Sir Frederick Ivor Maxse XVIII Corps, Fifth Army
Sir (Frederick) Ivor Maxse (1862-1958) commanded the British 18th Division and XVIII Corps during the First World War and was a noted wartime trainer.
Born in London on 22 December 1862 and educated at Rugby and Sandhurst Maxse received his commission into the Royal Fusiliers in 1882 and saw service in India. In 1891 he joined the Coldstream Guards and commanded its 2nd Battalion from 1903-07. In 1910 Maxse commanded 1st Guards Brigade at Aldershot.
When the First World War began Maxse led the 1st Guards Brigade to France before being handed command – and a promotion to Major General – of the newly formed 18th Division in October 1914, forming part of Lord Kitchener’s New Army.
Following training – which Maxse oversaw – 18th Division served during the opening of the Battle of the Somme and achieved distinction by securing all of its specified objectives on 1 July 1916.
In January 1917 he was promoted to command of XVIII Corps (as Lieutenant-General) and led them through the Third Battle of Ypres. He was however moved from field command in June 1918 following the German Army’s Spring Offensive successes against Fifth Army. Although ideally suited to his new role as Inspector General of Training to the British Armies in France, Maxse nonetheless regarded the transfer as a demotion.
In May 1919 Maxse commanded Northern Command in York and was promoted to full General in 1923; he retired three years later.
Sir Ivor Maxse died on 28 January 1958 aged 95.