John Fortescue (Military historian)

For other uses, see John Fortescue (disambiguation).

The Honourable Sir John William Fortescue KCVO (28 December 1859 – 22 October 1933) was a British military historian. He was the Librarian and Archivist at Windsor Castle and historian of the British Army. He was an honorary fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He was also the husband of the writer and actress Lady Winifred Fortescue.


He was the son of Hugh Fortescue, 3rd Earl Fortescue and his family owned the area around Simonsbath for much of the twentieth century.[1]

Fortescue was educated at Harrow School and Trinity College, Cambridge.[2] He was married in 1914 to Winifred Beech, of Great Bealings, Suffolk, but they did not have children.

Fortescue is best known for his monumental work on the British Army, which he wrote between 1899 and 1930. During most of this time (from 1905 to 1926) he was working as the librarian of Windsor Castle. In 1911, he was elected to deliver the Ford Lectures at Oxford University. He served as president of the Royal Historical Society from 1921 to 1925.[3]

Works by Fortescue

  • 1895 History of the 17th Lancers (Duke of Cambridge's Own)
  • 1896 Dundonald
  • 1897 The Story of a Red Deer
  • 1899 The Drummers Coat
  • 1899–1930 A History of the British Army (in thirteen volumes, taking the story up to 1870)
  • 1909 County Lieutenancies and the Army 1803–1814
  • 1916 The Three Pearls
  • 1924 My Native Devon
  • 1925 Wellington
  • 1928 Six British Soldiers
  • 1928 The Empire and the Army
  • 1928 Historical and Military Essays
  • 1928 A Short Account of Canteens in the British Army
  • 1930–1932 Royal Army Service Corps: A History of Transport and Supply in the British Army
  • 1931 Following the Drum
  • 1932 Marlborough
  • 1933 Author and Curator (his autobiography) W Blackwood & Sons, London
  • 1934 The Last Post W Blackwood & Sons, London


External links

  • Biography from a site about his wife, Lady Fortescue