William Furse

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Sir William Furse
Lieutenant General Sir William Furse
Staines, Middlesex[1]
Died1953 (aged 87 or 88)
AllegianceUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
RankLieutenant General
Commands held9th (Scottish) Division
Battles/warsSecond Boer War
World War I
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order
Spouse(s)Jean Adelaide Furse
ChildrenJudith Furse
Roger Furse
David Furse
Diane Furse

Lieutenant General Sir William Thomas Furse, KCB, KCMG, DSO (21 April 1865 – 31 May 1953) was a Master-General of the Ordnance.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Furse was born in Staines, Middlesex, the second son of the Ven. Charles Furse (born Johnson), Archdeacon of Westminster, and Jane Diana Monsell, second daughter of John Samuel Bewley Monsell, vicar of Egham. He was educated at Eton College and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. The artist Charles Wellington Furse and Rt. Rev. Michael Furse were his younger brothers.[2][1]

Military career[edit]

Furse was commissioned into the Royal Artillery as a lieutenant on 5 July 1884.[3] He was Aide-de-Camp to Lord Roberts from 1891 to 1893,[3] and was promoted to captain on 30 May 1893.[4]

He served during the Second Boer War as a Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General (D.A.Q.M.G.) at Army Headquarters,[3] and was promoted to major on 15 March 1900. Following the end of the war in June 1902, Furse was on 15 October 1902 appointed D.A.Q.M.G. to the 2nd Army Corps based at Salisbury Plain.[5][6] In 1911 he was appointed Commander 12th (Howitzer) Brigade Royal Field Artillery.[3]

He served in World War I initially as a General Staff Officer on the British Expeditionary Force and then as General Officer Commanding 9th (Scottish) Division from 1915.[3] He was made Master-General of the Ordnance in 1916; in this capacity he opposed the introduction of the Madsen machine gun, preferring the Lewis gun.[7] He retired in 1920.[3]

He was the father of the artist and designer Roger Furse and the actress Judith Furse.[8]


  1. ^ a b 1871 England Census
  2. ^ a b "Obituary: Lt.-Gen. Sir William Furse". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 1 June 1953. p. 8.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Sir William Thomas Furse Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  4. ^ Hart′s Army list, 1903
  5. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence - The Second Army Corps". The Times (36903). London. 20 October 1902. p. 8.
  6. ^ "No. 27487". The London Gazette. 24 October 1902. p. 6739.
  7. ^ Hansard 29 May 1918
  8. ^ "Judith Furse – A Gay Nun?". powell-pressburger.org. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
Military offices
Preceded by
George Thesiger
General Officer Commanding the 9th (Scottish) Division
September 1915–December 1916
Succeeded by
Henry Lukin
Preceded by
Sir Stanley von Donop
Master-General of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
Sir John Du Cane