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Harry Rawson

Admiral Sir Harry Holdsworth Rawson, KCB (1843-1910), is chiefly remembered now for having overseen the British 'Punitive Expedition' of 1897 that burned and looted the city of Benin, now in Nigeria. No shame was attached to the event at the time, and Admiral Rawson was appointed Governor of New South Wales, 27 May 1902 - 27 May 1909. The first naval officer since Captain Bligh to hold the post, he proved so popular that his term was extended.

Admiral Rawson was commander of British naval forces at the Cape of Good Hope at the time, and the Expedition was regarded in British circles largely as a stroke of disciplined and coordinated planning:

"In twenty-nine days a force of 1200 men, coming from three places between 3000 and 4500 m. from the Benin river, was landed, organized, equipped and provided with transport. Five days later the city of Benin was taken, and in twelve days more the men were re-embarked, and the ships coaled and ready for any further service." (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911).

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