General Sir John Philip Du Cane, GCB (5 May 1865 – 5 April 1947) was a British Army officer. He held high rank during the First World War, most notably as Major General Royal Artillery at General Headquarters in 1915 when the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was expanding rapidly, as General Officer Commanding XV Corps 1916–18, then from April 1918 as liaison officer between Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig and the Allied Generalissimo Ferdinand Foch. After the war he was Master-General of the Ordnance.


John Du Cane

Major General Sir John Philip Du Cane by Francis Dodd
Born(1865-05-05)5 May 1865
South Kensington, London, England
Died5 April 1947(1947-04-05) (aged 81)
Westminster, London, England
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1884–1931
UnitRoyal Artillery
Commands heldMalta
British Army of the Rhine
Western Command
XV Corps
Battles/warsSecond Boer War
First World War
AwardsKnight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Mentioned in Despatches

Military career edit

Du Cane was commissioned a lieutenant in the Royal Artillery in February 1884,[1] promoted to captain on 4 March 1893, and to major on 14 February 1900.[2][3]

Group portrait of officers at the British Staff College at Camberley, England, 1906. John Du Cane, then a colonel, is sat in the front row, fifth from the left.

Du Cane served in the Second Boer War, and was appointed a staff officer for lines of communication in South Africa in September 1900.[4] Following the end of hostilities in early June 1902, he left Cape Town on board the SS Assaye,[5] and arrived at Southampton the next month. He was mentioned in despatches and received a brevet promotion to lieutenant colonel in the South Africa honours list published on 26 June 1902.[6]

He then served at the Staff College, Camberley, as Deputy Assistant Adjutant General from 1905−1907.[7]

Du Cane became Commander Royal Artillery for 3rd Division in 1911.[1]

Du Cane served in the First World War initially as a brigadier general on the General Staff of III Corps.[1] In 1915, as Major General Royal Artillery, he was Artillery Advisor at General Headquarters; William Robertson, Chief of Staff to the BEF in 1915, later stated that he had laid the organisational groundwork for the massive expansion of BEF artillery during the war.[8][1] He was posted to the Ministry of Munitions in 1916 and then became General Officer Commanding XV Corps in 1916.[1] In that capacity, he was closely involved in Operation Hush, a planned invasion on the Belgian coast.[9] On 12 April 1918, against the backdrop of the German "Georgette" Offensive and Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig's demands for French reinforcements, he was appointed liaison officer between Haig and the Allied Generalissimo General Foch.[10]

After the war, Du Cane made his home in London at 4 Upper Brook Street, Mayfair.[11] Du Cane was appointed Master-General of the Ordnance in 1920 and then General Officer Commanding-in-Chief for Western Command in 1923.[1] He was General Officer Commanding-in-Chief for British Army of the Rhine from 1924 until 1927 when he became Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Malta. He was also Aide-de-Camp General to the King from 1926 to 1930. He retired in 1931.[1]

General election 1923: Horncastle [12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Samuel Pattinson 10,954 54.5 +0.4
Unionist John Du Cane 9,135 45.5 −0.4
Majority 1,819 9.0 +0.8
Turnout 20,089 80.9 −0.6
Registered electors 24,821
Liberal hold Swing +0.4

Works edit

  • DuCane, Lt. General Sir John, Marshal Foch, London: privately printed, 1920

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  2. ^ "No. 27175". The London Gazette. 20 March 1900. p. 1878.
  3. ^ Hart′s Army list, 1903
  4. ^ Hart′s Army list, 1901
  5. ^ "The Army in South Africa – Troops returning home". The Times. No. 36804. London. 26 June 1902. p. 10.
  6. ^ "No. 27448". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 June 1902. pp. 4191–4194.
  7. ^ Travers, Tim (2009). The Killing Ground. Pen and Sword. p. 284. ISBN 978-1844158898.
  8. ^ Robertson p222-3
  9. ^ The Long, Long Trail
  10. ^ Harris 2008, pp. 469–471.
  11. ^ "Upper Brook Street: North Side Pages 200-210 Survey of London: Volume 40, the Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair, Part 2 (The Buildings). Originally published by London County Council, London, 1980". British History Online. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
  12. ^ The Liberal Year Book, 1931

Sources edit

Military offices
Preceded by GOC XV Corps
Succeeded by
Preceded by Master-General of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
Preceded by GOC-in-C Western Command
Succeeded by
Preceded by Commander-in-Chief of the British Army of the Rhine
Succeeded by
Government offices
Preceded by Governor of Malta
Succeeded by