Walter Venning

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Sir Walter Venning
Born17 January 1882[1]
London, England
Died19 June 1964(1964-06-19) (aged 82)
Sturminster Newton, Dorset
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
 British Indian Army
Years of service1901–1946
RankGeneral
Commands held2nd (Rawalpindi) Infantry Brigade
Battles/warsFirst World War
Second World War
AwardsKnight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Military Cross

General Sir Walter King Venning GCB CMG CBE MC (17 January 1882 – 19 June 1964) was a British Army officer and administrator who served in both World Wars. Known for his excellency as an administrator, he served as Quartermaster-General to the Forces from 1939 to 1942 and Director General of the British Supply Mission in Washington, D.C. from 1942 to 1945.[1]

Military career[edit]

Venning was educated at Allhallows and Clifton College, followed by the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.[1] Venning was commissioned into the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry in 1901.[2] He saw service with West African Frontier Force from 1907 to 1910.[2]

He saw active service in the First World War, earning the Military Cross in the King's 1915 Birthday Honours. He was promoted to Deputy Assistant Adjutant General at the General Headquarters of the British Expeditionary Force, and then to Assistant Adjutant General at the War Office.[2]

After the War, Venning became an Instructor at the Staff College and then in 1922 was promoted to Assistant Adjutant General at the War Office.[2] He was appointed Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General at Aldershot Command in 1927 and Deputy Adjutant & Quartermaster General at Eastern Command in India in 1929.[2] In 1931 he became commanding officer of the 2nd (Rawalpindi) Infantry Brigade in India, and then in 1934 returned to the British Army as Director of Movements and Quartering at the War Office.[2]

In the Second World War, Venning served as Quartermaster-General to the Forces from 2 February 1939[3] to 1942; in this capacity he had responsibility for the War Office Fleet, which he despatched to Dunkirk in 1940 to evacuate Allied forces.[4] According to The Times, "It was due to the superb organization which [Venning] created and directed that the mobilization of the Regular Army in 1939, the embodiment of the Territorial Army and the embarkation of the expeditibnary force were carried out with such astonishng smoothness."[1]

He retired from the army at age 60 and as a civilian served as Director General of the British Supply Mission in Washington, D.C., from 1942 to 1945.[2]

In his retirement he became Chairman of the Governors of his old school, Allhallows.

Cornerstone of Cantonment Public Library, Rawalpindi laid by Sir Walter Venning

Namesake[edit]

Venning Barracks at MoD Donnington near Telford, Shropshire is named for him.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Gen. Sir Walter Venning: Outstanding Army Administrator". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 22 June 1964. p. 12.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  3. ^ The British Army (1940). "The Quarterly Army list, July 1940". London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. p. 19.
  4. ^ World War II The People's War at bbc.co.uk
Military offices
Preceded by
Martin Turner
Colonel of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry
1939–1942
Succeeded by
Sir Daril Watson
Preceded by
Sir Reginald May
Quartermaster-General to the Forces
1939–1942
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Riddell-Webster