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In 1913 Lieutenant General Sir Francis Lloyd was appointed to the supreme position reserved for Guardsmen, the command of the London Districts. The war saw an extension of his responsibilities to include the hospitals and main railway termini in the metropolis. He was also put in charge of the construction of the defensive circle of trenches around London.
Whether it was meeting hospital trains returning from the front with wounded soldiers, or visiting areas of the City that had suffered from the Zeppelin and Gotha Bomber air raids, Francis Lloyd’s presence would help to revive the population’s flagging morale. This led him to be described by newspapers as ‘The Man who runs London’.
Francis Lloyd had the gift that so many distinguished men from Wales have, of oratory. Earlier in his career he had commanded the Welsh Division of the newly formed Territorials. He used this experience to great effect during the Great War in the vital recruitment campaigns around London.
Lloyd was a Grenadier Guardsman and served in two campaigns in the Sudan and in South Africa during the Boer War, where he was severely wounded.
After a career in the City of London, Richard Morris OBE has pursued a lifetime interest in the history of his home county, Essex, and its links with London. He is the author of The Powells in Essex and their London Ancestors (2002), The Verderers and Courts of Waltham Forest 1250-2000 (2004) and Merchants, Medicine and Trafalgar: the history of the Harvey Family (2007). He lives at Loughton, Essex.
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