Neill Malcolm

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Sir Neill Malcolm
Born 8 October 1869
London, United Kingdom
Died 21 December 1953(1953-12-21) (aged 84)
London, United Kingdom
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1889–1924
Rank Major-General
Commands held 66th Division
39th Division
30th Division
Troops in the Straits Settlements
Battles/wars Second Boer War
First World War
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order

Major-General Sir Neill Malcolm KCB DSO (8 October 1869 – 21 December 1953) was a British Army officer who served as Chief of Staff to Fifth Army in the First World War and later commanded the Troops in the Straits Settlements.

Military career[edit]

Educated at St Peter's School, York, Eton College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst,[1] Malcolm was commissioned into the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in 1889.[2] He served in the Second Boer War and was made Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General at Army Headquarters 1906 and Secretary of the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence in 1908 before becoming a General Staff Officer at the Staff College, Camberley in 1912.[2] He served in the First World War as a General Staff Officer with the British Expeditionary Force, with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force and then as Chief of Staff to Hubert Gough's Fifth Army in France.[2] He was then General Officer Commanding 66th Division from 1917, 39th Division from 1918 and 30th Division from later that year.[2] After the war he was Chief of the British Military Mission to Berlin from 1919 and then General Officer Commanding the Troops in the Straits Settlements in 1921 before retiring in 1924.[2]

It has been suggested that Malcolm, while in Berlin, provided the origin of the Stab-in-the-back myth. In the autumn of 1919, when Erich Ludendorff was dining with Malcolm, Malcolm asked Ludendorff why he thought Germany lost the war. Ludendorff replied with a list of excuses, including that the home front failed the army.[3]

Malcolm asked him: "Do you mean, General, that you were stabbed in the back?" Ludendorff's eyes lit up and he leapt upon the phrase like a dog on a bone. "Stabbed in the back?" he repeated. "Yes, that's it, exactly, we were stabbed in the back." And thus was born a legend which has never entirely perished.

Later life[edit]

In retirement he was President of the North Borneo Chartered Company from 1926 to 1946 and High Commissioner for German refugees from 1936 to 1938.[2]


In May 1907 he married his cousin, Angela Malcolm; they had a daughter and two sons.[1]


External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Dudley Ridout
GOC Troops in the Straits Settlements
Succeeded by
Sir Theodore Fraser