Update Search About Me Facebook Email

Charles Fitzclarence VC     

Servicenumber :
Rank : Brigadier General
Regiment : 1st Guards Brigade and Irish Guards
Unit :
Date of Death : 12-11-1914
Age : 49
Grave :
Charles Fitzclarence was born on 8 may 1865 in Bishopcourt, County Kildare. He was a son of Captain George Fitzclarence and Maria Henrietta Fitzclarence (nee Scott). He was married to Mrs. V. Fitzclarence of 12, Lowndes Streer, Belgrave Square, London. 
He was awarded a Victoria Cross during the Second Boer War when he was a captain in The Royal Fusiliers. His citation read: "On the 14th October 1899, Captain Fitzclarence went with his squadron of the Protectorate Regiment, consisting of only partially trained men, who had never been in action, to the assistance of an armoured train which had gone out from Mafeking. The enemy were in greatly superior numbers, and the squadron was for a time surrounded, and it looked as if nothing could save them from being shot down. Captain Fitzclarence, however, by his personal coolness and courage inspired the greatest confidence in his men, and, by his bold and efficient handling of them, not only succeeded in relieving the armoured train, but inflicted a heavy defeat on the Boers, who lost 50 killed and a large number wounded. The moral effect of this blow had a very important bearing on subsequent encounters with the Boers." "On the 27th October 1899, Captain Fitzclarence led his squadron from Mafeking across the open, and made a night attack with the bayonet on one of the enemy's trenches. A hand-to-hand fight took place in the trench, while heavy fire was concentrated on it from the rear. The enemy was driven out with heavy loss. Captain Fitzclarence was the first man into the position and accounted for four of the enemy with his sword. The British lost 6 killed and 9 wounded. Captain Fitzclarence was himself slightly wounded. With reference to these two actions, Major-General Baden-Powell states that had his Officer not shown an extraordinary spirit and fearlessness the attacks would have been failures, and we should have suffered heavy loss both in men and prestige. On the 26th December 1899, during the action at Game Tree, near Mafeking, Captain Fitzclarence again distinguished himself by his coolness and courage, and was again wounded (severely through both legs).".
In october 1900 Fitzclarence transferred to the Irish Guards. He became a Major in may 1904 and succeeded to the command of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards in july 1909. He later achieved the rank of Brigadier General.
On 27 september 1914 he took command of the 1st Guards Brigade with the British Expeditionary Force, and he held this command until his death on 12 november of that year. He was killed in action leading the 1st Guards Brigade against the Prussian Guard. 
In october Fitzclarence had played a significant part in the battle for Ypres. On the morning of 11 november the Prussian Guard attacked British troops along the Menin Road. Thirteen battalions of them came on, but only in three places did the Germans break through. Fitzclarence played an important role in stopping the German advance and then he was determined to win back the trenched that were lost earlier in the day, so he counter-attacked. The general himself decided to show his old regiment the way, and paid for the decision with his life. He was killed in action at Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, Belgium. After his death the planned couterattack was abandoned. 
Fitzclarence has no known grave. He is commemorated at the Menin Gate Memorial (panel 3).
Brigadier General Fitsclarence's Victoria Cross is on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery in the Imperial War Museum. 
Picture: 12-08-2015
 
Sources: Website CWGC

Back