A Study in Leadership

A Study in Leadership

Field Marshal Cavan - The Reluctant Chief, 1865-1946

Simon Doughty

This book examines the life of a regimental soldier who lacked personal ambition and yet became the professional head of the Army 100 years ago.
Date Published :
January 2023
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
16-20 b/w ills, 2 maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781913336141
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 9.2 X 6.1 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


Rudolph Lambart, 10th Earl of Cavan, was a Grenadier Guardsman who served in the Boer War, later writing ‘..we heard as many bullets in the whole war as we heard in one day of the 1915–16 battles’. He retired in 1912 to be Master of the Hertfordshire Hunt, where he might have stayed had it not been for the outbreak of war in 1914. He commanded a brigade, then the Guards Division, where he took the young Prince of Wales under his wing, and later an army in Italy. In 1922 he became Chief of the Imperial General Staff, an appointment for which he did not feel qualified. He presided at a difficult time, in an era of public indifference and defense cuts. In 1939 he was back in uniform as a member of the Home Guard.

Cavan was a leader who believed in order, discipline, and the importance of communicating clearly; the perfect Guardsman. He was well-read, learnt languages wherever he went, was charming and showed style, as demonstrated by the occasion when his ‘cigar saved the situation’ in November 1914. Had it not been for The Great War, he would have retired to the hunting field, yet he served throughout the war, becoming a Field Marshal. Then, at the beginning of another war, at the age of 75, he was taking up his spade to dig trenches to defend the approaches to Ayot St Lawrence from the invader.

About The Author

Simon Doughty was commissioned into The Life Guards in 1976 and retired from the army in 2009. He is a graduate of War Studies at King's College London and is a member of the British Commission for Military History, the Society of Army Historical Research and the Army Records Society. As a battlefield guide, he has worked for Holts Battlefield & History Tours and occasionally takes friends on visits to First and Second World War battlefields. He is the editor of The Guards Magazine and the author of The Guards Came Through; The Guards Regiments in The Great War.

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