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Edward Marcus Despard (1751–1803) by John Chapman, pubd 1804 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Despard, Edward Marcus (1751–1803), army officer and revolutionary, was born into a military family in Queen's county, Ireland, on 6 March 1751; the youngest of six sons of William Despard and his wife, Jane. John Despard (1743/4–1829) was his brother. He joined the army as an ensign in 1766 and was promoted lieutenant in 1772, while stationed in ...

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Dowding, Hugh Caswall Tremenheere, first Baron Dowding (1882–1970), air force officer, was born in Moffat, Dumfriesshire, on 24 April 1882, eldest of the four children of Arthur John Caswall Dowding (1855?–1932), founder and headmaster of St Ninian's preparatory school in Moffat, and his wife, ...

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Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding, first Baron Dowding (1882–1970) by Vandyk, c. 1931 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Froude, William (1810–1879), engineer and naval architect, fourth son of Robert Hurrell Froude (1770/71–1859), archdeacon of Totnes, and Margaret, née Spedding (1774/5–1821), was born at Dartington parsonage on 28 November 1810. (Richard) Hurrell Froude (1803–1836) and James Anthony Froude (1818–1894) were his brothers. He was educated at ...

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Robert von Ranke Graves (1895–1985) by John Aldridge, 1968 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Graves, Robert von Ranke (1895–1985), poet and novelist, was born on 24 July 1895 at Red Branch House, Lauriston Road, Wimbledon, Surrey, the third of the five children of Alfred Perceval Graves (1846–1931), poet and educationist, and his second wife, Amalie Elizabeth Sophie (Amy; 1857–1951)...

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Thomas Edward Lawrence [Lawrence of Arabia] (1888–1935) by Augustus John, 1919 © courtesy the Artist's Estate / Bridgeman Art Library; photograph Tate, London

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Lawrence, Thomas Edward [known as Lawrence of Arabia] (1888–1935), intelligence officer and author, was born on 16 August 1888 at Woodlands, Tremadoc, Caernarvonshire, the second of the five sons of Thomas Robert Tighe Chapman (1846–1919), an Anglo-Irish landowner, and his mistress, Sarah Junner (1861–1959)...

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Mante, Thomas (bap. 1733, d. c. 1802), army officer and historian, was baptized Thomas Mant on 3 December 1733 at St Faith's parish church, Havant, Hampshire, the eldest of the eight children of Thomas Mant (1702–1768), an estate manager, and his wife, Mary (...

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Maxse, Frederick Augustus (1833–1900), naval officer and radical, was the second son of James Maxse (1792–1864), a wealthy landowner, hunting man, and yachtsman, and his wife, Lady Caroline Fitzhardinge (1803–1886), the eldest daughter of Frederick Augustus, fifth earl of Berkeley. Sir Henry Berkeley Fitzhardinge Maxse...

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Minor, William Chester (1834–1920), military surgeon, asylum inmate, and contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary, was born on 21 June 1834 at Manepay, Ceylon, the elder child of Eastman Strong Minor (1809–1867), printer and Congregational missionary of Milford, Connecticut, and his first wife, ...

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Read, Sir Herbert Edward (1893–1968), poet, literary critic, and writer on art, was born on 4 December 1893 at Muscoates Grange, near Kirkby Moorside, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, the eldest of the four children of Herbert Edward Read (1868–1903), tenant farmer, and of ...

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Scott, Robert Falcon [known as Scott of the Antarctic] (1868–1912), naval officer and Antarctic explorer, was born on 6 June 1868 at Outlands, Milehouse, near Stoke Damerel, Devonport, the third of the six children of John Edward Scott (1830–1897), a brewer, and his wife, ...

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Robert Falcon Scott (1868–1912) by Herbert George Ponting, 1911 © Popperfoto; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Shepherd, Charles William Haimes (1917–1998), naval officer, was born on 10 December 1917 at 23 Richmond Street, Plymouth, Devon, the son of William Henry Haimes Shepherd, labourer in the naval dockyard, and his wife, Florence Ethel Hayter. He was a pupil at the ...

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West, (Arthur) Graeme (1891–1917), army officer and poet, the eldest of four children, was born at Christchurch Road, Eaton, Norwich, Norfolk, on 23 September 1891. His father, Arthur Birt West (1859–1948), son of a nonconformist minister and sternly evangelical, had been an engineer and a missionary before deciding to live off private means and work for a charity; he married ...

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Williams, Sir Edgar Trevor [Bill] (1912–1995), intelligence officer and historian, was born on 20 November 1912 at 30 Maidstone Road, Chatham, Kent, the second of three children and elder son of the Revd (Joseph) Edgar Williams (1877–1938), minister of Ebenezer Congregational Church, and his wife, ...

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Thomas Henry Wintringham (1898–1949) by Haywood Magee, 1943 [during the Midlothian North by-election] Getty Images – Haywood Magee

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Wintringham, Thomas Henry [Tom] (1898–1949), socialist activist and military theorist, was born on 15 May 1898 in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, the third child of John Fildes Wintringham (1866–1940), a solicitor, and his wife, Eliza Mapson Workman (1868–1937). Both his parents' families were nonconformist in religion and in politics, and Gladstonian Liberalism was to prove a lasting influence. Educated at ...