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Lieutenant General Sir John Spencer Ewart KCB (22 March 1861 – 19 September 1930) was a Scottish officer in the British Army who became Adjutant-General to the Forces.[2]

Sir Spencer Ewart
Ewart circa 1880
Birth nameJohn Spencer Ewart
Born22 March 1861
Tatenhill, Staffordshire, England[1]
Died19 September 1930(1930-09-19) (aged 69)
Langholm, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
AllegianceUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
RankLieutenant General
Commands heldScottish Command
Battles/warsBattle of Tel el-Kebir
Second Boer War
First World War
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath

Early life and educationEdit

Ewart was born in Tatenhill near Burton-on-Trent into a distinguished Scottish family of military officers, the second son of General Sir John Alexander Ewart and Frances Stone. His father was aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria and a veteran of the Crimean War and Siege of Lucknow who lost his left arm at Cawnpore. His father was the son of Lieutenant-General John Frederick Ewart and grandson of diplomat Joseph Ewart and Sir Charles Brisbane. His uncles included Lieutenant-General Charles Brisbane Ewart and Vice-Admiral Charles Joseph Frederic Ewart, and his younger brother was Admiral Arthur Wartensleben Ewart.[2]

He was educated at Marlborough College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.[2]

Military careerEdit

Spencer Ewart was commissioned into the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders in 1881.[3]

He served with his regiment in Egypt and fought at the Battle of Tel el-Kebir in 1882.[4] He was also involved in the Nile Expedition in 1884 and served with the Sudan Frontier Field Force from 1885 to 1886.[3] He served as a staff officer in the Second Boer War in South Africa,[3] and returned to the United Kingdom after the end of that war in July 1902.[5] The Commander-in-Chief in South Africa, Lord Kitchener, wrote in a despatch in June 1902 how Ewart was "a Staff officer of considerable ability. He has rendered good service in connection with the distribution and movements of troops."[6] For his service he was created a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the October 1902 South Africa Honours list.[7]

After his return from South Africa, he was appointed Assistant Military Secretary and received the substantive rank of colonel on 15 October 1902.[8] In 1904 he was appointed as Military Secretary and in 1906 moved on to be Director of Military Operations at the War Office.[3] In 1910 he was appointed Adjutant-General to the Forces: he resigned in March 1914 over the Curragh Incident when British officers stationed at the Curragh Camp near Dublin made it clear that they would not want to march against Ulstermen in the north.[4] He was appointed General Officer Commanding Scottish Command in 1914, a post he held until 1918: he retired in 1920.[3]

Ewart was an Aide-de-Camp General to King George V from 1910 to 1914.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1891, Ewart married Susan Frances Platt, the daughter of Major George William Platt, formerly of Dunallan House, Bridge of Allan. They had one daughter, Marion Frances Ewart, who in 1919 married Captain Ian Munro of the Cameron Highlanders.[2]

He died at his seat, Craigeleuch, in Langholm, Dumfriesshire.[2]


  1. ^ 1911 England Census
  2. ^ a b c d e "Obituary: Lieut.-General Sir J. S. Ewart". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 20 September 1930. p. 12.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Sir John Spencer Ewart Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  4. ^ a b Scots at War
  5. ^ "The Army in South Africa - Troops returning home". The Times (36814). London. 8 July 1902. p. 11.
  6. ^ "No. 27459". The London Gazette. 29 July 1902. pp. 4835–4836.
  7. ^ "No. 27490". The London Gazette. 31 October 1902. p. 6897.
  8. ^ "No. 27483". The London Gazette. 17 October 1902. p. 6569.
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Ronald Lane
Military Secretary
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur Wynne
Preceded by
James Grierson
Director of Military Operations
Succeeded by
Henry Wilson
Preceded by
Sir Ian Hamilton
Adjutant General
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Sclater
Preceded by
Sir James Wolfe Murray
GOC-in-C Scottish Command
Succeeded by
Sir Frederick McCracken