Charles Tegart

Sir Charles Augustus Tegart KCIE MVO KPM JP (5 October 1881 – 6 April 1946) was an Irish police officer who served extensively in British India and Palestine.

Charles Tegart
12th Police Commissioner of Calcutta
In office
Preceded bySir Reginald Clarke
Succeeded byL. H. Colson
Colonial police officer (adviser) in Mandatory Palestine
In office
December 1937 – May 1939
Personal details
Born5 October 1881
Derry, Ireland
Died6 April 1946(1946-04-06) (aged 64)
ProfessionPolice officer

Early lifeEdit

Born in Derry on 5 October 1881, Tegart was the son of a Church of Ireland clergyman, Rev. Joseph Poulter Tegart of Dunboyne, County Meath, and his wife Georgina Johnston. He was educated at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen and briefly at Trinity College, Dublin.[1] He retained contacts there and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1933.[citation needed] Prior to his roles in India, he served as chief assistant to Ormonde Winter, the head of British Intelligence operations in Ireland during the Irish War of Independence.[citation needed]

Career in IndiaEdit

He joined the Calcutta Police in 1901, eventually becoming head of its Detective Department.[citation needed]

He was the first officer of the Indian Imperial Police (IMP) in the Council and on his report its Special Branch was created.[citation needed]

He was awarded the King's Police Medal in 1911. He became Superintendent of Police in 1908, Deputy Commissioner in 1913, Deputy-Inspector General (Intelligence) in 1918, and Commissioner of Calcutta Police from 1923 to 1931.[citation needed]

Charles Tegart tried to suppress the nationalists of India such as Jatindranath Mukherjee at Balasore in Orissa on 9 September 1915.[citation needed]

He was appointed a member of the Secretary of State's Indian Council in December 1931.[citation needed]

Career in PalestineEdit

In view of his expertise, the British authorities sent him to the British Mandate of Palestine, then in the throes of the Arab Revolt, to advise the Inspector General on matters of security. He arrived there in December 1937.[2]

In due course, he advised the construction of 77 reinforced concrete police stations and posts which could be defended against the attack, and of a frontier fence along the northern border of Palestine to control the movement of insurgents, goods, and weapons. His recommendations were accepted and 62 new "Tegart forts",[3] as they came to be known, were built throughout Palestine, however all but a few located along the Lebanese border were built after the Arab Revolt, in 1940–41.[4] Many of them are still in use, some by Israeli forces and others by Palestinian ones, while others were destroyed in various rounds of fighting.[5]

Tegart also was the mastermind behind the establishment of the Arab Investigation Centres in Palestine during the Great Arab revolt. The centres were for the interrogation of suspected Arab insurgents, and torture was frequently used during interrogations. Tactics used include the Turkish practice of falaka (beating prisoners on the soles of their feet), though some historians have claimed that there is no conclusive proof to be found in Tegart's personal papers in support of the accusations that he personally oversaw interrogation centres or that he developed new torture techniques.[2][4]

World War IIEdit

In 1942, Tegart headed up operations at the Ministry of Food in wartime Britain to combat the black market.[6]

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Tutun Mukherjee, "Colonialism, Surveillance and Memoirs of travel: Tegart's Diaries and the Andaman Cellular Jail", in Sachidananda Mohanty (ed.) Travel writing and the Empire, Katha, 2004. ISBN 81-87649-36-4. See also a review of this book[Usurped!] in The Hindu.


  1. ^ "History Ireland - An Irishman is specially suited to be a policeman". Archived from the original on 27 January 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Londonderry born imperial policeman remembered". 10 September 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  3. ^ Anton La Guardia, "Jericho Jail Creates Own Modern History", Arab News, 24 March 2006.
  4. ^ a b Seth J. Frantzman, "Tegart’s shadow" Archived 8 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Jerusalem Post, 21 October 2011.
  5. ^ Connolly, Kevin (10 September 2012). "Tegart: A tough cop in a tough world". BBC News.
  6. ^ "Charles Tegart and the forts that tower over Israel". BBC News, Jerusalem. 9 September 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2012.

Archive sourcesEdit

Police appointments
Preceded by Police Commissioner of Calcutta
Succeeded by