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Doughty Wylie, Lt. Col. Charles, V.C.

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Mal Murray View Drop Down
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    Posted: 14 Apr 2011 at 15:19

Charles Doughty-Wylie

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Doughty-Wylie

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Hotham Montagu Doughty-Wylie VC, CB, CMG (23 July 1868 - 26 April 1915) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Charles Hotham Montagu Doughty-Wylie was also the recipient of the Order of the Medjidie from the very Turkish Government he later would fight against.

A native of Suffolk, Doughty-Wylie was a 1889 graduate of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. His military career included the Chitral Expedition (1895), 1898 Occupation of Crete, the Mahdist War (1898–99), the Second Boer War, the Boxer Rebellion (1900) and Somaliland (1903–04) where he commanded a unit of the Somaliland Camel Corps.

Turkish Revolution

Colonel Doughty-Wylie was the British consul in Mersina, Turkey, during the Turkish revolution of 1909. Richard Bell-Davies (later a VC winner, then a lieutenant on the battleship HMS Swiftsure) met him at the time and gives an account in his autobiography Sailor in the Air (1967).

Massacres of Armenians started along with the revolution, and Bell-Davies says that it was largely due to the efforts of Doughty-Wylie that these were halted in Mersina. Doughty-Wylie then went to Adana, forty miles away. He persuaded the local Vali (Governor) to give him a small escort of Turkish troops and a bugler and with these managed to restore order. Mrs. Doughty-Wylie turned part of the dragoman's house into a hospital for wounded Armenians. Bell-Davies says that by the time an armed party from Swiftsure arrived, Doughty-Wylie had again almost stopped the massacre single-handedly. Newspaper reports of the period record that Doughty-Wylie was shot in the arm, while trying to prevent these massacres.[1]

Charles Hotham Montagu Doughty-Wylie was the recipient of the Order of the Medjidie from the Turkish Government. He was awarded the Medjidie because of his work during the Balkan Wars when he served with the British Red Cross helping the Turkish Military.

World War I

Doughty-Wylie was 46 years old, and a lieutenant colonel in The Royal Welch Fusiliers, British Army when, "owing to his great knowledge of things Turkish" according to Bell-Davies, he was attached to General Sir Ian Hamilton's headquarters staff of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force during the Battle of Gallipoli.

On 26 April 1915, following the landing at Cape Helles on the Gallipoli peninsula, during which the brigadier general and the brigade major had been killed, Lieutenant Colonel Doughty-Wylie and another officer (Garth Neville Walford) organized and made an attack through and on both sides of the village of Sedd-el-Bahr on the Old Fort at the top of the hill. The enemy's position was very strongly entrenched and defended, but mainly due to the initiative, skill and great gallantry of the two officers the attack was a complete success.

Both were killed in the moment of victory. Doughty-Wylie was shot in the face by sniper and died instantly. Doughty-Wylie is buried close to where he was killed. His grave is the solitary British or Commonwealth war grave on the Gallipoli peninsula: The Turkish authorities moved the graves of all other foreign soldiers to the "V Beach" graves except for his.[3]

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Royal Welsh Fusiliers Museum in Caernarfon Castle, Gwynedd, Wales.

Personal life

Doughty-Wylie, a married man, had an unconsummated affair with Gertrude Bell with whom he exchanged love letters from 1913-1915 until his death. Bell was an eminent English writer, traveller, political officer, administrator, and archaeologist who explored, mapped in Greater Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and Arabia.[4]


References

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Edited by Mal Murray - 11 Oct 2011 at 17:04
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mal Murray Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 2011 at 15:33
General Sir Ian hamilton wrote in his Gallipoli Diary (Vol I, Page 156-157).
 

Hove to off Cape Helles at quarter past five. Joyous confirmation of Sedd-el-Bahr capture and our lines run straight across from " X " to Morto Bay, but a very sad postscript now to that message: Doughty Wylie has been killed leading the sally from the beach.

 

The death of a hero strips victory of her wings. Alas, for Doughty Wylie ! Alas, for that faithful disciple of Charles Gordon ; protector of the poor and of the helpless ; noblest of those knights ever ready to lay down their lives to uphold the fair fame of England. Braver soldier never drew sword. He had no hatred of the enemy. His spirit did not need that ugly stimulant. Tenderness and pity filled his heart and yet he had the overflowing enthusiasm and contempt of death which alone can give troops the volition to attack when they have been crouching so long under a pitiless fire. Doughty Wylie was no flash-in-the-pan V.C. winner. He was a steadfast hero. Years ago, at Aleppo, the mingled chivalry and daring with which he placed his own body as a shield between the Turkish soldiery and their victims during a time of massacre made him admired even by the Moslems.  Now; as he would have wished to die, so has he died.

 

For myself, in the secret mind that lies beneath the conscious, I think I had given up hope that the covering detachment at "V" would work out their own salvation. My thought was to keep pushing in troops from " W" Beach until the enemy had fallen back to save themselves from being cut off. The Hampshires, Dublins and Munsters have turned their own tight comer, but I hope these fine Regiments will never forget what they owe to one Doughty Wylie, the Mr. Great heart of our war.

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