Born in 1840, Charles Warren was educated at Cheltenham College, from which he proceeded to Sandhurst and Woolwich. He was gazetted in 1857 in the Royal Engineers, was given his company in 1869, and six years later became Major and Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel.
Between 1867 and 1870 Captain Warren carried out the explorations in Palestine which form the basis for our knowledge of the topography of ancient Jerusalem and the archaeology of the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sherif. This first major expedition of the Fund, in addition to the information it provided concerning Jerusalem, served to raise the public interest in the work of the Fund sufficiently such that £60,000 was raised by public subscription to carry out the great Survey of Western Palestine. In addition to his explorations on, under, and around the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sherif, Warren surveyed the Plain of Philistia and carried out a very important reconnaisance of central Jordan.
After this he was sent to South Africa where during the next few years it fell to him to settle many difficult questions in connection with the boundary of the British possessions, which he did with the utmost tact and diplomacy. Returning to England in 1880, he was appointed Instructor of Surveying at Chatham, but in 1882 he again returned to Africa, where he established the claims of Great Britain over the disputed territory known as British Bechuanaland. After holding command of the garrison in Suakim (1886) he was recalled to England the same year to be Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police - a position which he resigned in 1888 through disagreements with the Home Office. In the following year he went to Singapore, where he commanded the troops in the Straits Settlements for five years.
During the Boer War, now a Lieutenant-General, he commanded the 5th Division of the South African Field Force. His first failure at Spion Kop was the subject of much controversy, but on the resumption of the offensive in Natal he succeeded in forcing a crossing of the Tugela River and in winning an action at Pieters Hill which paved the way for the relief of Ladysmith. He later held an important administrative post in Cape Colony. He was promoted General in 1904, and the next year was placed on the retired list. He was a keen Freemason and first Master of the First Lodge founded with the aim of conducting Masonic research.
After his retirement he took a keen interest in the Church Lads' Brigade and was a pioneering Scoutmaster in the movement founded by his boyhood friend and military colleague, Lord Baden-Powell.
The Palestine Exploration Fund, 2 Hinde Mews, Marylebone Lane, London, W1U 2AA
Tel: +44 (0)20 7935 5379 | Fax: +44 (0)20 7486 7438 | Email: ExecSec@PEF.org.uk
Registered company: 13606 | Registered charity: 212538