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Horatio Kitchener

Field Marshal Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener (born June 24, 1850; died June 5, 1916), better known as Kitchener of Khartoum, was a British soldier.

Kitchener was born in County Kerry, Ireland. Educated in Switzerland and at the Royal Military Academy[?] he fought with the French in the Franco-Prussian War before he joined the Royal Engineers in 1871. He served in Palestine, Egypt, Cyprus, Anatolia and the Sudan before earning national fame on his second tour in the Sudan from 1896 when he headed the victorious British at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898. He was made Earl Kitchener of Khartoum for his successes.

During the Second Boer War (1899-1902) Kitchener arrived with Frederick Roberts[?] and the massive British reinforcements of December 1899. Kitchener was made overall commander in November 1900. Following the defeat of the conventional Boer forces Kitchener devised the successful strategies to crush the Boer guerrillas. In a brutal campaign he removed the civilian support from the Boers by destroying Boer farms, building blockhouses and moving civilians into the first concentration camps. Despite the success of his strategy he was heavily criticised at home. Following the Treaty of Vereeninging in 1902, Kitchener soldiered in India (1902-1909) and then as Viceroy of Egypt and the Sudan (1911-1914).

During World War I, Herbert Asquith quickly appointed Lord Kitchener as Secretary of War. Kitchener headed a massive recruitment campaign, featuring a distinctive poster of himself. Kitchener did not believe the war would end quickly and warned of millions of casualties. He did not favour campaigns outside of the main Western Front but he was convinced by Winston Churchill to support the disastrous Gallipoli campaign in 1915-1916. That failure combined with the ammunition crisis was to deal Kitchener's reputation a heavy blow; he offered to resign but was refused although his powers were curtailed. In May 1916 Kitchener was sent to Russia on a diplomatic mission. On June 5, 1916, his vessel, the cruiser HMS Hampshire, struck a mine and sank west of the Orkney Islands. Kitchener, his staff and 643 of the crew of 655 were drowned.

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