC (17 March 1896 – 15 April 1986) was a senior British Army officer who served in both World War I and World War II.

Early life and First World War[edit]

Hakewill-Smith was born in Kimberley, Northern Cape, South Africa, on 17 March 1896, he was educated at the Diocesan College ("Bishops") in Rondebosch, Cape Town, South Africa and, during the First World War, he went to England to attend the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, where he was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Royal Scots Fusiliers, a line infantry regiment of the British Army, on 16 June 1915.[1] He served with the 2nd Battalion of his regiment on the Western Front where he was wounded twice and, during the final Hundred Days Offensive in the latter half of 1918, and was awarded the Military Cross.[2]

Between the wars[edit]

After the war he remained in the army and served with the British Military Mission to South Russia in 1920, and in 1921 he was aide-de-camp to Lawrence Dundas, 2nd Marquess of Zetland (Governor of Bengal, India).[2] He later served as an adjutant to the 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers between 1927–1930, and was a student at the Staff College, Quetta from 1932–1933. He later served on the staff of the War Office from 1934–1936.[2]

World War II[edit]

During the Second World War Hakewill-Smith initially served as Commanding Officer (CO) of the 5th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, for several months from May 1940 and from September that year, as the CO of the 4th/5th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, as an acting lieutenant colonel. He was promoted to temporary brigadier on 30 March 1941, and commanded the 157th Infantry Brigade until late March 1942. He then became Director of Organization at the War Office before assuming command of the 155th Infantry Brigade in mid-February 1943. On 26 December 1943, promoted to temporary major general,[3] he assumed command of the mountain warfare-trained 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division from Major-General Neil Ritchie as its General Officer Commanding (GOC). He commanded the 52nd Division during the campaign in North-West Europe, from October 1944 until May 1945.[2]


After the war, he commanded the Lowland District in Scotland before serving as President of the Military Court for War Crimes Trial of German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring. He finally retired from the army in 1949.[2]

Hakewill-Smith was awarded the CBE (1944) and CB (1945),[4] and also served as the Honorary Colonel of the Royal Scots Fusiliers (1946–1957). In addition, he served at Windsor Castle as a Military Knight of Windsor, later being appointed Lieutenant Governor of the castle (1964–1972) and was created a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) in 1967. He died in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey in 1986 at the age of 90.[2]

Awards and decorations[edit]


  1. ^ "No. 29193". The London Gazette. 15 June 1915. p. 5759.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  3. ^ "No. 36350". The London Gazette (Supplement). 25 January 1944. p. 523.
  4. ^ "No. 37161". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 July 1945. p. 3489.


  • Smart, Nick (2005). Biographical Dictionary of British Generals of the Second World War. Barnesley: Pen & Sword. ISBN 1844150496.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Neil Ritchie
GOC 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division
Succeeded by
Robert Urquhart
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Lord Trenchard
Colonel of the Royal Scots Fusiliers
Succeeded by
Archibald Buchanan-Dunlop