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Sir Alfred Rawlinson, 3rd Baronet

Olympic medal record

Men's polo
Competitor for a 22px Mixed team
Gold 1900 Paris Team competition

Sir Alfred Rawlinson, 3rd Baronet (born 17 January 1867 - died 1 June 1934) was a British pioneer motorist and aviator[1][2], soldier and intelligence officer, and sportsman. He was known as "Toby".



He was a polo player in the 1900 Summer Olympics. He was part of the Foxhunters Hurlingham polo team which won the gold medal. He was also a keen driver, taking part in the 1908 Isle of Man RAC Tourist Trophy ("TT") race, driving his Darracq into 7th place .[nb 1][3]

On 5 April 1910 he became only the third person in the United Kingdon to hold a Royal Aero Club aviators certificate.[4]

He served in the 17th Lancers, but left to become a racing driver. In 1914 he volunteered, and became a chauffeur; he was then transferred to a staff position with IV Corps of the British Expeditionary Force.[5] His driving exploits were described in his Adventures on the Western Front August, 1914 - June, 1915 (1925).

He became a Colonel, and British intelligence officer. Assignments include tours of duty in the Caucasus and Eastern Anatolia during 1918-1922. His mission was to guard the Tiflis-Baku railway, and to oversee the demobilizing Turkish forces.[6] Under Lionel Dunsterville, he was sent on a mission to the Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus.[7]

On his last assignment, to establish whether Turkey was obeying the armistice conditions, he and his party were held prisoner in Erzurum by the Turkish authorities, placing the British Government in an awkward position because his elder brother was a highly-placed military man. [8] He was eventually released in a prisoner exchange in 1921.

His book, Adventures in the Near East (1923, Andrew Melrose, London), chronicles the state of affairs during the armistice days at the end of World War I. In particular, he gives accounts of the landscape after the Russian withdrawal and the beginnings of the Turkish nationalist movement.

The Defence of London, 1915-1918 (1923) was an account of air defence against bombing.[9]


His father was the orientalist Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson, 1st Baronet; Henry Rawlinson, 1st Baron Rawlinson, the general, was his brother. His mother Louisa was a daughter of Henry Seymour (of Knoyle), MP; two uncles, Henry Danby Seymour and Alfred Seymour were also MPs.[10]

His second wife was the actress Jean Aylwin.[11]



  1. Two other pioneer aviators, John Moore-Brabazon (Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate No. 1) and Arthur Edward George (Aviator's Certificate No. 19), took part in the 1908 I.O.M. TT, the former, driving a Métallurgique, having to retire after 6 laps due to a problem with an exhaust valve, the latter, driving a Darracq, taking third place and also recording the fastest lap time.[3].


  1. Charles Cyril Turner, The Old Flying Days, p. 245.
  2. Sir Alfred Rawlinson
  3. 3.0 3.1 Results of the Isle of Man 1908 TT race
  4. Flight 9 April 1910
  5. Nikolas Gardner, Trial by Fire: Command and the British Expeditionary Force in 1914, p. 150.
  6. Merrill D. Peterson, "Starving Armenians": America and the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1930 and After, p. 75.
  7. Moshe Gammer, The Lone Wolf and the Bear: Three Centuries of Chechen Defiance of Russian Rule, p. 127.
  8. Gary Jonathan Bass, Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals, p. 139.
  9. Books on London - Disasters
  10. George Rawlinson, A Memoir of Major-General Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson, p. 243.
  11. Stage Beauty


  • A. J. Smithers (1978), Toby. A Real Life Ripping Yarn
  • A. Rawlinson Adventures in the Near East 1918-1922 Andrew Melrose, 1923, London

External links


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