Field-Marshal Lord Wavell (1883-1950), educated at Winchester College and
Sandhurst, was a professional soldier. He became known as an officer undeterred
by convention and as an exceptional trainer of troops. In 1939 he was given the
Middle East Command. His defeat of a numerically superior Italian army, with the
capture of 130,000 prisoners, was as remarkable as his skillful conquest of Abyssinia.
He was Viceroy of India from 1943 to 1947, and in the last years of his life in
London he became President of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Kipling,
Browning, Poetry, and Virgil Societies.
As TS Eliot wrote some years after his death, “I do not pretend to be a judge of
Wavell as a soldier … What I do know from personal acquaintance with the man,
is that he was a great man. This is not a term I use easily …”