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Notable Individuals Of The Great War: # 2. I - L.

Other Notable Individuals Of The Great War: A-H---I-L---M-O---P-Z

N.B.: Legend of awards:- VC = Victoria Cross (highest British military award for valour; DSO = Distinguished Service Order; DSC = Distinguished Service Cross; DCM = Distinguished Conduct Medal; MC = Military Cross; MM = Military Medal; DFC = Distinguished Flying Cross; Bar = Indicates two separate awards of the same medal to the same individual.

Dr. Elsie Maude Inglis, (1864 - 1917). Scottish Women's Hospitals.
Elsie Inglis was born in Nynee Tal, India; her father was the Commissioner of Rohilcund District.

She was one of the first British female doctors (1892) and an active suffragist. At the outbreak of the Great was she founded the Scottish Women's Hospitals organisation.

Elsie Inglis' Women's Hospitals were not hospitals for treating women, but rather hospitals staffed by women for the war wounded.

Typically, the British War Office refused her offer to provide a fully female staffed and equipped military hospital in 1914. An official advised her 'My good lady, go home and sit still'.

The French were more sensible, and a unit was established at the Abbaye de Royaumont in France in December 1914. It was followed by a second at Villers Cotterets in 1917.

Meanwhile, in 1915 other women's units went to Serbia, Salonika , Corsica and, in 1916, Russia. Inglis herself served in 1916 in Serbia, and in 1917 in Russia.

Dr. Inglis died in 1917 from complications arising from an infection acquired in Russia.

Her biographer described her as mercurial and 'someone who made Florence Nightingale look a part-time care assistant in comparison'.

Winston Churchill's comment on her death was that she would 'shine forever in history'.

Brigadier Evan Maclean Jack, (1873 - 1951). Royal Engineers.
Evan Jack was a military cartographer at the outbreak of war and was immediately posted to the British Expeditionary Forces Headquarters on the Western Front as Head of the Topographical (Mapping) Section. At the time, the British battle maps of France were of the 1:80,000 scale and those of Belgium were 1:20,000 or 1:40,000, and were in limited supply.

Jack evolved a completely new kind of trigonometric survey map with new functions. Firstly, the new grid maps had to accommodate the requirement of the 'indirect fire' of the new long-range artillery. This meant that the trajectories of artillery shells could be predicted from maps with accuracy, and targets out of sight of, or concealed from, the artillery guns, could be successfully bombarded. Secondly, the new maps had to show with some accuracy the location of the enemy trench system. And, to achieve currency, had to be frequently updated by overprinting; often daily in the more active sectors. A system of transparent overlays was also developed to permit even more accurate up dating to be made. The scaling of these maps was uniformly enhanced to 1: 10,000 or 1:20:000, whilst trench maps went as high as 1:5,000. Unfortunately, until the end of 1916, the BEF commanders' fear of producing up-to-date trench maps of their own positions meant the British troops had to capture German trench maps to fully understand their own network! Which, to say the least, compromised Jack's efforts to some extent.

Brigadier Jack also organised and oversaw the printing of these maps on a huge scale both in France and back in the UK, using the most up-to-technology currently available.

It is estimated that by the end of the war that over 30 million-war maps had been printed and supplied to the BEF.

Brigadier Jack never fired a shot in anger in the Great War, but his contribution to the war effort was inestimable.

Brigadier-General James Lochhead Jack, DSO (1880 - 1962) 2nd Scottish Rifles (Cameronians).
Brigadier Jack was one of the outstanding professional soldiers of the British Army who had a meteoritic rise during the 51 months of the Great War: from a 34-year-old Captain to a 38-year-old Brigadier General.

He is notable on two counts in particular. Firstly there was his belief that military standards could be, and should be, maintained even in the depths of a cruel war. In this respect his own conduct as a British officer was exemplary, particularly during his period as a battalion commander from August 1916 to September 1918. Secondly, he religiously maintained a personal diary closely detailing trench life on the Western Front. Its later publication in 1964, after his death, in an edited version entitled, General Jack's Diary, 1914 -1918: The Trench Diary of a Brigadier-General, by the eminent historian John Terraine, was itself a notable event.

In retirement, James Jack, raised and commanded the Market Harborough Battalion of the Home Guard during the Second World War.

Captain Albert Jacka, VC, MM and bar, (1893 - 1932). Australian Imperial Force.
Albert Jacka is today remembered as the, or one of the, most famous Australian military heroes. (See: John Simpson Kirkpatrick [John Simpson] below).

He was also particularly notable as a Great War soldier who contemporaneously wrote in his personal diary what proved to be a virtual description of his citation for the award of the VC for bravery at ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli on the 20th May 1915. It read: 'Great battle at 3am. Turks captured large proportion of our trench. D Coy called into the front line. Lieut. Hamilton shot dead. I led a section of men and captured the trench. I bayoneted two Turks, shot five, took three prisoners and cleared the whole trench. I held the trench alone for 15 minutes against a heavy attack. Lieut. Crabbe informed me that I would be recommended.

Albert Jacka enlisted the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 8th September 1914 aged 21. On the 22nd December 1914 his unit departed for Europe, but was diverted to Egypt. On the 26th April 1915 Jacka's unit landed Z Beach - now ANZAC Cove - on the 26th April 1915.

On the 19th May 1915, Jacka's inspired action at Courtney's Post in the ANZAC enclave won him the first VC awarded to a member of the AIF.

Thereafter, on 27th August 1915, Jacka received his first promotion to Lance Corporal. It began a gradual progress to the rank of Captain in March 1917. In between times he had been awarded the MM at Posiéres on the Somme in August 1916. and a bar to his MM at Bullecourt, on the Hindenburg Line on the 8th April 1917. Concerning his award of the MM at Posiéres, a prominent Australian historian, C.E.W. Bean, described it thus: '�stands as the most dramatic and individual act of individual audacity in the history of the AIF'. Adding: 'Everyone who knows the facts, knows that Jacka earned the Victoria Cross three times'.

After receiving several serious war wounds requiring hospital treatment and, on one occasion, repatriation to the UK, in May 1918 Jacka was gassed and received a potentially fatal throat wound which required another repatriation, this time for long and intensive treatment. He was still in convalescence at the Armistice and only returned to Australia in September 1919 where he received a hero's welcome.

He died of nephritis (kidney failure), exacerbated by his war wounds and work stress, on 17th January 1932, aged 39 years.

Captain Baron Trevenen James, (1889 - 1915). Royal Engineers/Royal Flying Corps.
Baron James' involvement with the Great War was brief but it was highly productive.

On the 13th July 1915 he was killed by a shell fired at his aircraft whilst he flew a solo test mission over the enemy lines. He was evaluating wireless equipment that had been largely developed by himself and Captain Donald Swain Lewis, RFC.

One of his enduring achievements was the development of the 'clock code' that established the relative positions of targets for the artillery. The practice became widely used during the War for other applications, and is still widely used.

The fate of James' colleague and close collaborator, Donald Lewis, was even, if possible, more ill-fated: Lewis was shot down on the 10th April 1916 by the very guns of the battery with which he had been co-operating.

Major-General Hugh Sandham Jeudwine, (1862 - 1942) Royal Artillery.
Hugh Jeudwine was one of those Generals of the Great War who was notable for being heartily disliked by officers and other ranks alike but who, when push came to shove, had something exceptional to offer.

In his earlier career in South Africa, Jeudwine became known derogatorily as 'The Boer Crusher' and was avoided whenever possible by his contemporaries.

Transferred to the Western Front in 1914, he made himself, true to form, 'heartily disliked' by one and all in General Allenby's 5th Army.

However, when it came to the Passchendaele Offensive in 1917 he was revolutionary in asking for 'feedback' from both his officers and men so 'lessons could be learned, and improvements made'; by no means the common train of thought of the British commanders of the day.

It was also some of his ideas that went into a pamphlet (unpublished) on defensive tactics which led to success in the holding of the line against the shocks of the German Spring Offensive in 1918. In particular, it was Jeudwine's 55th Division at Givinchy in the Ypres Salient on the 9th April 1918, to whom the BEF's commander Field Marshal Haig's 'Backs to the Wall' speech most applied. The Portuguese units to 55th Division's left had broken, leaving a three-mile gap in the defence line. Concentrating his defence on the high ground, and yielding the lower lying areas so as to move to more defensible terrain, the 55th Division held the German Sixth Army and saved the day. Later, Haig acknowledged Jeudwine's Division's crucial role in the defence of Ypres and the Channel ports.

Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick, (1892 - 1915). Australian Imperial Force (AIF).
If ever there was an individual in the Great War who personified Winston Churchill's 'a riddle wrapped in puzzle inside an enigma' it was John Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick was an English merchant seaman who jumped his ship in Australia in 1910, aged 18, and spent the next four years working as an itinerant labourer. Seeing the Australian mobilisation as the means of a free boat-ride back to the UK, he volunteered for the Australian Imperial Force using the enlistment name of John Simpson. His troopship was diverted to Egypt.

In March 1915 Simpson found himself on the beach at what became to be known as Anzac Cove, on the Gallipoli Peninsular as a member of the 3rd Field Ambulance, Australian Army Medical Services, 1st Australian Division.

Even by Australian standards he was a maverick soldier, and with the acquisition of a stray donkey(s), named variably as Abdul, Murphy, Duffy or Queen Elizabeth, he became an entirely independent one-man casualty recovery unit, whilst his grateful and understanding commanding officer 'looked the other way'. Working in the highly dangerous conditions of the ANZAC enclave, he recovered hundreds of wounded soldiers and, with the help of his donkey, conveyed them to the relative safety of the Field Ambulance.

Inevitably, on the 19th May 1915, after just 24 days in action, he was killed, aged 23, by a burst of Turkish machine-gun fire in the infamous Shrapnel Alley. He was on yet another recovery mission.

As the years have passed the legend of John Simpson/Kirkpatrick and his donkey has increasingly caught the imagination of the Australian public. In terms of recognition he now possibly exceeds that of any Great War ANZAC soldier, including the VCs.

Five monuments have been erected to his memory in Australia and one in his hometown of South Shields, England. But two commendations for a VC were turned down. A 'Mentioned in Despatches' was his only official recognition at the time.

Professor Robert Jones, (1858 - 1933). Consultant, Royal Army Medical Corps.
Robert Jones was a famous orthopaedic surgeon at Liverpool University, England, at the outbreak of war.

As Director of Military Orthopaedics for the British Army he establish specialised military orthopaedic hospitals for the management, care and rehabilitation of wounded British soldiers from all the theatres of the Great War. He also employed many young and able American surgeons who were attracted to his work and philosophy.

His contribution to the recovery and rehabilitation of many wounded British soldiers was an important factor in the maintenance of morale, and permitted the majority to return to military duty or to a useful civilian life.

Private Eric Henri Kennington, (1888 - 1960). 13th Battalion, (Territorials) London Regiment (The Kensingtons).
Eric Kennington, was a professional Royal Academy artist. He only had a short war as an infantryman on the Western Front - from August 1914 to June 1915 - because he was severely injured in a non-combat accident. He was invalided out of the Army in August 1917.

However, in 1916, whilst still convalescing, he produced a painting of his fellow soldiers in the Kensingtons entitled The Kensingtons at Laventie. This painting, showing men in a state of exhaustion after battle, had an immediate impact and caused a sensation when it was put on public display. It launched Kennington as a 'war artist'.

On his release from the Army in 1917, he became an official war artist for the British War Propaganda Bureau producing iconic war pictures such as Gassed and wounded, Back to billets and The Die-hards (1st.Battalion, Middlesex Regiment).

Kennington's artwork did much to enlighten the British public to the realities of the war on the Western Front.

After the war, he was commissioned to illustrate T.E. Lawrence's highly rated book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

Admiral Roger John Brownlow Keyes, (1872 - 1945). Royal Navy.
This Great War sailor was likened by Winston Churchill to having 'the spirit of Nelson and Drake'; being of a similar anti-establishment bent. He repeated clashed with his superiors over what he considered to be lack of aggression and determination.

The strength of his case was proven in the inconclusive sea-battles of the Darndanelles Operations in 1914/15, his own early success in the Battle of the Heligoland Bight in August 1914 and his later success from January 1918 onwards with the much maligned Dover Patrol.

Admiral Keyes' constant battle with the German U-boats operating of out of the Belgian Ports, culminating with the only partially successful Zeebrugge Raid in April 1918, nonetheless had a deleterious effect on the efficacy of the operations of the German U-boats. And, particularly in the case of the Zeebruge Raid, it had a huge morale boosting effect on the civilians and the armed forces at a time when the stresses of a long war were becoming apparent and morale was relatively low.

Sergeant-Piper Daniel Logan Laidlaw, VC (1875 - 1950). 7th (Service) Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borders.
Piper Laidlaw was an ex-Regular Army soldier who re-enlisted in September 1914.

On the 25th September 1915, Laidlaw's battalion was in trenches at Hill 70, north of Lens, France, awaiting to advance behind a cloud of British generated chlorine gas. Unfortunately, the wind turned and the Scots troops hesitated. Laidlaw's commander ordered him to get the troops moving. So he jumped up onto the parapet of the trench and, parading up and down amidst bursts of machine gun-fire, played on his pipes the Scottish air 'Blue Bonnets over the Border'. Mercifully partially obscured by the gas clouds, Laidlaw's actions inspired the Scottish Borders and other adjacent units out of their trenches. Laidlaw then followed urging them on with his pipes and another tune 'The Standard on the Braes o' Mar', although by now wounded by shrapnel in both the left leg and knee. The Scottish troops obtained their objective and Laidlaw limped back to his own lines.

He was awarded the VC for this action.

Captain William Leefe-Robinson, VC (1895 - 1918). Worcestershire Regiment, attached to 39 Squadron Royal Flying Corps.
Leefe-Robinson was born in India at Kaima Betta, near Mecara. He joined the British Army, Worcester Regiment, at the outbreak of war and then transferred to the RFC.

In September 1916, he was stationed in England at 39 Home Defence Squadron's base at Sutton's Farm in Essex. Aged just 21, he took off on a night flight in a BE-2C biplane fighter on the 2nd September in search of German raider airships. He encountered one of a fleet of 16 (a wooden framed Schutte-Lanz, serial number SL.11). Immediately, at a height of 15,000 feet and a range of 500ft, he attacked expending two drums of the new explosive/incendiary Brock-Pomery ammunition but without apparent success. Approaching for a third time, and using a third ammunition drum containing the also new Buckingham incendiary bullets, he raked the airship from below. As he wheeled round, the German airship burst into flames and crashed into the ground near Cuffley, London, burning to death all the 12 crew except the Captain, Lieutnant Heinrich Mathy, who had jumped to his death.

The impact of Leefe-Robinson's success on the general public, who had greatly feared that these airships were impregnable, was tremendous, and within a very short time he was awarded the Victoria Cross. His was only the fifth VC to be awarded for active service in England.

Leefe-Robinson's flying career came to an abrupt end when his Bristol fighter was shot down in France in April 1917. Wounded, he was captured and interned by the Germans.

Repatriated in poor health after the Armistice, he succumbed to the then rampart Spanish Flu epidemic and died of cardiac failure on the 31st December 1916.

Mr. Alfred Leete, (1882 - 1933). Illustrator/cartoonist for the London Opinion newspaper.
The short-lived Alfred Lette was one of those iconic originators of the 'sideshows of war' whom we all assume had enormous influence on events but who, as later analysis tells us, have very little impact at all at the time.

Mr. Lette designed and drew the famous cartoon of Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, in full uniform calling for volunteers for his New Army that appeared on the front cover of The London Opinion newspaper. It was published on the 5th September 1914 - just a month after the Great War began.

Such was its affect on the jingoistic general public that the newspaper was inundated with requests for copies, including one from the UK Parliamentary Recruiting Committee. The committee then reissued it as a direct recruitment poster with Kitchener's addition of the words 'God Save the King'. (See: A colour reproduction of the actual poster on the WFA website: Field Marshal Kitchener of Khartoum).

The poster was only widely distributed throughout the country from the end of September 1914. So, the peak of recruitment had already passed and had slowed perceptively after the bad news and casualty lists of the Battle and Retreat from Mons began to sink in. Recruitment for the Army never again rose to the hectic scale of early August 1914.

Nevertheless, over the years the poster has held an aura of fascination and it remains, today, one of the graphic icons which instantly identify the Great War.

Major-General George MacIntosh Lindsay, DSO. (1880-1956). Rifle Brigade/Machine Gun Corps.
George Lindsay was one of those army officers who got an idea in peacetime and carried it through the entire army in wartime. Lindsay's idea was the mass deployment of the machine-gun by the infantry

In 1914, a British battalion was supplied with only two 1912 model Vickers machine-guns for its 1,000 men. And only 300 - 400 were available for the entire British Army. The Germans had many more, starting in 1914 with 12,500 of their 1908 Maxim MG 08's, a number that was increased to more than 100,000 by 1918.

Moreover, in the early years of the war the British used their machine-guns piece-meal, whilst the Germans always tended to use them more effectively grouped together, or in special batteries.

It was when Lindsay was a Instructor at the British Army School of Musketry at Hythe, England from 1913- 1915 that he first got his ideas about the potential power, and tactical value, of the machine-gun: some senior officers at the time thought its use 'unsporting'. He carried this enthusiasm with him when he was posted as instructor to the Machine Gun School in France in 1915, and then as a General Staff Officer and Chief Instructor at the Army Machine Gun School in Grantham, England in 1916. He strongly supported the establishment of an independent Machine Gun Corps in October 1915.

Throughout the war he continued his advocacy of the machine-gun, and its control at the Central level, in both an offensive and defensive role. He was also keen on its motorisation to enhance mobility. His efforts were rewarded by his appointment as Chief Instructor of the British Machine-Gun School in France. This, in turn, led to a command as the Machine-Gun Officer of 1st Army Machine-Gun Brigade in 1918, just in time for his, and others', tactics to be successfully deployed against the 1918 German Spring Offensive.

George Lindsay was awarded the DSO in 1917 and ended his career as a Major-General in the Tanks Corps.

Major William Howard Livens (1889 - 1964). Royal Engineers.
Major Livens was a civil engineer who volunteered for the army in late 1914. Subsequently he had the distinction of inventing the weapon of war - the Livens Projector - that went fastest from idea to production, just one week. It was also the cheapest to make and deploy. Literally the biggest bang for the tax-payer's buck

This invention came about due to Livens' interest in the early poison gas battles of April 1915 on the Western Front, which in turn led to his transfer to one of the newly formed Royal Engineers' Special Gas Companies. He was quickly put in command of what came to be Z (or Flammenwerfer = Flamethrower) Company which was given the responsibility of developing a British version of the German flamethrower recently introduced on the Western Front. The development did not go well as the effective range was too short. But, nothing dismayed, Livens turned the efforts of Z company to developing projectors to throw incendiaries. The first of these was a simplified version of the ancient siege mortar, and was made from a cut down 12 gallon oil drum. Instead of hurling explosive projectiles, the Livens Projector would hurl over some distance, if somewhat inaccurately, a standard War Department 3 gallon drum of lubricating oil. The detonator rigged drum would explode on impact spreading burning oil in all directions over the target.

On the 25th July 1916, at La Boiselle on the Somme, Z Coy got its chance to deploy the new weapon when the Australians were due to attack Posiéres. Under hostile fire, three sets of the projectors, totalling 80, were dug in 200 yards out in No mans land at the requisite angle of inclination. The barrage of the projectiles was highly successful in neutralising the German machine-gun posts with fire.

Z Coy quickly developed the Mark 2 version which had a longer range - 350 yards - but the BEF commanders wanted an even longer range projector. An electrical fired version was developed which travelled up to 1,300 yards. This third version was successfully used at Messines Ridge in June 1917.

The Livens Projector it was further modified to take gas canisters and these were first trialed, in secret, at Thiepval in September 1916 and Beaumont Hamel in November. The higher air concentration of poisonous gas produced by the projector (as compared from that obtained from the serried ranks of high pressure gas cylinders) was highly effective on the enemy.

The Livens Projector then was given high priority in the Munitions Factories and a fully operational Livens Projector system evolved.

Newer versions continued to be produced with the maximum range finally attaining 2,800 yards and by 1917 the Livens Projector became a standard item of weaponry for the British and Empire battalions on the Western Front.

Total production of the Livens Projector for the Allies in the Great War exceeded 150,000 units.

Other Notable Individuals Of The Great War: A-H---I-L---M-O---P-Z

Dr David Payne

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