Paid Advertisement
Historynet/feed historynet feedback facebook link World History Group RSS feed World History Group Subscriptions Historynet Home page

Who was the highest ranking officer killed in action during World War I?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: April 04, 2012 
Print Friendly
5 comments FONT +  FONT -

Dear Mr. History,

Who was the highest ranking officer killed in action during WW 1?  When? Where?
We think it was Col. Hamilton Smith.

Jesse Smallwood

? ? ?

Dear Jesse,

It may be that Colonel Hamilton Allen Smith of the 26th Infantry, 1st Division, killed while directing an attack on machine gun positions at Noyant on July 22, 1918, was the highest-ranking American killed in action during World War I—but highest ranking officer?  Not even close!

The British lost 78 general officers in combat during the Great War and the Germans 70.

The highest ranking officer I know to have been killed in action during the war would be British Secretary of State for War Field Marshal Herbert Horatio Kitchener, who was aboard the cruiser Hampshire on a diplomatic mission to Arkhangelsk, Russia, when it struck a mine laid by German submarine U-75 (Curt Beitzen, captain) and sunk west of the Orkney Islands on June 5, 1916.  Kitchener was among 643 men of the 655 aboard HMS Hampshire who died or succumbed to exposure.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
More Questions at Ask Mr. History

5 Responses to “Who was the highest ranking officer killed in action during World War I?”

  1. 1
    byron says:

    Was that a relative of the Gen. Kitchener of the Nile rebellion?

  2. 2
    Joseph Urbano says:

    I believe it was Lord Kitchner of Kartoom. Kitchener of the WWI recruitment posters put up around England.

  3. 3
    Burns says:

    Correct, he was another of Britains famous Irish and Anglo-Irish Field Marshals, the others including Wellington, Gough, Roberts and Montgomery to name a few.

  4. 4

    [...] Horatio Kitchener 1850-1916, was possibly the highest-ranking soldier to die in action in WW1- Who was the highest ranking officer killed in action during World War I? Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Regards, Gordon [...]

Leave a Reply

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Related Articles

History Net Images Spacer
Paid Advertisement
Paid Advertisement
History Net Daily Activities
History net Spacer
History net Spacer
Historynet Spacer

Which of these wars resulted in the most surprising underdog upset?

View Results | See previous polls

Loading ... Loading ...
History net Spacer
RSS Feed Daily Email Update
History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement
What is HistoryNet? is brought to you by World History Group, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines.

If you are interested in a specific history subject, try searching our archives, you are bound to find something to pique your interest.

From Our Magazines
World History Group

World History Group Network:  HistoryNet | Armchair General | Achtung Panzer!
Today in History | Ask Mr. History | Picture of the Day | Daily History Quiz | Contact Us

Copyright © 2015 World History Group. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Advertise With Us | Subscription Help | Privacy Policy