Pakenham, 5th Earl of Longford, Thomas


Brigadier-General Sir Thomas Pakenham, 5th Earl of Longford, K.P., M.V.O. was born on October 19th, 1864. He was the second suriving son of William Pakenham, 4th Earl of Longford of Pakenham Hall, Castle Pollard, Westmeath, alos a Wykehamist, he is commemorated in Chantry Cloister. His mother was the Hon. Selina Rice-Trevor. He entered Culverlea from the Reverend R. C. Powle’s school at Winchfield and in his last year was a House Prefect: he also played in Commoner XV, rowed in School IV and won his Wimbledon cap. In 1881 he went up to Christ Church, Oxford. He graduated in 1885 and went on to Sandhurst, obtaining his commission in the 2nd Life Guards in 1887. He succeeded to the title the same year.

During the South African War he served first with the 45th Imperial Yeomanry, being wounded at Lindley early in the campaign, and later as Lieutenant-Colonel commanding the Irish Horse. In 1908, he was appointed to command the 2nd Life Guards and in 1912, was placed in charge of the 2nd South Midland Mounted Brigade.

On the outbreak of war he was promoted Brigadier-General and in 1915, proceeded to Egypt and thence to the Dardanelles, his name appearing in Despatches soon after.

He fell during the disastrous battle for Scimitar Hill on August 21st 1915.  This battle was the last offensive mounted by the British at Suvla in the Gallipoli campaign, and was a costly failure.     “The Times” reported:  It was 2 Brigade, under the Earl of Longford, consisting of the Bucks, Berks and Dorsets, which made the final glorious charge with 87 Brigade, and obtained temporary possession of Hill 70… It was now almost dark, and the attack seemed to hang fire, when suddenly the Yeomanry leaped to their feet and as a single man charged right up the Hill. They were met by a withering fire, which rose to a crescendo as they neared the northern crest, but nothing could stop them. They charged at amazing speed, without a single halt, from the bottom to the top, losing many men and many of their chosen leaders…     It was a stirring sight, watched by thousands in the evergathering gloom. One moment they were below the crest, the next on top; a moment after, many had disappeared inside the Turkish trenches, bayoneting all the defenders who had not fled in time.”   Pakenham and his brigade were cut off and Pakenham was killed.

He is commemorated on Special Memorial E.3 of the Green Hill Cemetery. Special Memorials commemorate those whose bodies could not be identified with certainty, but who are believed to be buried there.

During the course of that day the British lost 5,300 men of out the 14,300 who participated, and the losses in the 2 (South Midland) Brigade were so great that the three regiments in it, including the Berkshire Yeomany, were merged to form the 2nd South Midland Regiment.     One of the two VCs awarded at Suvla was won for the rescue of the wounded from Scimitar Hill on 21st.

Another OW, Major Edward Sinclair Gooch (G 1892-1897) fell severely wounded in this action. He was returned home to England but died in London in September – see individual entry.

Lord Longford married in 1899 Lady Mary Villiers and left six children. He was Lieutenant for the County of Longford and for seven years joint Master with his brother of the Westmeath Foxhounds.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Pakenham, 5th Earl of Longford
  • Forenames or initials: Thomas
  • House: G
  • Years in School: 1878-1881
  • Rank: Brigadier General
  • Regiment: 2nd Life Guards
  • Date of Birth: 19th October 1864
  • Date of Death: 21st August 1915
  • How Died: Killed in Action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer H1
  • Decoration: KCVO; Croix de Chevalier
  • Burial Site: Unknown but commemorated on SPECIAL MEMORIAL E.3 of the GREEN HILL CEMETARY, GALLIPOLI