Charles Fitzclarence VC

Charles Fitzclarence (08/05/1865 – 02/11/1914) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Anglo Boer War while serving in The Royal Fusiliers.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of 6 July 1900, Issue: 27208, Page: 4196, reads:

“The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), Captain Charles FitzCIarence.

On the 14th October, 1899, Captain FitzCIarence 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 FitzCIarence, 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, his own losses being 2 killed and 15 wounded. The moral effect of this blow had a very important bearing on subsequent encounters with the Boers.

On the 27th October, 1899, Captain FitzCIarence 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 a heavy fire was concentrated on it from the rear. The enemy was driven out with heavy loss. Captain’ FitzCIarence was the first man into the position and accounted for four of the enemy with his sword. The British lost & killed and 9 wounded. Captain. FitzCIarence was himself: slightly wounded. With reference to these two actions, Major. General Baden-Powell states that had this 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 FitzCIarence again distinguished himself by his coolness and courage and was again wounded (severely through both legs).” 

He was killed in action, aged 49, at Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, Belgium, on 12 November 1914 whilst commanding the 1st Guards Brigade. He has no known grave and is Commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, Panel 3.

Menin Gate. Image courtesy of Ralph McLean and the South African War Graves Project

 © DRW 2017-2018. Created 30/04/2017. Inscription image courtesy of Mark Green. Taddy & Co cigarette card by Card Promotions, ©1997, first issued 1902. 

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