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Remembered Today:

The Hon. Walter Alexander Trefusis


J.G. Hopkins
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I am researching the Honourable Walter Alexander Trefusis of the Scots Guards and Royal Naval Division. Through personal research and help from a friend I have been able to find out a bit about Lt.-Col. Trefusis:

The Honourable Walter Alexander Hepburn-Stewart-Forbes-Trefusis, b. 1879, d. 1926, was the 4th son of 20th Baron Clinton. His family had quite a legacy in the Scots Guards, and he and his brothers carried on this tradition. Trefusis was educated at Eton (January 1893- July 1897) and the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. He was commissioned in the Scots Guards in either 1897 or 1898, the latter date seeming likely since this is when he purchased his sword (perhaps he was at Sandhurst between July, 1897 and May, 1898?).

According the London Times Boer War Shipping Lists, Trefusis embarked for South Africa on 15 March, 1900 aboard the Britannic, and returned home aboard the Saxon on 12 December, 1900. Upon embarking he is listed as a Second Lieutenant, and upon returning he is listed as a Lieutenant.

In 1911, Trefusis married Marjorie Winifred, the second daughter of Sir Henry John Lowndes Graham, KCB. Trefusis divorced Marjorie Winifred in 1919 and appears not to have remarried.

At some point between the end of the Boer War and the beginning of World War I, Trefusis attained the rank of captain in the Scots Guards.

Dod's Peerage for 1916 shows Trefusis as a Major in the "R[oyal] N[aval] D[ivision], late Scots Guards". According to the London Gazette for 10 November, 1914, Trefusis received a temporary commission as a major in the Royal Marines forces, and the medal rolls (which are quite difficult to read) list him as a major in the Scots Guards and in the Naval Forces. He is mentioned in Jerrold's history of the RND as being 2nd in command of the 4th (Collingwood) Battalion.

He is also quoted in a topic here

The Honourable Walter Alexander Trefusis reached the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel by the time he retired from the Army. Having survived the Boer War and World War I, Trefusis died in 1926 at age 47.

As you can see, there are some rather significant gaps in my knowledge regarding Trefusis' service (what he was up to between the Boer War and WWI, details for his service and promotions during the Great War, etc.). I have written to the Scots Guards for any information they might be able to provide, but I am still awaiting a response. I would be very grateful for any additional insights that anyone might be able to offer.

Thank you,

Jonathan

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This might add a little to what you already have Jonathon - from The Jack Clegg Memorial Database on FindMyPast

First name(s): Walter Alexander (The Honourable)

Last name: TREFUSIS

Number: ex-Captain Scots Guards

Rank: Temporary Major

Awards:

Service branch: Royal Marines

Unit: Collingwood Battalion

Date of birth: not known

Date of death: 11 Jul 1926

Cause of death: Died at the New Lodge, Bray, Cookham, Berks. from Angina Pectoris.

Service history: Commissioned Temporary Major RM & 2nd in Command Collingwood Battalion 22/8/14

Officer Commanding Collingwood Battalion vice Lieutenant Colonel Maxwell RM DOW 9/10/14

Interned in Holland 9/10/14

Terminated Commission 1/9/19.

Burial: Huish Churchyard, Devon.

Notes: Queen's South Africa Medal with 3 clasps "Wittebergen", "Transvaal" & "Cape Colony" (Lieut. Scots Guards)

3rd Son of the 19th Baron Clinton

1914 Star & clasp issued 5/1/1922

GRO = Sept. Qr.1926, age 46, Maidenhead, 2c, p.393,

of the Guards Club, Brook St., London,

a Director of a Limited Company.

Informant: Brother, S.C. Trefusis, of Lye Green House, Chesham.

Cheers

Sue

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From: The Times, Friday, Feb 28, 1919; pg. 2; Issue 42036; col B

Seems to confirm his internment in Holland (I had no idea those interned were allowed leave and then expected to return to Holland!)

post-16016-1209525345.jpg

Cheers

Sue

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In the 1901 (31st March) census he was Camp Adjutant at Pirbright Camp in Surrey - 21 years old - Lieutenant 3rd Scots Guards

In 1904 he was promoted to Captain

SCOTS GUARDS.

The undermentioned Lieutenants to be Captains.

Dated 10th April, 1904 :—

The Honourable Walter A. Trefusis, vice C.

Alexander, seconded without pay

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/ViewPDF.a...t=&similar=

He may have gone to New York in 1905 - Passenger Lists and Ellis Island records show a 26 year old soldier Walter Trefusis sailed on the "St Louis" from Southampton on 30th September - arriving 7th October

In 1906 he resigned his commission -

SCOTS GUARDS.

Captain The Honourable Walter A. Trefusis

resigns his Commission. Dated 6th June,

1906.

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/ViewPDF.a...t=&similar=

Hope this helps a bit more

Cheers

Sue

post-16016-1209538443.jpg

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Sue,

Brilliant! Thank you very much for all of the information you have provided. I had no idea he had resigned his commission, nor was I aware of the circumstances of his divorce. It is quite sad that his wife left him while he was serving in Europe.

I am keen to learn more about the Collingwood Battalion and to track the battalion’s (and Trefusis”) movements throughout the war. Do you have any suggestions for doing this?

Thank you,

Jonathan

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Formed at Walmer, Kent, as one of four battalions of 1st (Naval) Brigade of the Royal Naval Division at the end of August 1914, 4th (Collingwood) Battalion was sent (largely untrained) with the RND to the Defence of Antwerp in early October 1914. In that operation Collingwood Bn was interned in Holland or captured, almost in its entirety. Maj Trefusis was one of those interned for the duration of the war. End of story really for that first Collingwood Bn., although Collingwood Bn was re-formed in 1915 and survived for less than a week at Gallipoli, where it took heavy casualties during the 3rd Battle of Krithia and was disbanded, never to rise again.

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Horatio2,

Thank you for the additional information. It appears that Trefusis re-joined only to sit-out most of the war. I suppose that went a long way towards preventing him from becoming a casualty at Gallipoli.

Thanks again!

Jonathan

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If you can get to the NA at Kew then have a look at file ADM 116/1814

this is the Report of Walter Trefusis dated 5th Dec 1914 concerning the retreat from Antwerp

addressed to O.C. 1st Brigade, Royal Naval Division

Four A4 pages of transcript of the report appear in Len Seller's magazine 'RND' issue No.16, March 2001

Trefusis goes into some detail with particular ref to

'A' Shortage of Officers and trained NCOs

'B' Fatigue

'C' Want of proper Equipment

'D' Lack of transport and means of communication

'E' Rate of marching

'F' Want of maps

Like any good CO he ends his report with

"I have the honour to submit the names of the following..."

he then goes on to mention Lt-Comm Crossman, Sub-Lt Carlisle, Petty Officer Mintram

as well as Lt Wilberforce, Lt Hammick, Hon. Lt & Qr Mr Chapman, CPO Cummings, PO Gray, & Leading Seaman Picton Warlow

regards

Michael

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Michael,

I have yet to follow-up on the Len Sellars lead you sent me a while back. Thanks for bumping it to the top of my mind, and for the additional information.

In my request to the Scots Guards I asked if they have any photos of Trefusis. I am hoping to hear back in the affirmative!

Jonathan

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just had a look through the gazettes again and found this bit of information just beneath the snippet Sue provided above:

SCOTS GUARDS.

The undermentioned Lieutenants to be Captains.

Dated 10th April, 1904 :?

The Honourable Walter A. Trefusis, vice C.

Alexander, seconded without pay.

Albert A. L. Stephen, D.S.O., vice the Honourable

W. A. Trefusis, seconded for service with

the Egyptian Army.

Does this mean that upon being promoted he was then seconded to the Egyptian Army? If so, what was happening in Egypt during this period?

Thank you,

Jonathan

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I heard back from the archivist of the Scots Guards. Here is what he or she said about Trefusis' service in Egypt:

Employed with Egyptian Army 18 Feb 1904 - 12 Nov 1905.

Aide -de - Camp to Sirdar 14 Dec 1904 - 22 August 1905.

Can anyone elaborate on what "Aide -de - Camp to Sirdar" means? I understand the Aide-de-Camp, but who was Sirdar?

Thank you,

Jonathan

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quote: "Sirdar from 1899 to 1916 and High Commissioner to Egypt 1817-19, [sic - should read 1917-1919] Sir Reginald was instrumental in quelling Egypt and Sudan's nationalist movements. Small wonder Egyptian commuters cursed the Ingilizi commander whenever their tram ran past the Sirdaria on its way to the Pyramids"

[from http://www.egy.com/landmarks/01-02-15.shtml]

This refers to Sir Francis Reginald Wingate, 1st Baronet 1861-1953

The Sirdar was the British head of the Egyptian Army

regards

Michael

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Sirdar- rank assigned to a British Commander-in-Chief of the 19th Century Egyptian army.

Sirdar- (Persia,Afghan,Pakistan,India) a title of nobility, roughly equivalent to that of a European count.

Ellie

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Thanks, Ellie. Sir Francis Reginald Wingate was sirdar during Trefusis' time in Egypt, so I suppose that if I can find out the wheres and whats for Wingate during 1904-1906 I can get a reasonable picture of what Trefusis was up to as well.

Jonathan

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Thank you once again, Ellie. :)

Jonathan

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Jonathan,

Further to my post #12 above

I understand that you can find more on Wingate at the

Sudan Archive, Archives and Special Collections, University of Durham

regards

Michael

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Michael,

Somehow I missed your post #12, thank you for the excellent link! I will look into the Sudan Archive.

Jonathan

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