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Famous Like Me > Writer > W > Charles Marquis Warren

Profile of Charles Marquis Warren on Famous Like Me

Name: Charles Marquis Warren  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 16th December 1912
Place of Birth: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Profession: Writer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

General Sir Charles Warren GCMG KCB FRS (7 February 1840–21 January 1927) was a British soldier. He was also Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, head of the London Metropolitan Police, from 1886 to 1888, during the period of the Jack the Ripper murders.

Education and early military career

Warren was born in Bangor, Caernarfonshire, Wales, the son of Major-General Sir Charles Warren. He was educated at Bridgnorth School and Wem Grammar School in Shropshire. He also attended Cheltenham College for one term in 1854, from which he went to the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and then the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich (1855–1857). On 27 December 1857, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers. On 1 September 1864, he married Fanny Haydon; they had two sons and a daughter. Warren was a devout Anglican and an enthusiastic freemason.

From 1859, Warren worked on the survey of Gibraltar. From 1865 to 1867, he was an assistant instructor in surveying at the School of Military Engineering in Chatham.


In 1867, Warren went to Palestine with the Palestine Exploration Fund. He conducted the first major excavations of Jerusalem, thereby ushering in a new age of Biblical archaeology. His most significant discovery was a water shaft, now known as Warren's Shaft, and he also helped to discover the Moabite Stone.


In 1870, ill-health forced Warren to return to England, serving at Dover (1871–1872) and the School of Gunnery at Shoeburyness (1872–1876). The Colonial Office then appointed him special commissioner to survey the boundary between Griqualand West and the Orange Free State. For this work, he was made a Companion of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1877. In the Transkei War (1877–1878), he commanded the Diamond Fields Horse and was badly wounded at Perie Bush. For this service, he was mentioned in dispatches and promoted to Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel. He was then appointed special commissioner to investigate 'native questions' in Bechuanaland. In 1879, he became Administrator of Griqualand West.


In 1880, Warren returned to England to become Chief Instructor in Surveying at the School of Military Engineering. He held this post until 1884, but it was interrupted in 1882, when he was sent to Sinai to discover what had happened to Professor Edward Henry Palmer's archaeological expedition. He discovered that the expedition members had been robbed and murdered, located their remains, and brought their killers to justice. For this, he was created Knight Commander of St Michael and St George (KCMG) on 24 May 1883 and was also created a third class Mejidiye by the Egyptian government. In 1883, he was also made a Knight of Justice of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, and in June 1884 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS).

Warren Expedition

In December 1884, Warren was sent to command a military expedition to Bechuanaland, to assert British sovereignty in the face of encroachments from Germany and the Transvaal, and to suppress the Boer freebooter states of Stellaland and Goshen, which were backed by the Transvaal and were stealing land and cattle from the local Tswana tribes. Known as the Warren Expedition, the force of 4,000 British and local troops headed north from Cape Town, accompanied by the first three observation balloons ever used by the British Army in the field. The expedition achieved its aims without bloodshed, and Warren was recalled in September 1885 and made a Knight Grand Cross of St Michael and St George (GCMG) on 4 October.

Commissioner of Police

In 1886, Warren stood for election to Parliament as an independent Liberal candidate in the Sheffield Hallam constituency with a radical manifesto. He lost by 690 votes, and was appointed commander at Suakin. A few weeks after he arrived, however, he was appointed Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis following Sir Edmund Henderson's resignation. By this time, he held the military rank of Major-General.

The Metropolitan Police was in a bad state when Warren took over, suffering from Henderson's inactivity over the past few years. Economic conditions in London were bad, leading to demonstrations. He was concerned for his men's welfare, but much of this went unheeded. His men found him rather aloof, although he generally had good relations with his superintendents. At Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887, the police received considerable adverse publicity after Miss Elizabeth Cass, an apparently respectable young seamstress, was (possibly) mistakenly arrested for soliciting, and was vocally supported by her employer in the courts.

To make matters worse, Warren, a Liberal, did not get along with Conservative Home Secretary Henry Matthews, appointed a few months after he became Commissioner. Matthews supported the desire of the Assistant Commissioner (Crime), James Monro, to remain effectively independent of the Commissioner and also supported the Receiver, the force's chief financial officer, who continually clashed with Warren. Home Office Permanent Secretary Godfrey Lushington did not get on with Warren either. Warren was pilloried in the press for his extravagant dress uniform, his concern for the quality of his men's boots (a sensible concern considering they walked up to 20 miles a day, but one which was derided as a military obsession with kit), and his reintroduction of drill. The radical press completely turned against him after Bloody Sunday on 13 November 1887, when a demonstration in Trafalgar Square was broken up by 4,000 police officers on foot, 300 infantrymen and 600 mounted police and Life Guards.

In 1888, Warren introduced five Chief Constables, ranking between the Superintendents and the Assistant Commissioners. Monro insisted that the Chief Constable of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), his deputy, should be a friend of his, Melville Macnaghten, but Warren opposed his apppointment on the grounds that during a riot in Bengal Macnaghten had been "beaten by Hindoos", as he put it. This grew into a major row between Warren and Monro, with both men offering their resignation to the Home Secretary. Matthews accepted Monro's resignation, but simply moved him to the Home Office and allowed him to keep command of Special Branch, which was his particular interest. Robert Anderson was appointed Assistant Commissioner (Crime) and Superintendent Adolphus Williamson was appointed Chief Constable (CID). Both men were encouraged to liaise with Monro behind Warren's back.

Jack the Ripper

But Warren's biggest problem was the Jack the Ripper case. He was probably unfairly blamed for the failure to track down the killer, faced considerable rumour that he knew more than he was telling (frequently linked to his senior position in the freemasons), and faced press accusations that were frequently baseless. He was accused of failing to offer a reward for information, although in fact he supported the idea and it was blocked by the Home Office. He was accused of not putting enough police officers on the ground, whereas in fact Whitechapel was swamped with them. He was accused of being more interested in uniformed policing than detective work, which was true, but failed to take into consideration the fact that he sensibly allowed his experienced detective officers to conduct their own affairs and rarely interfered in their operations. He was accused of not using bloodhounds, and when he did eventually bring them in, he was accused of being obsessed with them.

He rather stupidly responded to these criticisms by attacking his detractors in the pages of Murray's Magazine, supporting vigilante activity, which the police on the streets knew was a bad idea, and publicly complaining about his lack of control of CID, which brought an official Home Office reprimand for daring to discuss his office publicly without permission. Warren had had enough, and on the day of the last murder, 9 November 1888, he resigned. Every superintendent on the force visited him at home to express their regret. He returned to military duties.

He was created a Knight Commander of the Bath (KCB) on 7 January 1888.

Later military career and Boer War

In 1889, Warren was sent to command the garrison in Singapore, where he remained until 1894. Returning to England, he commanded the Thames District from 1895 to 1897, when he was promoted Lieutenant-General and retired.

On the outbreak of the Boer War in 1899, he returned to the colours to command the 5th Division of the South African Field Force. In January 1900, he played a major part in the second attempted relief of Ladysmith. At the Battle of Spion Kop, on 23–24 January, he had operational command, and his apparent failure of judgment was the subject of much controversy. He was recalled to Britain in August 1900 and never again commanded troops in the field. He was, however, promoted General in 1904 and became Colonel-Commandant of the Royal Engineers in 1905.

Last years

From 1908, he became involved with Baden-Powell in the creation of the Boy Scout movement. He died of pneumonia, brought on by a bout of influenza, at his home in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, was given a military funeral in Canterbury, and was buried in the churchyard at Westbere, Kent, next to his wife.


  • The Recovery of Jerusalem (with Charles Wilson, 1871)
  • Underground Jerusalem (1874)
  • The Temple or the Tomb (1880)
  • On the Veldt in the Seventies (1902)

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Charles Marquis Warren