Robert George Broadwood

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Robert Broadwood
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Robert Broadwood
Born14 March 1862[1]
Chelsea, London
Died21 June 1917 (aged 54–55)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service1881–1917
Commands heldCommander of British Troops in South China
Battles/warsMahdist War
Second Boer War
World War I
AwardsCompanion of the Order of the Bath

Lieutenant General Robert George Broadwood, CB (14 March 1862 – 21 June 1917) was Commander of British Troops in South China.

Military career[edit]

Robert was the third son and child of Thomas Broadwood and Mary Athlea Matthews and a grandson of John Broadwood, the founder of the Broadwood Piano Company. He was educated at Charterhouse School. He never married.

He joined the 12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales) in 1881[2] and participated in the Dongola Expeditionary Force and Egyptian Campaign in 1896.[2] Between 1893 and 1896 he worked closely with Egyptian forces allied with Great Britain and was present at Atbara and Khartoum.[2]

As a Lieutenant Colonel he served under Lord Kitchener in the Battle of Omdurman in Sudan during the Nile Campaign of 1898 launched to suppress the Sudanese Mahdist revolt. In this capacity he was placed in charge of the contingent of Egyptian cavalry fighting alongside Commonwealth regulars. At the start of the battle Lord Kitchener placed this contingent on the British right flank to protect a small hill there. The Sudanese initially attacked this flank and Broadwood was commended in the official dispatch back to the War Office in England for his adept leadership. He was also awarded the Order of Osmanieh (Fourth Class) as a result of this incident.[3]

Broadwood served as a cavalry officer during the Second Boer War (1899–1902). As a Brigadier General he commanded Commonwealth forces at the Surprise of Sanna's Post (aka Korn Spruit) in late March 1900. In this engagement Boer forces achieved complete tactical surprise and Broadwood's forces suffered over 150 fatalities in the resulting ambush.[4] Broadwood was mentioned in despatches dated 31 March 1900, when the commander-in-chief, Lord Roberts, described him as "commanding the 2nd Cavalry Brigade with exceptional ability and dash throughout the operations".[5] For his services during the war, he was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) on 29 November 1900,[6] but was not invested until he was back in England, by King Edward VII at Buckingham Palace on 8 August 1902.[7]

He later served as Commander of Troops in Natal, South Africa from 1903 to 1904.[2] He went on to serve as Commander of British Troops in South China in 1906.[8]

During World War I he served as Commanding General of the 1st Mounted Division from 29 September 1914. In July 1916, he was still in command when the division was reorganized as the 1st Cyclist Division.[9] He took command of the 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division, which fought at the Second Battle of Passchendaele,[10] from 20 October 1916 until he died of wounds suffered in battle on 21 June 1917.[2][11] He is buried in the Anzac Cemetery near Sailly-sur-la-Lys.[12]


  1. ^ Charterhouse Register, 1872-1900. Stedman. 1904. p. 89. Retrieved 13 February 2020. Robert George Broadwood 14 March 1862.
  2. ^ a b c d e Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  3. ^ "No. 27012". The London Gazette. 7 October 1898. p. 5863.
  4. ^ Military History Journal - Vol 12 No 2 The South African Military History Society
  5. ^ "No. 27282". The London Gazette. 8 February 1901. p. 846.
  6. ^ "No. 27306". The London Gazette. 19 April 1901. pp. 2695–2696.
  7. ^ "Court Circular". The Times (36842). London. 9 August 1902. p. 6.
  8. ^ "No. 27973". The London Gazette. 4 December 1906. p. 8538.
  9. ^ Becke 1936, p. 1
  10. ^ "57th (2nd Lancashire) Division". Informational page. Retrieved 23 February 2006.
  11. ^ Becke 1937, p. 1
  12. ^ Anzac Cemetery


  • Becke, Major A.F. (1936). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 2A. The Territorial Force Mounted Divisions and the 1st-Line Territorial Force Divisions (42–56). London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 1-871167-12-4.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Becke, Major A.F. (1937). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 2B. The 2nd-Line Territorial Force Divisions (57th–69th) with The Home-Service Divisions (71st–73rd) and 74th and 75th Divisions. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 1-871167-00-0.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
Military offices
Preceded by
Villiers Hatton
Commander of British Troops in South China
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Anderson
Preceded by
John Cecil Russell
Colonel of the 12th (Prince of Wales's Royal) Lancers
Succeeded by
Walter Howorth Greenly