John Philip Du Cane

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Sir John Du Cane
Born 5 May 1865
South Kensington, London, England
Died 5 April 1947 (aged 81)
Westminster, London, England
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Rank General
Commands held XV Corps
Western Command
British Army of the Rhine
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath

General Sir John (Philip) Du Cane, GCB (5 May 1865 – 5 April 1947) was a British Army general. He held high rank during World War I, most notably as Major-General Royal Artillery at General Headquarters in 1915 when the BEF was expanding rapidly, as GOC XV Corps 1916-18, then from April 1918 as liaison officer between Field Marshal Haig and the Allied Generalissimo General Foch. After the war he was Master-General of the Ordnance.

Military career[edit]

Du Cane was commissioned a lieutenant in the Royal Artillery in February 1884,[1] promoted to captain on 4 March 1893, and to major on 14 February 1900.[2]

He served in the Second Boer War 1899-1900, and again from February 1901 when he was appointed a staff officer in South Africa. Following the end of hostilities in early June 1902, he left Cape Town on board the SS Assaye,[3] and arrived at Southampton the next month. He was mentioned in despatches and received a brevet promotion to lieutenant-colonel in the South Africa honours list published on 26 June 1902.[4]

He became Commander Royal Artillery for 3rd Division in 1911.[1]

He served in World War I initially as a Brigadier-General on the General Staff of III Corps.[1] In 1915, as Major-General Royal Artillery, he was Artillery Advisor at General Headquarters; Robertson, Chief of Staff to the BEF in 1915, later stated that he had laid the organisational groundwork for the massive expansion of BEF artillery during the war.[5][1] He was posted to the Ministry of Munitions in 1916 and then became GOC XV Corps in 1916.[1] In that capacity, he was closely involved in Operation Hush, a planned invasion on the Belgian coast.[6] On 12 April 1918, against the backdrop of the German "Georgette" Offensive and Field Marshal Haig's demands for French reinforcements, he was appointed liaison officer between Haig and the Allied Generalissimo General Foch.[7]

He was appointed Master-General of the Ordnance in 1920 and then General Officer Commanding-in-Chief for Western Command in 1923.[1] He was General Officer Commanding-in-Chief for British Army of the Rhine from 1924 until 1927 when he became Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Malta; he retired in 1931.[1]

He was also Aide-de-Camp General to the King from 1926 to 1930.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  2. ^ Hart′s Army list, 1903
  3. ^ "The Army in South Africa - Troops returning home". The Times (36804). London. 26 June 1902. p. 10. 
  4. ^ "No. 27448". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 June 1902. pp. 4191–4194. 
  5. ^ Robertson p222-3
  6. ^ The Long, Long Trail
  7. ^ Harris 2008 p469-71


  • Harris, J.P. Douglas Haig and the First World War. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-521-89802-7
  • Robertson, Sir William Robert (1921). From Private to Field Marshal. London: Constable. ASIN B008TCWACC. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Henry Horne
General Officer Commanding XV Corps
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Beauvoir De Lisle
Preceded by
Sir William Furse
Master-General of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
Sir Noel Birch
Preceded by
Sir Beauvoir De Lisle
GOC-in-C Western Command
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Butler
Preceded by
Sir Alexander Godley
Commander-in-Chief of the British Army of the Rhine
Succeeded by
Sir William Thwaites
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Walter Congreve
Governor of Malta
Succeeded by
Sir David Campbell