HORATIO KITCHENER, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum, British field marshal (d. 1916); A decade after Alan Turing’s death, the same Brits who had pushed the mathematician over the precipice, howled in outrage at the publication of Douglas Plummer’s Queer People, a general history of homosexuality that sought to prove to the English people that Gayness was not limited to Oscar Wilde and a few assorted French couturiers.
The book named names, among them, Kitchener, one of the great heroes of English Imperialism. Writers that make the case for his homosexuality include Montgomery Hyde, Ronald Hyam, Dennis Judd and Richardson. Biographers who make the case against include Cassar, Pollock, and Warner. Magnus and Royle hint at homosexuality, though Magnus is said to have later recanted. The proponents of the case point to Kitchener’s friend Captain Oswald Fitzgerald, his “constant and inseparable companion,” whom he appointed his aide-de-camp. They remained close until they met a common death on their voyage to Russia.
From his time in Egypt in 1892, he gathered around him a cadre of eager young and unmarried officers nicknamed “Kitchener’s band of boys.” He also avoided interviews with women, took a great deal of interest in the Boy Scout movement, and decorated his rose garden with four pairs of sculptured bronze boys. According to Hyam, “there is no evidence that he ever loved a woman.”
A contemporary journalist remarked that Kitchener “has the failing acquired by most of the Egyptian officers, a taste for buggery”. J.B. Priestly noted in his book on The Edwardians that one of Lord Kitchener’s personal interests in life included planning and decorating his residences. He was also known to collect delicate china with a passion (such allusions to an ‘artistic temperament’ were a common code for implying homosexuality at that time).