Sir George Macdonogh
Born 4 March 1865
Died 10 July 1942
Allegiance 22x20px United Kingdom
Service/branch 23px British Army
Rank Lieutenant General
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Knight's Cross of the Order of St. Sylvester

Lieutenant General Sir George Mark Watson Macdonogh GBE, KCB, KCMG (4 March 1865 – 10 July 1942) was a British Army general officer. After early service in the Royal Engineers he became a staff officer prior to the outbreak of the First World War, and held a series of intelligence posts during the war.

His main role in the war was as Director of Military Intelligence at the War Office in 1916-18.[1]

Early career[edit | edit source]

Macdonogh was born in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear and was educated at Beaumont College, a Jesuit public school in Berkshire. He joined the army in July 1884, receiving a commission in the Royal Engineers. He was promoted to captain in 1892, and attended the Staff College in 1896; he and James Edmonds, passed the entrance exam with sufficiently high marks that the publication of results had to be adjusted in order to conceal the margin between them and their classmates. During the course, finding it below his abilities, Macdonogh studied the law and was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn.

After a series of minor staff posts, he was appointed to the general staff in the War Office in 1906, rising to a colonelcy in 1912. He was responsible for the command of Section 5 of the Directorate of Military Intelligence, later to become MI5, which was charged with controlling enemy aliens in the event of a war. During the Curragh Incident in March 1914 he supported the use of force in Ulster, one of the few members of the general staff to do so.

First World War[edit | edit source]

On the outbreak of the First World War, he was assigned to the British Expeditionary Force as the senior officer in charge of intelligence, and promoted to brigadier-general in November 1914. After a year and a half working on operational intelligence, he was promoted to major-general and recalled to the War Office in January 1916, where he created MI7, intended to target German civilian morale.

His intelligence work was highly effective; by mid-1917 he had produced a German order of battle for the Western Front that was later found to be complete save for one misplaced unit, and in 1918 he successfully predicted the German Spring Offensive. He was knighted in 1917. However, his effectiveness was limited by personal conflicts; he was distrusted by Douglas Haig and by John Charteris, the senior intelligence commander, due to his Catholicism and a suspicion that he was too defeatist in his assessments of German strength. In turn, Macdonogh felt that Charteris had overestimated German losses in 1917. Macdonogh was the London-based counterpart of Charteris who was based on the Western Front, and therefore had a wider range of sources. In January 1918 Charteris was replaced by Brigadier Edgar Cox from Macdonough's staff.

Later career[edit | edit source]

Shortly before the end of the war, in September, he was promoted to Lieutenant-General and appointed Adjutant-General to the Forces, a post he held until September 1922.[2] he was a member of the Army Council 1918-1922 and was appointed Colonel Commandant of the Royal Engineers in 1924.

Business and other interests[edit | edit source]

He retired from the Army in 1925, was called to the bar and began a business career, being appointed a director of Royal Dutch Shell for his knowledge of the Middle East. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers and on the Executive Council of the International Law Association.

In later years, he was a commissioner of the Imperial War Graves Commission and the Royal Commission on Local Government (1923–29). He was also a member of the Board of Trade Committee of the Royal Academy Exhibition of British Industrial Art. During the early years of the Second World War, he served on the central committee for price controls. Married to a Finn, he helped organise relief work for Finland during the 1939-40 Winter War.

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Nevil Macready
Adjutant General
Succeeded by
Sir Philip Chetwode

it:George Macdonogh

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