George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys (British Army officer)
The Lord Jeffreys
Major General George Jeffreys in 1920
|Born||8 March 1878|
|Died||19 December 1960(aged 82)|
|Years of service||1897–1938|
|Commands held||Southern Command, India|
43rd (Wessex) Division
1st Guards Brigade
2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards
Second Boer War
First World War
|Awards||Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath|
Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Mentioned in Despatches (9)
Jeffreys attended Eton and Sandhurst before being commissioned into the Grenadier Guards. He saw action in Africa and in the Second Boer War as a young officer, and went to France with his battalion at the start of the First World War. He served on the Western Front throughout the war, rising to command the 2nd Grenadier Guards, then a series of infantry brigades, before being promoted to command the 19th (Western) Division from September 1917 until the end of the war. Following the armistice, he commanded a division in the forces occupying Germany, and then held various commands until he retired from the army in 1938.
From 1925 onwards he served as a magistrate and county councillor in Hampshire, and after retirement increased his involvement with local administration. He chaired a series of local bodies, and in 1941 was elected to the House of Commons for the constituency of Petersfield. He retired from Parliament at the 1951 election, and was created a peer the following year, as Baron Jeffreys. He continued to sit in the House of Lords until his death in 1960.
Early life and family
George Darrell Jeffreys was born on 8 March 1878. His father, Arthur Frederick Jeffreys, was a rural landowner, with an estate at Burkham, near Alton, Hampshire; he would later be elected to Parliament, as a Conservative, and hold the seat for almost thirty years. He had married Amy Fenwick in 1877; they would have four children, George and his three younger sisters.
Jeffreys was educated at Eton College before entering the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He passed out of Sandhurst in 1897, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards on 3 May 1897.
In 1905, he married Dorothy, Viscountess Cantelupe. She was the widow of Lionel, Viscount Cantelupe, the eldest son of the Earl De La Warr, an officer in the Royal West Kent Regiment, who had died a few months after their marriage in 1890. The two would have one son, Christopher, a captain in the Grenadier Guards, who died in the Battle of France in 1940.
With his regiment, Jeffreys took part in the Sudan expedition of 1898, and saw action at the Battle of Omdurman. He was promoted to lieutenant later that year, on 28 November 1898, and later served two stints in the Second Boer War, in 1900–1901, and again from April 1902. Following the end of the war two months later, he returned with most of the men of the guards regiments on board the SS Lake Michigan, which arrived in Southampton in October 1902. He remained on regimental service, promoted to captain in October 1903 and major in October 1910, until he was promoted to command the Guards Depot in June 1911.
On the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, Jeffreys rejoined his regiment, and went overseas with the British Expeditionary Force. He saw service at the Battle of Mons with the 2nd Battalion, and was promoted to command it in June 1915, with the temporary rank of lieutenant colonel. He remained with the battalion until January 1916, when he was promoted to command the 58th Infantry Brigade in the 19th (Western) Division, with the temporary rank of brigadier general. He relinquished command of the brigade on 3 May, but was re-appointed to command the 57th Infantry Brigade, in the same division, on 21 July, in the middle of the Battle of the Somme. On 30 December he again was transferred to command the 1st Guards Brigade, holding command through most of 1917 until he returned to the 19th Division as its new commander in September, with a corresponding promotion to temporary major general. He commanded the division until the end of the war, during which time it fought at the Third Battle of Ypres, in the German Spring Offensive, and during the final Hundred Days Offensive.
During the war, Jeffreys was severely wounded, mentioned in despatches nine times, and appointed a Companion of St. Michael and St. George (in 1916) and a Companion of the Bath (in 1918). He was also awarded a series of foreign decorations; the Order of St Stanislaus (2nd Class) from Russia; a Commander of the Order of the Crown, Grand Officer Order of Leopold, and Croix de Guerre from the Belgian government; a Commander of the Legion of Honour and Croix de Guerre from the French; a Knight of the Norwegian Order of St. Olav; the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun (2nd Class); and a Grand Cross of the Romanian Order of the Crown.
After the armistice in November 1918, the division received orders to demobilise in December, and in February 1919 Jeffreys was transferred to 30th Division. The 30th Division was assigned to the rear area ports, and was correspondingly later to demobilise. He was then transferred to command the Light Division in the British Army of the Rhine, the occupation forces in Germany, and in 1920 returned to England as Major-General commanding the Brigade of Guards and General Officer Commanding London District.
He relinquished command of London District in 1924, and spent two years on half pay until appointed to the 43rd (Wessex) Division in the Territorial Army in 1926. He was promoted to lieutenant general in 1930, and again placed on half-pay, but was appointed to the Southern Command in India in 1932. This was his final active role and he held it until 1936, having been promoted to full general in 1935.
From 1936 to 1938 he held the ceremonial position of ADC to the King, and finally retired from the Army in 1938. In retirement, he was the honorary colonel of 48th Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery (later 583rd (Hampshire) Heavy AA Regiment) from 1938 to 1948, the Colonel of the Royal Hampshire Regiment from 1945 to 1948, and of the Grenadier Guards from 1952 to his death.
Jeffreys' political career began in 1926, when he was elected as a councillor to Hampshire County Council. He left the council in 1932, during his posting to India, but was re-elected following his return in 1937; in 1941, he was appointed as an alderman. From 1938 he was appointed chair of the Hampshire Territorial Army Association and the County Civil Defence Committee, and in 1940, on the formation of the Home Guard, became its County Organizer. He also worked as a magistrate, becoming Chair of the Basingstoke County Bench in 1925, and continuing to sit until 1952, with the exception of a four-year gap during his Indian posting.
The following year he was raised to the peerage as Baron Jeffreys, of Burkham in the County of Southampton. In December 1960, he died aged 82, and was succeeded in the barony by his grandson Mark, his son Christopher having been killed in action in May 1940.
- Who Was Who
- *"JEFFREYS, Rt Hon. Arthur Frederick". (2007). In Who Was Who. Online edition
- Quarterly Army List, 1919, p. 54b.
- The Peerage.com
- "The War – The Guards Reinforcements". The Times (36741). London. 14 April 1902. p. 10.
- "The Army in South Africa - Troops returning home". The Times (36876). London. 18 September 1902. p. 5.
- Baker, Chris (2010). "History of the 19th (Western) Division, 1914–1918". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
- Baker, Chris (2010). "History of the 30th Division, 1914–1918". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
- "JEFFREYS, 1st Baron". (2007). In Who Was Who. Online edition
- Quarterly Army List for the quarter ending 30th June 1919. London: HMSO. 1919.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by George Jeffreys
Sir Geoffrey Feilding
| General Officer Commanding London District
| General Officer Commanding the 43rd (Wessex) Division
Sir William Heneker
| GOC-in-C, Southern Command, India
Sir Ivo Vesey
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith
| Member of Parliament for Petersfield
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|New creation|| Baron Jeffreys
Mark George Christopher Jeffreys