Thomas D'Oyly Snow

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Thomas D'Oyly Snow

Sir Thomas D'Oyly Snow , KCB , KCMG (* 5. May 1858 in Newton Valence, Hampshire ; † 30th August 1940 in London ) was a lieutenant general of the British Army in the First World War .


Origin and family

Snow was the eldest son of the Reverend of Langton Lodge, George D'Oyly Snow (Exeter College, Oxford, 1836) and Maria Jane [b. May 5, 1858], daughter of Robert Barlow. Snow attended Eton College from 1871 to 1874 and entered St. John's College , Cambridge on February 7, 1878 . He married Miss Charlotte Geraldine, daughter of Major General John Talbot Coke of Trusley , on January 12, 1897 at St. Georges Cathedral in Aldershot . This marriage resulted in two sons and two daughters. One of his sons was the future schoolmaster George D'Oyly Snow, the grandfather of the historian and TV presenter Dan Snow. One of his daughters was Diana Maria Snow (died 1965), who joined the Community of Deaconesses of St. Andrew in 1925 and taught theology as her mother Clare .

Early military career

After joining the army in 1879 during the Zulu War in South Africa, Thomas Snow received a patent as second lieutenant in the 13th regiment on foot (later Somerset Light Infantry). In 1884/1885 he served on the lower Nile in a mounted infantry regiment (so-called Camel Corps ) and fought with it during the Mahdi uprising in the battle of Abu Klea (January 17, 1885) and at El Gubat (Abu Kru), where he was badly wounded. In 1887 he was promoted to captain and studied from 1892 to 1893 at Staff College in Camberley . Snow was in 1895 in the garrison of Aldershot for Major transported and entered the in May 1897 Royal Fusiliers at. In January 1898 he became Lord Kitchener's collaborator during the campaign in Sudan . As a major he served under Major General Gatacre in the Nile Campaign of 1898 and took part in the Battle of Atbara and the Siege of Khartoum .

In 1899 Snow, meanwhile promoted to lieutenant colonel, was assigned to the 2nd / Northampton Regiment in India and was therefore unable to take part in the Boer War . In March 1903 he was promoted to colonel and in June was appointed adjutant to the Quartermaster General of the IV Corps (later General Command of the Eastern Command). He stayed there until 1905, joined the General Staff at short notice in 1906 as a General Staff Officer and was appointed in October 1909 as Brigadier General to command the 11th Infantry Brigade. In March 1910 he was promoted to major general and in May 1911 took over the leadership of the 4th Division of the Eastern Command in Suffolk . In the army maneuver of 1912 he led his division as part of the "Blue Force" under Sir James Grierson and achieved a clear victory over the opposing "Red Force" under the leadership of General Douglas Haig .

In the first World War

At the beginning of the First World War in August 1914 he led the 4th Division under General French as part of the British Expeditionary Force . He was nicknamed by the soldiers because of his size and body, including "Slush" and "Polar Bear" (snow bear). After the Battle of Mons he covered the British retreat and his division fought on August 26th in the Battle of Le Cateau and the Marne . During the Battle of the Aisne he had a serious riding accident which required a home leave. Although his health was not completely cured, Lord Kitchener persuaded him to return to the Western Front , and in November 1914 he took command of the 27th Division in the St. Eloi area at the front in Flanders . On April 22nd, 1915, the day when the Germans first used poison gas in the Second Battle of Flanders , his division was also affected and supported the French lines in the Ypres area against total collapse. In June he was available as commander of the Canadian Corps, but the commander of the 1st Canadian Division , General Alderson , pushed through the appointment of General Julian Byng . In recognition of his achievements, he was awarded the Bath Order and took command of the newly activated VII Corps on July 15, 1915 . In between, severe back and leg pains required regular home leave.

He allowed himself a ten-day absence shortly after the opening of the Battle of the Somme , when his troops ( 46th and 56th Divisions ) led the attack at Gommecourt as part of the 3rd Army in early July 1916 . Snow's brother-in-law, General Edward Dingverell D'Ewes Coke, commander of the 169th Infantry Brigade, reported to his corps in the 56th Division at Gommecourt. Snow's position began to falter because of the unsuccessful attack, and Major General SE Hollond, the Chief of Staff of the 3rd Army, tried to convince his superior, General Allenby , to dismiss him because his plan of the attack seemed more than amateurish. General Snow was still able to lead his corps in the battles of Arras and Cambrai in the war year 1917 . He was promoted to lieutenant general and received the KCMG in recognition of his services to the Western Front. After the German counter-offensive near Cambrai, Snow's units came into serious distress in the Bourlon Forest on November 30, 1917. Snow was then deported on January 2, 1918 and officially replaced for reasons of age and returned to England.

post war period

Between August 1918 and September 1919 he was in command of the Western Command and then retired. He was also Colonel in the Suffolk Regiment from July 1919 to 1929. He was Colonel in the Somerset Light Infantry. After leaving Blandford, he moved to London and devoted a large part of his life to community service. He died on August 30, 1940 at his home in Kensington, London, at the age of 82.


  • JE Edmonds: Snow, Sir Thomas D'Oyly (1858-1940), rev. Roger T. Stearn, first published 2004; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online edn, May 2006
  • Dan Snow and Mark Pottle: The Confusion of Command , The Memoirs of Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas D'Oyly Snow 1914–1915, 2011

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