On This Day…

On the 24th June 1850 Horatio Herbert Kitchener was born in Ireland

Commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1871 Kitchener served as a lieutenant with C Telegraph Troop from April 1873 until October.

At the start of World War One Kitchener was appointed Secretary of State for War. Against cabinet opinion, Kitchener correctly predicted a long war that would last at least three years, require huge new armies to defeat Germany, and cause huge casualties before the end would come.

Recruitment campaign

Kitchener stated that the conflict would plumb the depths of manpower “to the last million”. A massive recruitment campaign began, which soon featured a distinctive poster of Kitchener, taken from a magazine front cover. It may have encouraged large numbers of volunteers, and has proven to be one of the most enduring images of the war, having been copied and parodied many times since.

New armies

Kitchener built up the “New Armies” as separate units because he distrusted the Territorials but this may have been a mistaken judgement, as the British reservists of 1914 tended to be much younger and fitter than their equivalent a generation earlier.

HMS Hampshire hit

Kitchener drowned with 736 others in June 1916 when HMS Hampshire, the warship that was taking him on a mission to Russia, hit a mine off the Orkneys and sank.

Roger So Far

The Corps Centenary book ‘Roger So Far” celebrates many of the Corps’ achievements during its first 100 years.

This hardback, illustrated coffee table book is packed full of stories about people, units and events in the context of campaigns, technologies and equipment. RRP £30 with discounts for Regular, Reserve and Retired Corps members.

Buy now from the Royal Signals Museum Shop