Asquith, Hon A M (1883–1939) Brigadier-General
GOC Infantry Brigade DSO**
Winchester College; Oxford University Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

brigadier general arthur m asquithArthur Melland ('Oc') Asquith was the third son of the British Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith, and his first wife Helen Melland.

After a period in the Egyptian Civil Service (1906–11), Asquith joined the trading firm Franklin & Herrera, which had extensive interests in South America, especially Argentina. He was still working for them when the war broke out. He was the first of Asquith's sons to volunteer, declaring in his letter of resignation to his employers that he could not 'sit quietly by reading the papers'.

On 23 September 1914 he was commissioned Temporary Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Division, an exotic military hybrid conceived in the fertile brain of Winston Churchill. His fellow officers included Rupert Brooke, Bernard Freyberg, A P Herbert and Patrick Shaw-Stewart. He fought with the division at Antwerp, on Gallipoli and on the Western Front, succeeding Freyberg as CO of the Hood Battalion in April 1917 and winning three DSOs.

On 16 December 1917 he was promoted to command the Royal Naval Division's 189th Brigade, completing a remarkable rise from civilian to brigadier-general in just over three years. He was 34. Fate denied him the chance of further advancement, however. Four days later, on 20 December 1917, he was wounded for the fourth time. His leg was amputated three weeks later.

He was unable to resume his military career, but after his recovery he served in the Ministry of Munitions as Controller of the Trench Warfare Department.

 

 

Dr John Bourne

Image courtesy Imperial War Museum

 

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