Catalogue description War Office: Papers of Sir Redvers H Buller, General Commanding, Natal Army, South African War and Commander in Chief, Aldershot Division

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Details of WO 132
Reference: WO 132
Title: War Office: Papers of Sir Redvers H Buller, General Commanding, Natal Army, South African War and Commander in Chief, Aldershot Division

The papers in this series comprise official and semi-official correspondence, copies and lists of despatches and telegrams sent and received by Sir Redvers H Buller, and copies of reports made by him while serving as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Zulu campaign of 1878; as Special Commissioner of Police in Ireland and later as Deputy Secretary for Ireland, 1886 to 1887; as General Commanding, Natal Army, in South Africa, 1899 to 1900; and as Commander in Chief, Aldershot Division, 1901.

Date: 1872-1901
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Sir Redvers Henry Buller, Knight, 1839-1908

Physical description: 26 bundle(s)
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Custodial history: They were presented to the War Office in 1956 by the executors of Dame Georgiana Buller, daughter of the General.
Administrative / biographical background:

General Sir Redvers Henry Buller VC, GCB, GCMG was born in Crediton, Devon on 7th December 1839 and, after education at Eton, entered the army on 23rd May 1858 as an ensign with the 60th (King's Royal Rifle Corps) Regiment of Foot. He gained wide experience of staff duties and command in the China campaign (1860), the Red River expedition in Canada (1870), the Kaffir and Zulu wars (1878-1879), the Transvaal rebellion (1881) and the expedition to Khartoum in 1884 to relieve General Gordon.

General Buller won the Victoria Cross as a lieutenant-colonel during the Zulu war, and received a knighthood (KCMG) following the action at Tel-el-Kebir in 1882. He was appointed quartermaster-general [QMG] at the War Office in 1887, and adjutant-general [AG] in 1890. He took a leading part in the reforms of the army during this period, including the reorganization of the army's supply and transport services. In 1899 he was appointed general commanding-in-chief during the South African war. This was not, however, a successful posting, due mainly to the early advantages gained by the Boers, and the relatively small forces at his disposal. Following defeats at Stormberg and Magersfontein - and the failure of the first attempt to relieve Ladysmith - he was replaced in command by Lord Roberts.

In October 1900, after finally relieving Ladysmith and occupying the eastern Transvaal, he returned home to take over the Aldershot command. This appointment was criticized widely and - following a tactless speech in answer to his critics - he was retired from his command in October 1901. He died in Devon on 2nd June 1908.

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