FIELD MARSHAL SIR CLAUD WILLIAM JACOB GCB GCSI KCMG.

Born 21st November 1863 - Died 2nd June 1947

 

 

One of two sons of Major-General William Jacob and Eliza Jacob, he was born at Mehidpore, Bombay, India on 21st November 1863. He entered Sherborne, from where he passed into Sandherst and received his commission in the Worcestershire Regiment in 1882. At the end of 1884, stationed at Quetta, he secured his transfer to the Indian service. He first saw action with the Zhob Valley expedition of 1890. He was subsequently selected to command the Zhob Levy Corps, which kept the peace along the Wazaristan and Southern Afghanistan border.

In 1912 he was appoined GSO1 of the Meerut Division. At the outbreak of WWI in 1914, an Indian Corps was sent to France; Claud went with the Meerut Division. He became the only Indian officer to remain in France and rose to a high comand there. Just before Christmas 1914, a critical situation arose on the front of the Indian corps, which was badly shaken by a German attack. When his seniors failed, Claud stepped into the breach and by his personal example as well by his tactical grasp, went far to retrieve the situation.

At the beginning of 1915, he was appointed to command the Dehra Dun Brigade, and led it at Neuve Chapelle in March. His practical sense and moral courage were shown in a way that, after a personal reconnaissance, he countermanded an assault that he saw would be in vain - in contrast with other commanders. In May, he was given the Meerut Division and committed to the fruitless and costly subsidiary action of Pietre at the time of the battle of Loos. In November, when the Indian Corps was preparing to leave the Western Front, he was appointed to take over the 21st Division of the "New Armies" on November 18th 1915. He brought his command to excellent fighting pitch by precept and example. He was created a CB in that year.

In September 1916, he was appointed to command the 2nd Corps in the fifth Army. During the battle of the Somme, he carried Thiepval by an admirally planned assault. They performed well at the Acre operations and in the pursuit of the Germans to the Hindenburg Line in 1917.From left to right: Eliza Jacob (aged 61), Aileen Jacob (aged 18 months),Captain Claud William Jacob (aged 32) and Rev George Andrew Jacob (aged 88).

Having been promoted to Lieutenant-General in 1917, he commanded a corps of the Rhine Army for a time. In 1920 he returned to India as Chief of General Staff. In the course of that year he was promoted to General and appointed ADC to King George V. In 1924 he returned to England, but then in November was given the Northern Command in India. When Lord Rawlinson died in the following year, he acted as temporary Commander-in-Chief. Many anticipated that the succession would fall on him, and this was believed to be the desire of the militrary authorities in London, but they failed to make it suficiently clear. Thus the choice fell on Sir William Birdwood instead, and in November Claud returned home again to take up the appointment of Secretary to the Military Department of the India Office. He was promoted Field-Marshal in November 1926 and remained at the India Office until May 1930. His last official post was that of Constable of the Tower of London, which he held from 1937-1943. He was made KCMG in 1919, KCSI in 1924, GCB in 1926 and GCSI in 1930. He died on 2nd June 1947 aged 84.

On 27th August 1884 he married Clara Pauline Wyatt, daughter of the Reverend Joseph Light Wyatt, a well known missionary and student of Oriental languages in India, and also a lecturer in Tamil at Cambrdige University from 1895 - 1929.

 

They had two children:

1 Edward Ian Claud
2 Aileen Swinton, born 5th August 1895, died 14th January 1907.

Claud was a freemason and for some time Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge in the old Shirburnian Lodge. I hope to add further details of his masonic career in due course.


Courtesy of the Museum of Freemasonry


London Illustrated News 1944

 

He was Colonel-in-Chief of the Worcester Regiment. Click HERE and you will be taken to the regiment's web-site.

For press cuttings relating to Sir Claud, please click HERE.

 


The Christmas card and New Year's card were sent by Claud to his aunt Fanny Murdoch (nee Jacob) in New Zealand in 1876 and 1875 respectively.

 

Links:

106th Hazara Pioneers established by Claud W Jacob.
Pathe News clip of his installation as Constable of the Tower of London.

Sources:

Times Obituary 3.6.1948
William H. George, © 2001, Edward Jacob (1713-1788), A Biography, ISBN 0 9534092 3 6.
Jacob MSS (Correspondence, pedigrees)
Dictionary of National Biography, Vol 29, p542-543
Pedigree of Wyatt family researched for Sir Ian Jacob
Autograph kindly supplied by Robert Dunlop.
Photograph courtesy of Rhonda Jacob

HOME Film taken in 1930 of Sir Claud Jacob inspecting troops of a school Officer Training  Corps