Herbert Ethelston

Herbert Wickstead Ethelston

Personal Details

Herbert Wickstead Ethelston was born in Park Lane, London on 4th November 1881, the third son of the late Edmund Peel (formerly Ethelston) and the late Henrietta Margaret Peel of Bryn-y-Pys, Overton, Flintshire, Wales.

Husband of Muriel Margaret Ethelston (nee Kennedy) of Wickstead Hall, Whitchurch, Shropshire.

Herbert attended Eton College going up to the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.

Herbert is commemorated on the Overton Memorial in Flintshire, Wales, and the Etonians of the Grenadier Guards WW1 Memorial in High Street, Eton.

Herbert’s father, Edmund, changed his name by Royal Licence from Ethelston to Peel on 29 March 1851. Herbert’s surname was registered at birth as Peel, but he used the original family surname of Ethelston, which he possibly assumed as the condition of an inheritance on his uncle’s death. This is the surname shown on the 1891 census (when he was 9 years old).

Military Details

Regiment : 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards
Rank : Lieutenant
Service Number :

Killed in action; France 14 March 1915 Aged 33

Medals and Awards
Herbert was awarded the Campaign Medals (British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal).

Campaign Medals

Great War History Hub Whitchurch Shropshire Medals Front Image

The British War Medal (also known as 'Squeak') was a silver or bronze medal awarded to officers and men of the British and Imperial Forces who either entered a theatre of war or entered service overseas between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918 inclusive. This was later extended to services in Russia, Siberia and some other areas in 1919 and 1920. Approximately 6.5 million British War Medals were issued. Approximately 6.4 million of these were the silver versions of this medal. Around 110,000 of a bronze version were issued mainly to Chinese, Maltese and Indian Labour Corps. The front (obv or obverse) of the medal depicts the head of George V. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.

The Allied Victory Medal (also known as 'Wilfred') was issued by each of the allies. It was decided that each of the allies should each issue their own bronze victory medal with a similar design, similar equivalent wording and identical ribbon. The British medal was designed by W. McMillan. The front depicts a winged classical figure representing victory. Approximately 5.7 million victory medals were issued. Interestingly, eligibility for this medal was more restrictive and not everyone who received the British War Medal ('Squeak') also received the Victory Medal ('Wilfred'). However, in general, all recipients of 'Wilfred' also received 'Squeak' and all recipients of The 1914 Star or The 1914/1915 Star (also known as 'Pip') also received both 'Squeak' and 'Wilfred'. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.

Further Information

Cheshire Observer 20 March 1915

Report in the Cheshire Observer 20th March 1915 regarding the death of Herbert Wickstead Ethelston

Yesterday (Friday) we were informed that the widow of Lieut. Herbert Ethelston of Wickstead Hall, had received a letter from a brother officer of the late lieutenant's in the Grenadier Guards, stating: "Herbert was killed on Saturday, after having led his men all the three days, splendidly. He was shot through the head, and died at once. I was not with him, but a Sergt. Clayton, who was, tells me that, with his usual bravery, he was looking over the parapet of the trench, where we were waiting, in order to choose the moment for attack. It had to be done, and he lost his life in consequence. As you know, he and I have been in the same company all the time. He always wanted to do all the dangerous jobs to save other people, and he was always cheerful and splendid to work with."

Lieut. Ethelston was a younger son of the late Mr. Edmund Peel of Brynypys and a descendant of Sir Robert Peel. He built Wickstead Hall, Whitchurch, eight years ago. "

Cheshire Observer 20th March 1915

The Scotsman 8 April 1915

Report in The Scotsman 8th April 1915 regarding the death of Herbert Wickstead Ethelston

A service was held at St. Paul's, Knightsbridge, at noon yesterday in memory of Lieutenant-Colonel L. R. Fisher-Rowe, Major P. W. Duderly, Captain the Hon. G. H. Douglas-Pennant, Lieutenant Lord Brabourne, Lieutenant F. G. Marshall, Lieutenant M. A. A. Parby, Lieutenant H. W. Ethelston, Second Lieutenent C. F. Burnand, Second Lieutenant R. F. C. Geldred-Somervell, Second Lieutenant A. C. Foster, and the non-commissioned officers and men of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards who gave their lives at the taking of Neuve Chapelle. The service included the hymns, "For all the saints," "Onward, Christian soldiers," the commendatory litany, "God the Father, God the Son," and concluded with the National Anthem. The drums and the buglers of the Grenadier Guards attended, formed up outside the church, and before the congregation dispersed sounded the "Last Post."

Among those present at the service were about 500 men of the Grenadiers in khaki, Mrs Asquith, the Hon. Lady Musgrave, General Sir Francis Lloyd, Commanding the London District; Colonel Henry Streatfield, commanding the Grenadiers; several officers of the Grenadier Guards, including Captain Sir A. Webster, Captain Sir Wroth Lethbridge, Captain Sir Alexander Napier, Captain Sir George Boswall, Lieutenant-Colonel Torry, and Major the Hon. Miles Ponsonby. There were also present Lady Ferguson-Davie, Mrs de Crespigny, Gertrude Lady Penrhyn, the Hon. Lilian Douglas-Pennant, Lady Victoria Rowe, Lady Dalrymple White, the Hon. Mrs Charles Fortescue, Viscount Allendale, the Bishop of Bangor, the Hon. Lady Herbert, Lady Manners, the Countess of Harrowby, Miss A. J. Astor, Lady Mansfield-Clarke, Lady Templemore, Lady Maud Ryder, and Sir Francis Astley-Corbett. "

The Scotsman 8th April 1915

Nantwich Guardian 26 March 1915

Report in the Nantwich Guardian 26th March 1915 regarding the death of Herbert Wickstead Ethelston

"News has been received of the death in action at Neuve Chapelle of Lieut. Herbert Ethelston, of the Grenadier Guards. Lieut. Ethelston, who rejoined his regiment on the outbreak of the war, was a younger son of the late Mr. Edmund Peel, of Brynewyl, and a descendent of the late Sir Robert Peel. He built Wickstead Hall, Whitchurch, eight years ago. He was a keen cricketer, and had captained the Shropshire Gentlemen. He was recently appointed vice-president of the Whitchurch Dairy Farmers Association, in succession to Captain R. W. Ethelston, who died last year."

Nantwich Guardian 26th March 1915

Nantwich Guardian 27 August 1915

Report in the Nantwich Guardian 27th August 1915 regarding the death of Herbert Wickstead Ethelston

"Lieutenant Herbert Wickstead Ethelston, Grenadier Guards, of Wickstead Hall, Whitchurch, former captain of the Shropshire Gentlemen (cricket) and chairman of the Whitchurch Dairy Farmers' Association, and a liberal subscriber to its funds, who was killed in action at Neuve Chapelle, left unsettled property of £96,699. "

Nantwich Guardian 27th August 1915

Chester Chronicle 20 March 1915

Report in the Chester Chronicle 20th March 1915 regarding the death of Herbert Wickstead Ethelston

"It was announced on Thursday, and the news was received in Cheshire and Flintshire with deep regret, that Lieutenant Herbert Wicksted Ethelston, of the Grenadier Guards, and of Wicksted Hall, Whitchurch, had been killed in action on March 13th near Neuve Chapelle. He was aged 33 and leaves a widow. He was the younger son of the late Mr. Edmund Peel, of Brynypys, and assumed the name Ethelston on his uncle's death.

The first news of the fatality reached Wicksted Hall on Tuesday evening in the form of a War Office wire.

The lieutenant was one of the best known sportsmen in North Wales. He was an unusually able cricketer, besides being a good shot and an enthusiastic angler.

His widow is the daughter of an Army officer. The marriage took place about ten years ago."

Chester Chronicle 20th March 1915

Will of Herbert Wickstead Ethelston
Ethelston Herbert Wicksted of Wicksted Hall near Whitchurch Shropshire lieutenant in H.M. Regiment Grenadier Guards died 13 March 1915 at Neuve Chapelle in France having been killed in action Probate London 18 August to Hugh Edmund Ethelston Peel and Charles Francis Kynaston Mainwaring majors in H.M. Army. Effects £98609 11s. 7d.

Taken from Forces War Records

More information about Herbert Wickstead Ethelston is available from Flintshire War Memorials.

If you can provide any further information on Herbert Wickstead Ethelston please get in touch by leaving a comment below, using our Contact Form or by calling in to Whitchurch Heritage Centre.

Information provided by Whitchurch Museum and Archives


Herbert Ethelston — 2 Comments

  1. Herbert’ widow Muriel subsequently remarried in 1919 at Chelsea London to my grandfather Stuart Eddington Gay. She died on 2 April 1920 after a 2day labour, and heart failure at age 38, giving birth to twins, my aunt Muriel and my father David.

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