HENRY WILLIAM CRICHTON (D S O)

Henry William CRICHTON
Rank: Major
Service Number:.
Killed In Action Thursday 22nd October 1914
Age 42
County MemorialUnknown
Commemorated\Buried Zantvoorde British Cemetery
Grave\Panel Ref: N/A
CountryBelgium

Henry William's Story.

Son of the 4th Earl of Erne, of Crom Castle, Ireland
and husband of Vicountess Crichton. Extra Equerry to His Majesty the King, etc. eldest s. of John Henry, 4th Earl Erne, K.P., P.C., by his wife, Lady Florence Mary (21, Knightsbridge, S.W.), nee Cole, dau. of William Willoughby, 3rd Earl of Enniskillen, F.R.S.; b. at Crom Castle, 30 Sept. 1872; educ. Eton, and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst; gazetted 2nd Lieut. Royal Horse Guards, 5 May, 1894, and promoted Lieut. 6 Feb. 1895, Capt. 24 Feb. 1900, Major 7 May, 1910, and Brevet Lieut.-Col. 7 Nov. 1914; was Adjutant 8 Dec. 1896, to 6 Oct. 1899; A.D.C. to H.M. when Duke of Cornwall during his Colonial Tour, 1901; Equerry, 19 Nov. 1901, to 12 May, 1908, and Extra Equerry 1 April, 1909, to 6 May, 1910, to H.M. when Prince of Wales, etc., and Extra Equerry to H.M. the King from 10 June, 1910; M.V.O. (4th Class) 1906; served (1) in the South African War 1899-1900, on Staff; was A.D.C. to Major-General Commanding Cavalry Brigade, Natal, 7 Oct. 1899, to 24 Jan. 1901; took part in Defence of Ladysmith; operations in Natal, March to June, 1900, and in the Transvaal east of Pretoria, July to Nov. 1900 (mentioned in Despatches [London Gazette. 8 Feb. 1901]; D.S.O.; Queen's Medal with five clasps); and (2) in the European War, Aug. to Nov. 1914 (mentioned in Despatches [London Gazettes, 19 Oct. 1914, and 17 Feb. 19151), and was officially reported missing 1 Nov. 1914. For over a year it was supposed that he might be a prisoner in Germany, and his father dying 2 Dec. 1914, he appeared in the Peerages for 1915-16 as 5th Earl Erne. According to a list received by the Foreign Office from the German Government through the United States Embassy, Lord Crichton fell in Oct. 1914, and was buried in the cemetery of Wervice Nord [Grave No. 1596]. His death. therefore, has been accepted as having occurred on or about 31 Oct. 1914. From a statement issued by the family in Feb. 1917, it appears that Lord Crichton disappeared at 2 a.m. at Wytschaete. Captain Bowlby, a brother officer of the Royal Horse Guards, since killed, stated that during the fighting round Ypres lie and Lord Crichton went out to bring in some men whom Lord Crichton believed to belong to his own Regiment. Captain Bowlby thought that they were Germans, and Lord Crichton courageously went out. He was seen riding up to them; they closed around him, and he did not return. Cond. Coppinger, Royal Horse Guards, who was in hospital in Boulogne after the incident, stated that he was within 50 yards of Lord Crichton when they had retired from the trenches. Lord Crichton went off on a horse to get into communication with other troops and ran straight into the Germans. It was dark at the time, but Coppinger could hear German niece. Another soldier of Coppinger's party said that he heard a German say in good English : "Most delighted !" Coppinger added that there was no sound of a shot or a struggle, and he had no doubt that Lord Crichton fell unharmed into the Germans' hands. He m. 10 June, 1903, Lady Mary Cavendish (Crom Castle, Newton Butler, Fermanagh; 21. Knightsbridge, S.W.), née Grosvenor, dau. of Hugh Lupus, 1st Duke of Westminster, K.G., and had three children : George David Hugh, b. 12 (d. 18) May, 1904; John Henry George, now 5th Earl Erne (for whom H.M. the King was sponsor), b. 22 Nov. 1907, and Mary Kathleen (for whom H.M. the Queen was sponsor), b. 8 July, 1905.

Updated by Mark A. Potts on March 19, 2017.