Field Marshal Francis Wallace Grenfell, 1st Baron Grenfell, GCB, GCMG, PC (29th April 1841 – 27th January 1925) was a British Army officer. After serving as aide-de-camp to the Commander-in-Chief, South Africa, he fought in the 9th Xhosa War, the Anglo-Zulu War and then the Anglo-Egyptian War. He went on to become Sirdar (Commander-in-Chief) of the Egyptian Army and commanded the forces at the Battle of Suakin in the December of 1888 and at the Battle of Toski in the August of 1889 during the Mahdist War. After that he became Governor of Malta and then Commander-in-Chief, Ireland before retiring in 1908.
Early life and career
Born the son of Pascoe St Leger Grenfell and Catherine Anne Grenfell (née Du Pre), Grenfell was educated at Milton Abbas School in Dorset but decided to leave school early.
Grenfell purchased a commission as an ensign in the 3rd Battalion of the 60th Royal Rifles on the 5th of August in 1859. He then purchased promotion to lieutenant on the 21st of July 1863 and to captain (in the last year in which purchase was allowed) on the 28th of October in 1871. He became aide-de-camp to Sir Arthur Cunynghame, Commander-in-Chief, South Africa, in 1874. After taking part in the Battle of Quintana in the February of 1878 during the 9th Xhosa War in 1878, he was promoted to brevet major on the 11th of November in 1878. He next fought at the Battle of Ulundi in the July of 1879 during the Anglo-Zulu War and then returned to England to become brigade major at Shorncliffe Army Camp shortly before he was promoted to brevet lieutenant colonel on the 29th of November in 1879. He became brigade major of an infantry brigade in South Africa in the April of 1881 and, having been promoted to the substantive rank of major on the 1st of July in 1881, he fought at the Battle of Tel el-Kebir in the September of 1882 during the Anglo-Egyptian War. Promoted to brevet colonel on the 18th of November 1882, he was made aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria that same year.
Grenfell became Deputy Sirdar (Commander-in-Chief) of the Egyptian Army in late 1882 and, after commanding the Egyptian troops stationed at Aswan during the Nile Expedition, he became Sirdar himself in April 1885. He was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath on the 25th of August 1885, and having led his troops at the Battle of Ginnis in the December of 1885, he was promoted to the substantive rank of lieutenant-colonel on the 7th of January in 1886.
He was advanced to Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath on 25th of November 1886. He went on to command the forces at the Battle of Suakin in the December of 1888 and at the Battle of Toski in the August of 1889 during the Mahdist War and was promoted to major-general for distinguished service in the field on the 3rd of August 1889. In recognition of the transformation he had achieved in making the Egyptian Army a successful fighting force, he was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George on leaving Egypt on the 25th of May 1892.
Returning to England Grenfell became Deputy Adjutant-General at the War Office in 1892 and Inspector General of Auxiliary Forces at the War Office in the August of 1894. He returned to Egypt to command the British forces there (under the new Sirdar) in 1897, and having been promoted to lieutenant-general on the 1st of April in 1898, he was advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on the 15th of November in 1898.
He became Governor of Malta with the local rank of general on the 1st of January in 1899 and was created Baron Grenfell, of Kilvey in the County of Glamorgan on the 15th of July in 902. He went on to command the newly created 4th Army Corps in the April of 1903 and, having been promoted to full general on the 16th of March 1904, he became Commander-in-Chief, Ireland and General Officer Commanding 3rd Army Corps in the May of 1904.
He was promoted to field marshal on retirement on the 11th of April 1908. In the May of 1910 he attended the funeral of King Edward VII and in the June of 1911 he attended the coronation of King George V.
Grenfell served as colonel of the 1st Surrey (South London) Regiment, colonel of the 2nd Regiment of Life Guards and then colonel of the 1st Regiment of Life Guards as well as, latterly, colonel commandant the King’s Royal Rifle Corps and colonel of the King’s Own Malta Regiment of Militia. He was also a founding committee member of the Pilgrims Society in 1902. He died aged 83 at Windlesham in Surrey on the 27th of January in 1925 and was buried at St Mary and All Saints Churchyard at Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire.
In 1887 Grenfell married Evelyn Wood, daughter of Major General Robert Blucher Wood; they had no children. Following the death of his first wife, he married Margaret Majendie (daughter of Lewis Majendie MP) in 1903; they had two sons and a daughter
Grenfell was awarded the Order of the Medjidie (second class) and the Order of Osmanieh (third class) on the 27th of May 1886. He was advanced to the Order of the Medjidie (first class) on the 17th of May 1888 and to the Order of Osmanieh (first class) on the 25th of July in 1892.
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Picture From “Francis Wallace Grenfell” by Commander Chas N. Robinson – Robinson, Charles N.: Celebrities of the Army, London . Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Francis_Wallace_Grenfell.jpg#/media/File:Francis_Wallace_Grenfell.jpg