Some Early Thoughts on Leadership

I came across a couple of excerpts that I used to have up on my wall when I was a signals officers. They were printed out on a dot matrix printer, which should tell you how long ago that was.

Reminders of the demands of leadership…

How to sack a divisional commander: Tewkesbury, 4 mAY 1471

Lord Wenlock

LORD WENLOCK not having advanced to the support of the first line, but remaining stationary, contrary to the expectations of Somerset, the latter, in a  rage, rode up to him , reviled him, and beat his brains out with an axe.

— Richard Brooke – Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes p. 104 – Oxford University Press

it is not infrequently the case that when an officer falls on the battlefield, enquiries are made as to which side shot him

An officer of the 15th Foot

There is a story of a Major of the 15th Foot who, on the field of Blenheim, turned to address his regiment before the assault, and apologized for his past ill behaviour. He requested that, if he must fall, it should be by the bullets of the enemy. If spared, he would undertake to mend his ways. To this abject performance, a grenadier said: “March on, sir; the enemy is before you, and we have something else to do than think of you now.” After several attacks, the regiment carried its position and the Major, gratified, not doubt, to be still alive, turned to his troops and removed his hat to call for a cheer. No sooner had he said “Gentlemen, the day is ours” than he was struck in the forehead by a bullet and killed. There was a decided suspicion that the bullet was no accident.

E.S. Turner – IBID p. 145

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