Sir Charles Townsend Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1861 - 1924 *** Full Name: Charles Vere Ferrers Townsend *** Occupation: British Imperial Soldier *** Date of Birth: Sir Charles Townsend was born on February 21st 1861 *** Place of Birth: Sir Charles Townsend was born in *** Family background: His father was Charles Thornton Townsend and his mother Louise Graham *** Early life and childhood: He grew up with a very military based family *** Education: Sir Charles Townsend was very well educated at Cranleigh School and attended the Royal Military College at Sandhurst ***
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 1: Sir Charles Townsend was born on February 21st 1861 and during the 19th century period in history when many empires across the globe collapsed, the Spanish, first and second French, Holy Roman, Mughal and Chinese but the British and Russian Empires, the United States and German Empire where on the rise.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 2: His first commission was in 1881 with the Royal Marine Light Infantry.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 3: In 1884 he would serve in the Sudan Expedition and in December of 1885 he would be appointed to being on probation with the Indian Staff Corps before being permanently appointed in January of 1886.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 4: He would go on to serve in 1891 on the Hunza Naga expedition.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 5: In 1894 he would entertain George Curzon “through a long evening with French songs to the accompaniment of a banjo” having become commander of the newly built fort at Gupis.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 6: With the great assistance of London’s Fleet Street press Townsend became a household name and a British Imperial hero by the coverage of his activities during his command of a besieged garrison at the Siege of Chitral Fort on the North West Frontier during 1895.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 7: As a Commander Officer of the 12th Sudanese Battalion attached to the British Egyptian army, Townsend fought in the Battle of Atbara in the Sudan as well as the Battle of Omdurman in 1898.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 8: In 1900 he served in the Second Boer War in which he received promotion to Assistant Adjutant General on Staff of the Military Governor for the Orange Free State before he transferred later that year to the Royal Fusiliers.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 9: In 1904 he would receive a promotion to colonel when he became the military attaché in 1905 in Paris. He later transferred to King’s Shropshire Light Infantry the following year.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 10: During 1907 in India he became Assistance Adjutant General for the 9th Division and in South Africa in 1908 he became the commander of the Orange River Colony District.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 11: He would receive a promotion to brigadier general in 1909 and in 1911 promotion to major-general. He would be appointed to General Officer Commanding the East Anglian Division in the same year.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 12: In India in 1913 he became Commander of Jhanzi Brigade and also Commander of the Rawal Pindi Brigade in that same year.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 13: By the Spring of 1915 he was promoted to the rank of Major-General and given command of the 6th (Poona) Division in Mesopotamia. His mission was to protect the British Empire’s production of oil and all assets in Persia from any and all Ottoman Imperial attacks.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 14: Under direct orders from Commanding Officer General Sir John Nixon, Townsend was charged with capturing the town of Amarah which was done with little fighting. He was next tasked with the capture of another town further down the River Tigris, Kut-al-Amara, which was also taken relatively easily.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 15: The press coverage of these successes where greatly received in Britain as the war in Europe and Gallipoli were going far from well.Sir Charles Townsend Fact 17: Having sent out petitions for immediate assistance and numerous attempts made to reach the town, Townsend was forced to surrender the town to the Ottoman forced as they were out of food.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 16: However, once they had established themselves in Kut-al-Amara they would in turn find themselves being besieged by the Ottoman forces. The town was under constant fire from all directions for five months solid.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 18: From this point forward the 6th (Poona) Division no longer existed and would be removed the British Empires Order of Battle.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 19: He would be held as a prisoner of war until wars end in 1918.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 20: Post war, he resigned from the military. He published his memoirs, My Campaign in Mesopotamia and would attempt to run for office in the by-election and won a term in Parliament as Member of Parliament for The Wrekin.
Sir Charles Townsend Fact 21: Sir Charles Townsend died on May 18th 1924 aged sixty three years.
List of Awards given to Sir Charles Townsend: Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath *** Distinguished Service Order ***
Influence and Legacy: It would later transpire that nearly half of the men under his command when they surrendered at Kut were either brutally murdered by their captors or died of disease. He was also found to have lied about the state of their supplies when he requested immediately relief during the siege. His reputation would suffered irreparable damage and he died in disgrace.