Who's Who - Sir Henry de Beauvoir de Lisle

Sir Henry de Beauvoir de Lisle (1864-1955) served on both Gallipoli and Western Fronts during World War One, commanding 29th Division in both sectors.  His military reputation was unexceptional prior to the outbreak of war in August 1914, and was chiefly remarked upon for his considerable talents as a polo player.

In the latter capacity de Lisle brought the Durham Light Infantry to victory in the Championship of India in 1898, a remarkable feat which remains commented upon today.

In spite of his background with the light infantry de Lisle nevertheless secured a transfer to the 5th Dragoon Guards - the cavalry - in 1902, and thereafter with the 1st Dragoons.

During the First World War de Lisle initially commanded 5th (Cavalry) Brigade and then 1st (Cavalry) Division on the Western Front prior to his posting to 29th Division in the Gallipoli campaign under Sir Ian Hamilton.  Emerging with a credible reputation from the peninsular expedition (unlike many of his colleagues) he was subsequently posted back to the Western Front along with 29th Division, with whom he served during the Battle of the Somme.

De Lisle's words in reference to the 1st Newfoundland Regiment in the wake of the Somme Offensive are often quoted:

"It was a magnificent display of trained and disciplined valour, and its assault only failed of success because dead men can advance no further."

Not an especially popular commander - he was referred to as "a brute" by his commander in Gallipoli Sir William Birdwood - and he was scarcely considered more genial by his subordinate commanders - he never courted popular opinion, on one occasion going on record to complain to British Commander-in-Chief Sir Douglas Haig about Sir Edmund Allenby's conduct during the Battle of Arras on the Western Front.

After the armistice de Lisle, who was awarded the DSO, later served as Colonel of the Durham Light Infantry from October 1928.

He died in 1955.

A Battery was a group of six guns or howitzers.

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