Maj Gen Charles Howard Foulkes, CB, CMG, DSO (1875-1969)


Major-General Charles Howard Foulkes, British Army, b. India 1875: d. Hampshire 1969

1875 Feb 1. Born Bangalore, India, son of Rev Thomas Foulkes (Rev Thomas Foulkes probably died while running St. John's Church, Bangalore in 1877)

Educated at Warminster Grammar School and Bedford Modern. Entered RMA

1894 Commissioned into the British Army as 2nd Lt, Royal Engineers

1897 Served Sierra Leone, West Africa, 1897-1899

1899 Served Boer War, 1899-1900

1902 Assistant commander on the Anglo-French Boundary Commission, Northern Nigeria, 1902-1904

1903 Kano-Sokoto expedition, Nigeria

1904 Appointed Capt and

1904 married Dorothea Fanny Oakey and they had 3 sons.(include George RG Foulkes, b1915 Medway)

1904 Command of the Ordnance Survey of Scotland, 1904-1909

1908 Competed in Olympics in British Hockey team. Won Bronze Medal.

1909 Command of 31 (Fortress) Company, Ceylon, 1909-1912

1913 Command of 'L' Company, Royal Engineers' Depot, Chatham, 1913



1914 Appointed Major

1914 Commander, 11 (Field) Company, First Battle of Ypres

1915 Apr 15 The President of the French Republic has conferred, with the approval of His Majesty the King, the decoration of " Croix de Chevalier'' of the Legion of Honour on the undermentioned Officers, in recognition of their distinguished service in the campaign: — Major C. H. Foulkes, D.S.O., Royal Engineers.

1915 Appointed Gas Adviser, 1915

Foulkes is best known for his time running the Gas Warware project in France. Foulkes (who was not a chemist) played an incredible game of catch-up with the Germans. In less than six months - September 1915. We recommend Major Foulkes RE for this duty. He has no pretence to technical knowledge, as far as I know, and it is not considered that he need have very much. But he has had much experience at the front, and can explain generally what we need and how we can perhaps best use it.”

Volunteers with a knowledge of chemistry were sought among universities and colleges at home, as well as from the ranks of the BEF, with immediate promotion to corporal - chemist corporal. A suitable base was found at Helfaut, a village four or five miles due south of St Omer (where GHQ was located at the time), where it remained as the depot for the rest of the war. At first two Special Companies were formed but they had been increased to four by the time the Loos offensive opened on 25 September 1915. In 1916 the four companies were expanded into the ‘Special Brigade’ consisting of 16 ‘Cylinder’ companies, one ‘Projector’ company (flame thrower) and four ‘Mortar’ companies, some 6,000 officers and men. This organisation remained unchanged to the end of the war. According to Foulkes the total British casualties due to gas amounted to 181,053 of which 6,109 were fatal- but of course many lingered on after the war till they succumbed to the effects of gas poisoning.

1917 Jun 17. Dir. of Gas Servs.—Bi. Lt.-Col. (temp. Col.) C. H. Foulkes, D.S.O., R.E., and to be temp. Brig.-Gen. whilst so empld., vice Bt. Col. (temp. Maj.-Gen.) H. F. Thuillier, C.B., C.M.G., R.E.

1918 President of the Chemical Warfare Committee

1919 Jun 17 Dir. of' Gas Servs.—Bt. Col. (temp-. Brig.-Gen.) C. H. Foulkes, C.M.G., D.S.O., R.E. H

1919 North-West Frontier Province, India, Afghan War 1919 and Waziristan 1919-1920

1920 Jun 16 The date of the relinquishment of the temp, rank of Brig.Gen. on ceasing to be specially empld. in India by Bt. Col. C. H. Foulkes, C.M.G.,D.S.O.,R.E.

1921 Appointed Lt Col, Commander, Royal Engineers in Fermoy, Ireland where duties included running the local propaganda department and writing articles for papers including the Morning Post.

1921 May 2. Initial letter of invitation to Foulkes from J E S Brind at General HQ, Parkgate, Dublin to discuss the post of Director of Irish Propaganda.

1921 May 10. Spec. Appt., Class. T.—Bt. Col. C. H. Foulkes, C.M.G., D.S.O., R.E.

1921 May 1 Promoted to Lt Col Bt. Col.-C. H. Foulkes, C.M.G., D.S.O.,

Charles Foukes was appointed Director of Irish Propoganda in 1921. The ten man unit, based in Dublin Castle, was under the the command of Colonel Charles Foulkes.  The department ensured that propaganda was presented as news by manipulating reports coming out of Dublin Castle, the main journalistic source for news. While there he compiled newspaper articles and leaflets to counteract propaganda produced by the IRA in their official newspaper and propaganda aimed at Irish civilians.

Foulkes was the officer in charge of British chemical warfare during WW1. He wrote to a friend in 1921; “You may remember me in connection with chemical warfare in France. I am now running a variation of this sport, ie propaganda in Ireland”

1922 Commander, Royal Engineers in Northumbria

1924 Oct 1 . Dep. Chief Engineer.—Col. G. H. Foulkes, G.M.G., D.S.O., vice Col. G. P. Scholfield, C.B., C.M.G., C.B.E,

1924 Appointed Col and Deputy Chief Engineer, Southern Command

1926 Aug 21 Chief Engineer.—Col. C. H. Foulkes, G.M.G.,. D.S.O., from Dep. Chief Engineer, and to be temp. Col. Comdt. whilst so empld. vice- Maj.-Gen. A. G. .Stevenson, C.B., C.M.G. D.S.O., (promoted). Aldershot Command, 1926-1930

1928 Aide-de-camp to the King

1930 Appointed Maj Gen

1930 Retired

1934 Publication of Gas! The Story of the Special Brigade

1937-1945 Colonel Commandant, Royal Engineers,

1939 Publication of Commonsense and ARP, a practical guide for householders and business managers,

1964 Awarded Gold Medal of the Institution of Royal Engineers,

1969 May 6. Died in Hampshire

foulkes obituary

Times Obituary

Foulkes Papers


British Intelligence at Dublin Castle