Auchinleck was educated at Wellington College and graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He joined the Indian Army in 1904 aged 20. He served in Egypt and Palestine during World War One and he progressed through the commissioned ranks gaining a reputation for efficiency. In World War Two, he commanded the British forces at Narvik in Norway. This was a failure and the British had to pull out.
Early in 1941, Auchinleck was sent out to India to command forces out there. In July 1941, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the Allied forces in the Middle East, taking over from Wavell
Throughout the rest of 1941, ‘the Auk’ was reasonably successful taking all of Cyrenaica by the end of 1941.
However, he was up against the ‘Desert Fox’ – Rommel
By June 1942, Rommel had regained all the land captured by Auchinleck and the Allies created a formidable defensive barrier around the small town of El Alamein. Though the Allies won the first battle of El Alamein, Churchill was not convinced that Auchinleck had the necessary qualities to lead men towards final victory in North Africa. He was dismissed and replaced by Montgomery
In 1943, Auchinleck was made commander-in-chief of the forces in India and was promoted to field marshall. After World War Two, he served as supreme commander in India and Pakistan during the lead up to independence for both countries. However, he was accused of being too much in favour of the Pakistanis and destabilising the region. Auchinleck resigned and retired to Marrakech in Morocco.
- 2nd Lieutenant: 21st January, 1903
- Lieutenant: 15th December, 1905
- Captain 21st January, 1912
- Major: 21st January, 1918
- Lieutenant-Colonel: 21st January, 1929
- Colonel: 1st February, 1930
- Major-General: 30th November, 1935
- Lieutenant-General: 16th March,1940
- General: 26th December, 1940
- Field Marshal: 1st June, 1946
Retired: 1st December, 1947
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