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  • 10.00am - 5.30pm
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  • Chelsea, London

Great Commanders

Field Marshal Lord Allenby, c1925

Edmund Allenby: The bull

General Sir Edmund Allenby led the British Empire to victory in the Middle East in 1918. He successfully pioneered the combined use of infantry, cavalry and aeroplanes at the Battle of Megiddo.

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Detail from 'The Battle of Blenheim, 13 August 1704'

The Battle of Blenheim, 13 August 1704

This work of art depicts the final stages of the Battle of Blenheim. It was painted by John Wootton around 40 years after the event. Here, we take a closer look to discover more about this key moment in European history.

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Lieutenant-General John Manners, Marquess of Granby, c1763

Marquess of Granby: The benevolent soldier

Lieutenant-General John Manners, Marquess of Granby, acquired his reputation for courage and leadership during the Seven Years War. His popularity was also founded upon his well-known generosity and concern for the welfare of his men.

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General Sir Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1894

Frederick Roberts: Bobs

Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts was one of Britain’s most successful military commanders of the 19th century, winning victories during the Second Afghan War and revitalising the British campaign in the Boer War. 

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Field Marshal Auchinleck, c1947

Claude Auchinleck: The auk

After initial successes in North Africa during the Second World War, Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck transferred to India as Commander-in-Chief. His unstinting logistical support there was vital to the Allied re-conquest of Burma.

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General Sir Thomas Fairfax, c1645

Thomas Fairfax: A man of honour

General Sir Thomas Fairfax was arguably the most important general of the British Civil Wars. As Commander-in-Chief of the New Model Army, he played a key role in defeating the Royalists.

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Bust of Lieutenant-General Colin Campbell KCB, 1858

Colin Campbell: A soldier of coolness and precision

From humble beginnings, Field Marshal Sir Colin Campbell rose to lead the Highland Brigade in the Crimean War and was in command of the 'Thin Red Line' at Balaklava. He later led a relief army with great distinction during the Indian Mutiny of 1857.

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Major-General Robert Sale, c1845

Robert Sale: Fighting Bob

Major-General Sir Robert Sale served in several important campaigns on the Indian subcontinent. He skillfully commanded the besieged garrison at Jalalabad during the First Afghan War, before being killed in action in the First Sikh War.

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Field Marshal Gerald Templer, 1958

Gerald Templer: The smiling tiger

Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer commanded infantry and armoured divisions during the Second World War. He later went on to lead a successful counter-insurgency operation in Malaya.

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General Jan Smuts, 1918

Jan Smuts: The warrior-statesman

Field Marshal Jan Christiaan Smuts successfully led troops against Britain in the Boer War. He later commanded the South African Defence Force fighting alongside British soldiers in several First World War campaigns.

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Oliver Cromwell, c1653

Oliver Cromwell: Lord Protector

Lieutenant-General Oliver Cromwell was a natural cavalry leader. He played a vital role in Parliament’s victories at the Battles of Marston Moor and Naseby, before leading successful campaigns in Ireland and Scotland.

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General Herbert Kitchener, 1899

Herbert Kitchener: The taskmaster

Field Marshal Herbert Kitchener was famous for colonial victories in the Sudan and South Africa. Later, he helped build Britain’s first mass army during the First World War.

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Major Herbert 'Blondie' Hasler and a colleague paddling a canoe, c1942

Herbert ‘Blondie’ Hasler: A Cockleshell Hero

Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert ‘Blondie’ Hasler was an inventor, pioneering yachtsman and special forces canoeist. In December 1942, he led the daring ‘Cockleshell Heroes’ raid on Bordeaux harbour.

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