One of the things that first drew me towards No Good Boyo as a connoisseur of the amusing (rather than the "certain diminutive evil Welchman" that one of my trainers warned me of on my first day in the same workplace) was our shared delight in the foibles of gloriously moustachioed military and colonial gentlemen. For those who share our passion, either currently or in the near future after reading this, I offer up a few highlights on one of my personal favourites: Colonel (later Major-General) David Graham Muschet "Soarer" Campbell of the 9th Lancers.
The nickname 'Soarer' comes from the horse he rode to victory in the 1896 Grand National. I first came across this delightful character in Richard Holmes's excellent book "Tommy - The British Soldier on the Western Front 1914-1918", in which Holmes quotes the medical officer who found Campbell lying in the long grass after charging into a superior force of German cavalry in September 1914. "I'm sorry to find you like this, sir" the medical officer recalled saying.
"Nonsense my dear boy - I've just had the best quarter of an hour of my entire life!" retorted the thrice-wounded Campbell.
Subsequently he was promoted to command of the 21st Division - a 'New Army' formation composed primarily of men who had answered Kitchener's 'Your Country Needs You' call. He was in command of this division when it was badly mauled in 1918, and said of the affair "Monday (27 May) was the worst day I have spent in this war, which is saying a lot".
Blimpishness aside, it says much about the man's character that his 'best quarter of an hour' involved leading from the front, crossing swords with the enemy and receiving multiple wounds, while his 'worst day' involved being in command but behind the lines while his men were suffering.
There is a good short biography on Birmingham University's Centre for First World War Studies page, which features the magnificent aside "Wounds were to be a feature of his military career". Though British generals of WWI have not enjoyed a high reputation on the whole, there were nonetheless some genuinely brave and charismatic men among them. Campbell certainly seems to have been such a man.