De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour Viscount Crichton

CRICHTON, HENRY WILLIAM, Viscount, M.V.O., D.S.O., Major and Brevet Lieut.-Col., Royal Horse Guards; Extra Equerry to His Majesty the King etc. eldest son of John Henry, 4th Earl Erne, K.P., P.C., by his wife, Lady Florence Mary (21, Knightsbridge, S.W.), nee Cole, daughter of William Willoughby, 3rd Earl of Enniskillen, F.R.S.; born at Crom Castle 30 Sept. 1872; educated 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 Exra Equerry to H.M. the Kng 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. 1915), 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 ocurred 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 Horse Guards, since killed, stated that during the fighting round Ypres he and Lord Crichton went out to bring in some men whom Lord Crichton believed belonged 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. Corpl. 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 communcation with other troops and ran straight into the Germans. It was dark at the time, but Coppinger could hear German voices. 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 German hands.

He married 10 June 1903, Lady Mary Cavendish (Crom Castle, Newton Butler, Fermanagh; 21, Knightsbridge, S.W.) nee Grosvenor, daughter of Hugh Lupus, 1st Duke of Westminster, K.G., and had three children: George David Hugh born 12 (died 18) May 1904; John Henry George, now 5th Earl Erne (for whom H.M. the King was sponsor), born 22 Nov. 1907, and Mary Kathleen (for whom H.M. the Queen was sponsor), born 8 July 1905.

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