Auchinleck was educated at Wellington College and graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He joined the Indian Army in 1904 aged 20. He served in Egypt and Palestine during World War One and he progressed through the commissioned ranks gaining a reputation for efficiency. In World War Two, he commanded the British forces at Narvik in Norway. This was a failure and the British had to pull out.
Early in 1941, Auchinleck was sent out to India to command forces out there. In July 1941, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the Allied forces in the Middle East, taking over from Wavell
Throughout the rest of 1941, ‘the Auk’ was reasonably successful taking all of Cyrenaica by the end of 1941. However, he was up against the ‘Desert Fox’ – Rommel
By June 1942, Rommel had regained all the land captured by Auchinleck and the Allies created a formidable defensive barrier around the small town of El Alamein. Though the Allies won the first battle of El Alamein, Churchill was not convinced that Auchinleck had the necessary qualities to lead men towards final victory in North Africa. He was dismissed and replaced by Montgomery
In 1943, Auchinleck was made commander-in-chief of the forces in India and was promoted to field marshall. After World War Two, he served as supreme commander in India and Pakistan during the lead up to independence for both countries. However, he was accused of being too much in favour of the Pakistanis and destabilising the region. Auchinleck resigned and retired to Marrakech in Marocco. He died in 1981.
Decorations and awards prior to World War Two:
- DSO: 3th June, 1917
- Croix de Guerre (France): 1918
- Legion d'honneur: 1918
- OBE: 3th June, 1919
- CB: 3th July, 1934
- MID: 3th July, 1934
- Companion of the Star of India: 8th May, 1936
- MID: ?
- 2nd Lieutenant: 21st January, 1903
- Lieutenant: 15th December, 1905
- Captain 21st January, 1912
- Major: 21st January, 1918
- Lieutenant-Colonel: 21st January, 1929
- Colonel: 1st February, 1930
- Major-General: 30th November, 1935
- Lieutenant-General: 16th March,1940
- General: 26th December, 1940
- Field Marshal: 1st June, 1946
Retired: 1st December, 1947
||Provide alterations or additional information
||- Tom MacNeill
||- DOHERTY, R., Ireland’s Generals in the Second World War, Four Courts Press Ltd., Dublin, Ireland, 2004.
- SMART, N., Biographical Dictionary of British Generals of the Second World War, Pen & Sword Books Limited, Barnsley, England, 2005.
- Second Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 35559 published on the 12 May 1942
- Second Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36103 published on the 20 July 1943
- Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36866 published on the 29 December 1944
- Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 38359 published on the 20 July 1948
- Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 38240 published on the 16 March 1948
- The Peerage