Wavell, Archibald Percival Wavell, First Earl (1883–1950), a British army officer. While commander of British forces in the Middle East, 1939–41, Wavell drove Italian forces from East Africa (Ethiopia and Somaliland). He then became British commander in India. For a short time in 1942 he was supreme commander of Allied forces in the southwest Pacific. From 1943 to 1947, Field Marshal Wavell served as viceroy and governor general of India. He helped prepare India for independence.
Wavell was born in Colchester, Essex. He studied at Winchester College and the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. Wavell served in the Boer War, in India, in World War I, and in Egypt. He was made field marshal in 1943 and earl in 1947.