Portrait photograph of W H I Shakespear
Born in India in 1878 and educated at Portsmouth Grammar School, King William's College, Isle of Man and Sandhurst. In 1898, he received a commission with 1 Battalion, Devonshire Regiment before transferring to the Indian Army in 1899 and receiving a commision with 17 Cavalry. He entered the Foreign Department of the Indian Government in 1903. Having studied Arabic and other languages, he was appointed Assistant Political Agent in Kuwait in 1909. Over the years leading up to the outbreak of war in 1914, Captain Shakespear undertook a series of expeditions through Arabia (then under Turkish control) and became friends with Emir Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud. As a keen supporter of the Arab cause, he prepared the ground for T E Lawrence. In late 1914, he was tasked by the British Government to persuade Ibn Saud to become an ally of Britain. When Ibn Saud's forces engaged those of Ibn Rashid in 1915, Captain Shakespear accompanied them as an observer. He was killed, aged 36, on 24 January 1915.