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Henry Hugh Tudor
File:Henry Hugh Tudor.jpg
Lieutenant general Sir Henry Hugh Tudor
Born 1871
Died 25 September 1965 (aged 93 or 94)
Place of birth Devon
Place of death St. John's, Newfoundland
Allegiance Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1890-1924
Rank Lieutenant general
Battles/wars Second Boer War
First World War
Irish War of Independence
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Lieutenant general Sir Henry Hugh Tudor KCB, CMG (1871–1965) was a British soldier who fought as a junior officer in the Second Boer War (1899–1902), and as a senior officer in the First World War (1914–18), but is now remembered chiefly for his part in the Irish War of Independence (1919–21) and the Palestine Police.

Early Career: India and South AfricaEdit

Born in Newton Abbot,[1] Devon, England in 1871, he enrolled in the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich in 1888, and was commissioned in the Royal Horse Artillery in 1890. He was stationed in India from 1890 until 1897, when he returned to England.

He was sent to South Africa during the Second Boer War where he was badly wounded at the Battle of Magersfontein (11 December 1899), but recovered and returned to duty. His extensive service in South Africa was reflected by his campaign medals: the Queens's South Africa Medal with four clasps, and the King’s South Africa Medal with two.

After the South African war ended, Tudor went back to India for another five years (1905–10), and then was posted to Egypt, where he stayed until the start of the First World War.

First World WarEdit

Tudor served on the Western Front from December 1914 to the Armistice, rising from the rank of Captain in charge of an artillery battery to the rank of Major General and the command of the 9th (Scottish) Division. He continued to command this formation after 11 November 1918, as part of the Army of the Rhine, until the 9th Division was disbanded in March 1919.

Tudor was a professional and forward-looking artilleryman: historian Paddy Griffith has described him as an "expert tactician." He was a fighting general who spent a lot of time in the front lines: he was almost killed at the Third Battle of Ypres in October 1917, when a shell fragment hit him in the head and smashed his helmet. He was the first British general to use smoke shells to create screens, and one of the first advocates of predicted artillery fire. He suggested an attack with tanks in the Cambrai sector in July 1917, and his artillery ideas helped lay the foundation for the British breakthrough in the battle there in November. In addition, he was almost captured by the Germans during Operation Michael, the first German offensive in the spring of 1918.


After the 9th Division was disbanded, Tudor was posted once again to Egypt and India. In May 1920, however, he was appointed 'Police Adviser' to the Dublin Castle administration in Ireland and promoted to Lieutenant-General. His chief qualification for this post was his friendship with the Secretary of State for War, Winston Churchill.[citation needed] Tudor had met Churchill in Bangalore in 1895, and the two men became lifelong friends. During the brief period when Churchill had served as an infantry officer on the Western Front in early 1916, he was posted to the same sector as Tudor, near Ploegsteert Wood.[2]

The SituationEdit

When Tudor took up his new post, the Irish War of Independence was approaching a crisis: indeed, within a couple of months, the British regime in Ireland was on the verge of collapse. The Royal Irish Constabulary's morale and effective strength were both declining: Irish Republican Army guerrillas were ambushing police patrols, burning police barracks, and organizing boycotts of police and their families. Railway workers went on strike, refusing to move trains that carried armed police or troops. Merchants refused to serve police customers. Police recruits and servants were being attacked and intimidated, and women who were friendly with police had their hair cut off. Police property was wrecked and stolen: in some cases, police bicycles were taken away while their owners were in church.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin was building an alternative state—the Irish Republic proclaimed during the Easter Rising of 1916. Local governments were acknowledging the authority of the First Dáil. IRA Volunteers were acting as Republican police. Republican courts were adjudicating both civil and criminal cases. In many parts of Ireland, the Republic was becoming a reality.

Tudor's assignment, as he saw it, was to raise police morale, to punish crime, and to restore law and order: "I had nothing to do with politics," he wrote years later, "and don't care a hoop of hell what measure of Home Rule they got." At a Cabinet conference on 23 July 1920, while his Dublin Castle colleagues were calling for an offer of Dominion Home Rule (i.e. Canadian-style independence, as eventually negotiated in December 1921, as opposed to the devolved Parliament within the UK elected in May 1921), Tudor was confident that, "given the proper support, it would be possible to crush the present campaign of outrage." "The whole country was intimidated," he said, "and would thank God for strong measures."[3]

The Government chose the hard line: in 9 August 1920, Parliament passed the Restoration of Order in Ireland Act, which gave Dublin Castle the power to govern by regulation; to replace the criminal courts with courts martial; to replace coroner's inquests with military courts of inquiry; and to punish disaffected local governments by withholding grants of money.

Tudor's LeadershipEdit

As Police Adviser, Tudor assumed control of Ireland's police forces, and eventually styled himself "Chief of Police". Under his administration, the police were militarized: indeed, at the Cabinet conference of 23 July 1920, Tudor had conceded that the RIC would soon become ineffective as a police force; "but as a military body he thought they might have great effect." Like his patron, Churchill, Tudor gave police posts to his military friends and colleagues: Brigadier-General Ormonde Winter, for example, became Deputy Police Adviser and Head of Intelligence; "He had once been my Captain in a battery at Rawalpindi," said Tudor, "and we had done a lot of racing together at various meetings in India." The beleaguered RIC was reinforced with British ex-soldiers and sailors—the notorious 'Black and Tans'. With the army stretched very thin by the deployment of 2 extra divisions to Iraq, and the threatened British coal strike in September 1920, Tudor created the Auxiliary Division, a temporary gendarmerie composed of ex-officers, whose numbers peaked at 1,500 in July 1921, and commanded by a pair of experienced colonial warriors: Brigadier-General F. P. Crozier and Brigadier-General E. A. Wood.[4][5]

Reprisals and IndisciplineEdit

But while working hard to rebuild the RIC's numbers and morale, Tudor did comparatively little to restore its discipline. When police and auxiliaries were killed in ambushes and attacks, their comrades often responded with reprisals against Irish Republicans and their communities: some of these reprisals were spontaneous "police riots," but others were organized and led by local police officials. Tudor's own response to these outbreaks of arson and murder was weak and ambiguous: in a memorandum on discipline dated 12 November 1920, Tudor admonished his men to maintain "the highest discipline", while reassuring them that they would have "the fullest support in the most drastic action against that band of assassins, the so-called IRA."

Macready (Commander-in-Chief, Ireland) had been initially impressed by Tudor (June 1920) and thought he was getting rid of “incompetent idiots” from senior police positions. Macready and the CIGS Henry Wilson became increasingly concerned that Tudor, with the connivance of Lloyd George, who loved to drop hints to that effect, was operating an unofficial policy of killing IRA men in reprisal for the deaths of pro-Crown forces. However Macready also told Wilson that the Army was arranging “accidents” for suspected IRA men, but not telling the politicians as he did not want them “talked and joked about after dinner by Cabinet Ministers”.[6]

Tudor's complicity in the reprisals was implied by Macready when he wrote:

assassination is rife and the G.S. [General Staff] have now adopted it a lá Tudor and Co. [7]

After a Roman Catholic priest was shot dead by an insane Auxiliary in December 1920, a Castle official noted in his diary that he felt some sympathy for the killer, "as these men have undoubtedly been influenced by what they have taken as the passive approval of their officers from Tudor downwards to believe that they will never be punished for anything."[8] After the killing of 16 Black and Tans in an ambush at Macroom, County Cork, martial law was declared (10 December 1920) in the four Munster Counties of Cork, Tipperary, Kerry and Limerick. On 23 December Irish Home Rule became law, to the delight of the Opposition Asquith Liberal faction and Labour Party. Tudor attended a special conference (29 December) along with Wilson, Macready and John Anderson (Head of the Civil Service in Dublin) at which they all advised that no truce should be allowed for elections to the planned Dublin Parliament, and that at least four months of martial law would be required to restore order – the date for the elections was therefore set for May 1921. Martial law was extended over the rest of Munster (Counties Waterford and Clare) and part of Leinster (Counties Kilkenny and Wexford).[9]

Reprisals had become a scandal in Britain. In the first half of 1921, police discipline improved, and police reprisals became less common, but this improvement came too late: the political damage was irreversible. By 1921 Macready had lost confidence in Tudor (who was also being criticised by Robertson, under whom he had previously served on the Rhine) and thought the RIC had become unreliable. The Irish War of Independence reached a climax in the first half of 1921, with deaths of pro-Crown forces running at approximately double the rate of those in the second half of 1920.[10] By May 1921, it was clear that the Government's strategy of combining limited repression with limited concessions had failed completely.

With the Irish elections and the potential Triple Alliance strike in Britain out of the way, an extra 17 army battalions were sent (bringing British strength up to 60,000) in June and July 1921, but the politicians drew back from the brink, and faced with the choice of either waging a war of reconquest or negotiating peace with the insurgents, they opened secret talks with James Craig and Eamon de Valera.[11] A Truce was agreed in July 1921, and a Treaty signed in December.[12]


Tudor remained Chief of Police until his forces had been demobilized and the RIC was disbanded. In May 1922, Churchill (who was now Secretary of State for the Colonies) found a new post for his friend in the troubled Palestine Mandate, where Tudor became Director of Public Safety, with the temporary rank of Air Vice-Marshal. The following month, Tudor became the air officer commanding the RAF's Palestine Command. He remained as AOC until February 1924 when he handed over to Air Commodore Eugene Gerrard.[13] Interestingly, while in Palestine, Tudor created a Gendarmerie whose European section included many former Black and Tans and Auxiliaries.

Later lifeEdit

In 1923, Tudor was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. In 1924, he retired both from his position as Palestine's Director of Public Safety, and from the Army. He then emigrated to Newfoundland, where he remained for the rest of his life.

In the 1950s, Tudor's presence in Newfoundland became known to the Irish Republican Army and two of its members were sent to St. John's to assassinate him. Their planned assassination was not carried out after consultations with a local Catholic priest, Rev. Joseph McDermott, who informed them that their escape plan was bound to fail.[14]

Tudor died of natural causes in St. John's, Newfoundland on 25 September 1965. His body lies in the Anglican-Protestant graveyard next to Her Majesty's Penitentiary on Forest Road.


In 2012 Newfoundland based independent audio program producers, Battery Radio, produced a story on Tudor, entitled 'A Bullet For The General'. The program was broadcast on RTÉ Radio in January 2012, on CBC Radio in March 2012[15] and ABC Radio National in June 2013.[16]


  1. FreeBMD. Note - many sources quote his birthplace as "Newton Abbey". However this is incorrect, possibly arising from either a mis-spelling by Biographers who did not/ do not know Devon's geography and history; - OR confusion again by foreign authors with Newtownabbey which is a large town north of Belfast in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. A survey of the Abbeys in Devonshire shows that the only Devon Abbey which might have fitted was Torre Abbey. However, this Foundation was closed and destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, and none of the structures survived even in 1871. The possible true location of the birth is either Old Forde House in the SE corner of the town (now owned by Teignmouth Council) - or Bradley Manor, a 15th-century manor house across town to the north-west, (now in the care of the National Trust). An alternative is Hollymount Rectory, Wolborough, Newton Abbot, where the Rev Harry Tudor was living in 1881,"England and Wales Census, 1881," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 Jun 2013), Harry T Tudor, 1881.
  2. Joy Cave, "A Gallant Gunner General," esp. pp. 92, 97, and 102.
  3. David Leeson, "The Black and Tans: British Police in the First Irish War, 1920-21," p. 47
  4. Leeson, "Black and Tans," pp. 47-48.
  5. Jeffery 2006 p264-5
  6. Jeffery 2006 p265-6
  7. p120 Improving the law Enforcement-Intelligence Community Relationship quoting General Sir Nevil Macready, GOCinC, British Forces Ireland, personal letter to Lt.-Gen. Sir Hugh Jeudwine, Commander of 5th Division, April 1922, Imperial War Museum (IWM), papers of Lt.-Gen. Sir Hugh Jeudwine, 72/82/2
  8. Leeson, "Black and Tans," p. 226
  9. Jeffery 2006 p267-9
  10. Jeffery 2006 p270-1
  11. Jeffery 2006 p271-3
  12. Leeson, "Black and Tans," pp. 78-79
  13. Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation
  14. Tim Pat Coogan, "Wherever Green Is Worn: The Story of the Irish Diaspora" pp.432


  • Joy Cave MS "A Gallant Gunner General: The Life and Times of Sir H H Tudor, KCB, CMG, together with an edited version of his 1914-1918 War Diary, 'The Fog of War,' Imperial War Museum, Misc 175 Item 2658.
  • "A Woman of No Importance" [pseud. Mrs. C. Stuart Menzies], As Others See Us (London: Herbert Jenkins, 1924).
  • "Periscope" [pseud. G. C. Duggan], "The Last Days of Dublin Castle," Blackwood's Magazine 212, no. 1282 (August 1922).
  • Jeffery, Keith (2006). Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson: A Political Soldier. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-820358-2. 
  • Bert Riggs, "Longtime resident fled from IRA; distinguished British officer served in First World War and Ireland before coming to Newfoundland," St. John's Telegram, 25 September 2001, p. A11.
  • David Leeson, "The Black and Tans: British Police in the First Irish War, 1920-21," (PhD: McMaster University, 2003).
  • Tim Pat Coogan, "Wherever Green Is Worn: The Story of the Irish Diaspora", Palgrave Macmillan (18 October 2002)
  • Improving the law Enforcement-Intelligence Community Relationship National Defense Intelligence College Washington, DC June 2007

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
Cyril Blacklock
General Officer Commanding the 9th (Scottish) Division
Succeeded by
Post Disbanded
New title
Command established
Air Officer Commanding Palestine Command
Succeeded by
E L Gerrard

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