Captain Wilfred Edmund Laurence Radclyffe DUGMORE – (Commanding ‘C’ Company)
Captured: 24 August 1914 Repatriated: June 1918
Personal: Wilfred was born on 26th July 1879 in St Peter Port, Guernsey, and died on 28th February 1932 also in St Peter Port.
He was the 5th (of 6) child of Captain Francis Sandys Dugmore (1839 – 1898) and the Honourable Emily Evelyn Brougham (1839 – 1919), who married on 23rd April 1867 at Christchurch, Hampshire.
Emily was the daughter of the Rt. Hon. William Brougham, 2nd Baron of Brougham and Vaux.
Wilfred’s older siblings were [Lieutenant Colonel] William Francis Radclyffe Brougham Dugmore, DSO (1st October 1868 – 12th June 1917); [Major] Arthur Vaux Venner Radclyffe Dugmore (25th December 1870 – 21st March 1952); Evelyn Mary Radclyffe Dugmore (April 1873 – 22nd October 1950) and [Commander, R.N.] Eric Valentine Frederick Radclyffe Dugmore (21st January 1875 – 7th October 1954). Wilfred’s younger brother was [Major] Cyril William Francis Dugmore (September 1882 – 22nd January 1966). [See Footnotes below]
Wilfred was educated at Elizabeth College, Guernsey, “H.M.S. Conway” (Liverpool), and at Sandhurst.
On 21st July 1904 Wilfred married Ivy May Borlase, born 1882 in Avranches, Normandy, France. They had 3 children Ivy Monica Evelyn (born December 1905), Arthur Borlase Radclyffe (b. 1908) and Eric Brougham Radclyffe (b. 1910).
The 1911 Census shows the family living at ‘Brockhurst’ Grange Road, St Peter Port, Guernsey (modern photo left). Wilfred is enumerated as “Captain, Cheshire Regiment)”.
Wilfred’s widowed mother died there on 13th November 1919.
After he returned from 4 years as a prisoner of war Wilfred and Ivy lived at Cambridge Barracks, Woolwich London (1919 Electoral Register).
After retiring from the Regiment Wilfred returned to his native Guernsey and died on 28th February 1932 at La Maison Blanche, Queen’s Road, St Peter Port. Probate Records show he left effects to the value of £388 17s 8d (£388.78 – equivalent to about £35,000 today – 2023) to (Retd.) Lt. Col. Percival Gaussen Carey. (He served in the Indian Army and was born in Guernsey on 11th December 1882, so may have known Wilfred most of his life.)
The 1939 Register shows an “Ivanna M. Dugmore“, of the right age, living by ‘Private Means‘, at Little Shackles, Petersfield, Hampshire. If this was her no further details has been found.
Military Service: Wilfred was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the Cheshire Regiment on 12th August 1899 [London Gazette, p. 5013], rising to Lieutenant on 15th December 1900 and Captain on 22nd November 1906.
The 1911 Census shows the family living at Oldholm, Jersey. Wilfred is also enumerated as part of the “3rd South Battn. Royal Militia, Ireland of Jersey” – a company of artillery comprising two field and two garrison companies.
Wilfred was serving with the 1st Battalion in Londonderry, Ireland, when on the 4th August to everyone’s complete surprise, orders were received to mobilise for war in Europe.
Just before the Battalion left for the front, a photograph of all the Officers was taken in Belfast. Wilfred is seated on the left, next to Lt. Col Boger, who was about to take command. Behind them (left – right) are Capt. E.A. Jackson, Capt. C.E. Joliffe and Capt. H.I.S. Hartford.
The Battalion arrived in France on 16th August 1914; Lieut-Colonel D.C. Boger was in command and Major B.H. Chetwynd-Stapleton was the senior major. Capt. V.R. Tahourdin was adjutant, and the four companies were commanded by Capt. A.J.L. Dyer, Capt. J.L. Shore, Capt. W.L.E.R. Dugmore and Capt. E. Rae-Jones.
So at the outbreak of War Wilfred sailed for France in command of ‘C’ Company, 1st Battalion. The Battalion marched into the line south of Mons and first saw action at:
“The Rearguard Action at Elouges”
The 15th Brigade, consisting of 1st Norfolk, 1st Bedford, 1st Cheshire, and 1st Dorset, were ordered to prepare a position in rear and in reserve around Dour.
The Cheshire’s War Diary shows they had initially been placed in a defensive position with ‘A’ & ‘B’ Companies entrenched in position 1½ miles East of Bois de Boussu facing North & North West under Lt Col D.C. Boger, but on the morning of the 24th August the order came to send them into action to hold up the enemy advance whilst the remainder of 5th Division withdrew.
Both Battalions, 1/Norfolk and 1/Cheshire, marched from Dour to Audregnies and at about 11.00 a.m. Colonel Ballard (C.O. 1st Norfolks) began to place his Battalion along a line from 800 yards. North of Élouges along a track parallel to the main road between Élouges and Audregnies.
Colonel Boger deployed his Cheshire companies to extend the Norfolk lines westwards for about a mile to the outskirts of Audregnies and ‘C’ Company, under Captain Dugmore were positioned in the centre along the road between Audregnies and Élouges.
The other Company dispositions were:- ‘D’ under Capt. Rae Jones on the right straddling the railway line, and ‘A’ under Capt. Dyer on the left, covering the road junction, Wiheries-Audregnies and Élouges -Audregnies.
A little later ‘B’ Company, under Capt. Shore, came in on completion of its task as flank guard and was detailed to protect the left flank. Capt. Dugmore had originally sent two platoons forward into the open fields, keeping his other two on the road.
Because the interval between his left forward platoon and the right platoon of ‘A’ Company was somewhat extended, he ordered Capt. Jackson to take the two platoons which were on the road forward to fill the gap. There now followed an advance by three German infantry Battalions. They came from the south-east, from the direction of Quarauble, about 3 miles SW of Quiévrain (in the distance picture below).
‘This‘ remarks Crookenden, ‘should have given warning of a wider turning movement, but Colonel Boger was still under the impression that there were British or French troops on that flank, and did not think the situation particularly dangerous.’
Meantime ‘A’ and ‘C’ Companies faced an advancing enemy. ‘(Capt.) Dugmore’ writes Crookenden ‘opened rapid fire, causing havoc in the advancing German ranks. The fire control was what one would expect to find on the parade ground rather than the battlefield. But ammunition was running low.
Dugmore endeavoured, without success, to get in touch with his reserve supply carried on the Company mule, which appears to have retired with the support platoons of D Company. This shortage of ammunition, coupled with the continued and ever-increasing enemy pressure, caused Dugmore to decide that the time had now come to move. At about 4.30 p.m. therefore he passed the order down to retire “individually” from the right. He organised the men around him into two parties. The first he placed under Groves’ command and ordered him to retire forthwith, while he himself stayed behind with the remainder. Groves withdrew to a position east of the Elouges-Audregnies railway line and there waited for Dugmore.
The second party under Dugmore retired to a bridge on the mineral railway where he could obtain a good view. He ordered his men to line the railway cutting and called up Groves’ party to join him. But the field of fire was unsatisfactory, so he ordered Groves to take a few men and make a further bound to a cottage away to the east, while he himself remained with his party to cover their retirement.
Shortly before C Company started to move, Rich, with his two platoons near the colliery, had been forced to retire. Pressed in front and outflanked, he withdrew his men yard by yard, disputing every inch of ground. This grim struggle left an indelible mark on the minds of those of ‘C’ Company who witnessed it.’
This second phase of the battle developed into a series of isolated actions by small groups. When the group under Dugmore finally had to scatter and retreat, only one man escaped capture.
When Dugmore linked up with Groves he found that Officer and Rich, both with their men awaiting him. These two officers, who had shown extraordinary courage and leadership, then took their men off south-east and joined up with the brigade.
‘Their escape’ says Crookenden ‘was remarkable. They must have squeezed through between the van-guards of the German 66th and 93rd regiments converging on Wiheries from the north and west.’
It would appear from the extract from the official positions at 6.00 p.m. that Wilfred might have escaped, but he did not answer roll-call that night, not did the men with him. The only conclusion was, therefore, that he had been taken prisoner.
The only Prisoner of War record is a reference to him at Burg in November 1914, confirmed by O’Rorke, page 60 ‘Captain W. L. Dugmore, Cheshire Regiment, whose bed was next to the window, made gesticulations likewise to the effect that the opposite side of the room was the Russian quarter, and this the British.’
The following Whitsun he was in Torgau where again according to O’Rorke ‘Captain W.L. Dugmore, Cheshire Regiment, a Roman Catholic officer, came in while we were engaged in the work of preparation, (for Whitsun services) to offer his services as organist and to report that the French priest had lent us his harmonium’.
On 11th December 1917 he was at Holzminden, and on 29th December 1917 – “Holland arrived and interned here with Lt. Col. Boger, Major Chetwynd-Stapylton, Captain A.J.L. Dyer, Captain W.L.R. Dugmore, Captain H.C. Randall, Lieutenants Elliot, and Spencer Jacobs.” [Source: ‘In the Hands of the Enemy’ B. G. O’Rorke]
And then he was recorded in Holland, 13th -14th June 1918, ‘At home’ at Sheveningham in Holland with other Cheshire officers and wives at ‘The Blighty Hut’, including Lt. Col. Boger, Major and Mrs B.H. Chetwynd-Stapylton, Captains A.J.L. Dyer, B.E. Massy, H.C. Randall (and his sister), Lt G.S. Jacobs and Lt and Mrs C.A.K. Matterson. [Source: Oak Tree magazine]
Lieutenant Colonel William Francis Radclyffe Brougham Dugmore, DSO – 1st Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment
Decorations: DSO, MiD, East & West Africa Medal and Clasp, Uganda Mutiny Medal and clasp, Queen’s Sudan Medal, Queen’s South African Medal (Boer War) and five clasps, East Africa Medal and clasp, Great War: MiD twice. 1914 -15 Star, War Medal, Victory Medal.
Personal: Wilfred’s eldest brother, William, was born on 1st October 1869 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He was the husband of Phyllis Dugmore (née Usher). He was educated at Elizabeth College in 1879 and left in 1880 for the Oratory, Edgbaston and St Mary’s College, Oscott. (1880 – 86).
War Service: William enlisted in the 17th Lancers in 1887, and moved as 2nd Lieutenant to Prince of Wales, North Staffordshire Regiment on 20th June 1894. [2nd class Assistant Uganda 1895].
He was employed in the Uganda Protectorate 23rd January 1899 – 1902 serving with the King’s African Rifles in East Africa Operations against the Mazrui Rebellion. Unyoro. Promoted Lieutenant 1897. He was Mentioned in Despatches, received Medal and Clasp and the DSO, which he received from the Queen (Victoria) at Osborne on 1st February 1899.
In a Parliamentary Paper on Events in Uganda 1899 it was said: “Lieutenant W.R. Dugmore, North Staffordshire Regiment. This officer had, perhaps, the most trying time of all, as for over four months he had, practically single-handed, and part of the time in peril of his life, to restrain and look after 500 doubtful Soudanese in Unyoro. That he succeeded shows that he possesses exceptional qualities, great tact, coolness and self resource. Had these 500 Soudanese revolted during the siege of Lubwals the Protectorate would have been placed in the gravest danger, and the very greatest credit is due to this officer for his devoted and successful work in Unyoro.” from ‘The Elizabethan’ 1899.
Also served in the South African War (Boer) 1899 – 1902 (on special service – May to Aug 1901). Promoted Captain January 1901. Queen’s Medal and five clasps (left). Local Major in 2nd Battalion, Kitchener Fighting Scouts 1901 taking part in Operations in the Transvaal. Engagements at Heilbron, Kroomspruit, Victoris Spruit, Paardekraal and Klerksdorp. Two months in Johannesburg hospital. East Africa 1902 – 04. Operations against the Mullah in Somaliland – Special Service Officer. Medal and Clasp. Fought in the Uganda Mutiny.
He was employed under the Liberian Development Company, 27 March 1906 to 17 September 1907. Retired in 1909 and went to Vancouver, B.C. and second in command of Canadian 72nd Highlanders.
William rejoined for service in the Great War and Commanded the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, 3rd May 1915 – 28th December 1915. In 1916 became temporary Major. He transferred to his former Regiment, the North Staffordshire (Prince of Wales) Regiment in 1917 . Mentioned in Despatches twice. Promoted Lieutenant Colonel.
William was Killed In Action at the Assault on Messines – Wytschaete Ridge on 12th June 1917 aged 47. He was buried in Grave VII.N.1., Railway Dugouts Burial Ground (Transport Farm), West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
Major Cyril Patrick William Francis Radclyffe Dugmore – Cheshire Regiment (Attd Royal Army Service Corps)
Decorations: 1914 Star & Clasp, British War & Victory Medals; MiD; Chevalier Legion d’Honneur
Personal: Wilfred’s younger brother, Cyril, was born in the 3rd quarter 1869 at Parsonstown, Ireland. He grew up with his mother and younger siblings in St Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands.
Cyril represented Britain in the 1908 Olympics, in London, finishing 3rd in the 120 yds. ‘Hurdle Race’, in a time of 19.2 secs.; 2nd in the High Jump with a height of 5 ft. 7.ins. (1.70 m.), and 2nd in the Long Jump, jumping 21 ft. 8 ins. (6.60 m.)
On 19th January 1914, in New York, USA, he married Lilla Brokaw Gilbert (b. 1873) who had formerly been married to Henry Bramhall Gilbert. After the War Cyril reported a home address of 330 Park Avenue, New York, before changing it to 96 Piccadilly, London (The Naval and Military Club).
War Service: Cyril served with the Army Service Corps in the South African War (Boer) 1899 – 1902, earning the Queen’s South African Medal (3 Clasps) and the King’s South African Medal (2 clasps).
The London Gazette (19th September 1913) reported that Cyril had transferred from the Reserve of Officers to be Captain in the Army Service Corps. His Medal Index Card shows that he left for France with the original BEF on 14th August 1914.
The same source records his appointment as “Assistant Provost Marshal, Special Appointment, 4th Division” (no date) a position associated with The Royal Military Police.
Cyril had moved back to Guernsey to live and died there on 22nd January 1966. (His wife had died in 1939)
Major Arthur Venner Vaux Radclyffe Dugmore – Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Personal: Wilfred’s older brother, Arthur, was born on Christmas Day 1870 at Bartolog, Dauddyffryn, Merionouth, Wales. He grew up with his mother and younger siblings in St Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands. (Photo – below left – shows Wilfred on the left, Arthur on the right.)
On 17th January 1901 Arthur married Henrietta Louise Watkins and they had three children, Emeline (born 1902), John William (born 1904) and Hattie (1906).
Henrietta was born on 20th June 1869 in Jersey City, New Jersey. The children were all born in New Jersey. By 1911 the family had moved to Guysborough, Nova Scotia, Canada.
On 30th December 1921 Arthur sailed for Kilindini, Kenya, on board the SS Modassa. He gave his occupation as “Artist“, and a photograph exists of him wielding a camera in the African bush – suggesting the type of artist was photographer/film maker.
In 1939 he was living at Foxfield, Ringwood and Fordingbridge, Hampshire, with his wife, Henrietta. (pictured together above right)
Arthur died on 21st March 1955 in the Loreto Nursing Home, Bournemouth, Hampshire, at the age of 84.
War Service: Arthur’s Medal Index Card shows that he left for France on 23rd March 1916.
Unfortunately, no further details of Arthur’s War Service have been found.
Commander Eric Valentine Frederick Radclyffe Dugmore – Royal Navy
Personal: Wilfred’s older brother, Eric, was born on 21st January 1875 in Dorchester, Dorset. He grew up with his mother and younger siblings in St Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands.
Between 1885 – 1900 Eric was educated at Elizabeth College, Guernsey, H.M.S. “Conway” (Liverpool), and RMC Sandhurst.
The 1901 Census (RG ) shows Eric as a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, stationed in Gibraltar, on the Cruiser, HMS Pelorus. On 31st January 1908 he was promoted to “Commander“.
In the September 1914 Eric married Hilda Eagles, in Marylebone, London. They had 4 children, Betty Helen Mary Radclyffe (born 23rd April 1916); Rosemary Agnes Radclyffe (b. 16th April 1919); Frederick Richard ‘Dick’ Radclyffe (b. September quarter 1921) and Wilfrid Radclyffe (b. 25th June 1924).
Eric died on 7th October 1954 at Ashkirk Crescent, Alverstoke, Hampshire. His widow, Hilda, died on 19th January 1972 at Cedar Cottage, The Lane, St Mark’s Road, Alverstoke.
Lt. 235718 Frederick Richard ‘Dick’ Radclyffe Dugmore, Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry, was killed in action on 8th July 1944 when attached to 1/7th Bn. Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
The 2nd Battn. landed at Sword beach on 6th June 1944. 1/7th Battn. joined them on 29th June for fighting NW of Caen. Their 1st objective for 1/7th on the 8th July was to capture the village St Contest going up against the 2nd Panzer Grenadiers. This was achieved by 1830 hrs, but 34, including Frederick, killed, and 96 wounded. He is buried at La Delivrande War Cemetery, Grave II.D.5.