Soldier Banker (2012)

General Sir Herbert Lawrence became Chief of Staff in 1918. Many were surprised at this appointment. He had given up his lucrative job as a City banker to rejoin the army at the outbreak of war. This article traces his astonishing rise from retired major to second most important soldier in the army. The team led by Lawrence introduced new ideas and a fresh attitude. He forged a strong partnership with the Commander in Chief, Sir Douglas Haig. This proved crucial in meeting the challenges of a large-scale ‘industrial’ war.

Described as ‘man of outstanding ability both as a soldier and in business’, Lawrence made a significant contribution to Allied victory which has largely been overlooked.

‘Soldier Banker: Lieutenant-General Sir Herbert Lawrence’ was published in The Journal for Army Historical Research in Spring 2012, Volume 90, Number 361.

The drawing of Lawrence shown here is held in the private collection of John and Caroline Abel Smith.

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